How to Sell Yourself Using a Resume
By Colin P McDonald

The Selling Document

Now you have completed all of the early preparation work in creating a presence on the internet. You have haven't you? It is time to take a look at your most important selling document - the Resume

Note: The selling document is known as a CV or curriculum vitae (that's Latin!) in the UK. It's the equivalent of a resume in the US. I'll talk about a resume in this article but all Brits please replace 'resume' with CV in your mind.

Standard Resume Format All resumes should contain the following:

  • Your contact details
  • An accurate summary of your credentials known as a personal profile
  • Your career objective.
  • Your education and training.
  • Any professional affiliations.
  • Tools and technologies you have used. (For IT candidates only)
  • There are a number of resume formats: historical, functional, a combination of the previous two formats and a targeted format. The format chosen will depend on your intended reader and the objective you wish to achieve.

    Historical Resume A historical format should be chosen when you plan to continue with your current career in the same industry sector. In this case your most recent experience will be the most relevant and should appear on the first page.

    A historical resume should contain the following additional sections:

    Functional Resume A functional format should be used when you plan to change industry sectors and job roles. Your transferable skills relevant to your career goal must be listed in detail. It is also ideal for a graduate seeking their first job who must list their personal activities and honours won to show that they have initiative and are pro-active in pursuing their career objective.

    A functional resume should contain the following additional sections:

    A combo format should be used when you plan to change industry sectors, but remain in a similar job role. Your key skills should appear on the first page to highlight your transferable skills to the reader. The employment history would immediately follow the skills summary to show your relevant work experience.

    A combo resume should contain the following additional sections:

    A targeted format should be used when you are applying to a recruiter for an advertised role. A relevant experience section listing your work experience matching the requirements specified in the job advertisement should appear on the first page immediately after the skills summary.

    A targeted resume should contain the following additional section:

    The resume is usually two to three pages long, but there are exceptions when it may be up to 4-5 pages long. For example, an IT contractor will have a lengthy list of contracts in their Employment History section that must be documented in detail with dates.

    Now for some DOs and DON'Ts: DO populate each of your job roles within the employment history by writing a short summary paragraph (bullet points are useful here) for each of your important projects and career achievements.

    DON'T simply list the tasks that you had to regularly complete in each role. Remember that you are a STAR! Describe the Situation, list the Tasks that you planned to do, describe your Actions taken in achieving your goals and list what the positive results for the company were.

    DO always tailor your CV to a specific type of reader. Highlight any relevant experience (on page one if possible) and consider removing any unrelated experience to make room for more ways of selling yourself to the reader.

    DON'T put your date of birth on your resume. It's not required! For those of us a little longer in the tooth there is no need to highlight our age which some may perceive as a disadvantage.

    In summary, the resume is your most important selling document. You must first determine your career objective, and then select the appropriate resume format to match your goal. Don't forget to tailor each CV to the intended reader. Happy resume writing!

    Here is a good resource for resume templates and other related information:

    See my Website: for more job hunting tips and how to create great cover letters.

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