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March 10, 2009

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Resumes come in two main flavors: chronological and functional. Numerous variations and hybrid versions combine the two, but these two basic formats, once mastered, will provide the guidelines for any resume. These two forms vary mostly in the way that they lay out and prioritize work history information. Click on other articles available at this site to learn the differences in chronological and functional resumes later, here's a quickrundown on the elements that all resume writers must consider.

Name:

This is the first thing anyone reads about you. Make sure you put exactly what you want to be called or you'll run the risk of co-workers calling you what your grandmother calls you.

For some positions, diminutive forms of names (Bill for William, Cindy for Cynthia, etc.) can be good ways to look pleasant and informal. In fact, the more unique the name, the more likely an employer is to remember it. And for really silly names, employers might even pull an applicant in for the interview just to see what a Peter Hickey, Ingrid Monster, and Douglas Fir look like. These are real people who have hunted for jobs, just like you. Do you think they had a hard time getting their names remembered?

For both men and women, listing just first and second initials can be a good way of withholding information while creating an bit of a debonair, mysterious aura (A.J. Benza, P.D. James, H.G. Wells). This tactic works for persons whose ethnic names could have negative impact on their resume because of discrimination or pronunciation difficulties

Likewise, if you think your ethnic or gender identity will open up doors for you, use a version of your name that will show that off.

Name Format:

Bold or capitalize your name, using letters two to six points larger than the rest of the text. Place your name on the first line of your page. The traditional place to put the name is at the center of the page, but many now prefer to right justify their names so when the resume lands in a folder, it has a better chance of being noticed.

Address

Make sure the address you're giving is reliable. If you're still at school,and your address is still in a state of flux, put a permanent address in case somebody pulls your resume from a file a few months after you send it in. Avoid post office boxes (unless you're in school) because they make people suspect that you're hiding something.

E-mail

The best way to show your prospective employer that you're comfortable withdigital life is to state your e-mail address directly below your physical address. But if you use your online account for more than just work, beware. If you're one of AOL's millions of users, for instance, make sure your member profile doesn't contain anything incriminating, embarrassing or inappropriate, or that your screen name isn't something along the lines of sexxxyhot23@aol.com. Similarly, with newsgroups so easily searched by engines like DejaNews, make sure you haven't posted anything recently your grandmother would be ashamed of. And be sure you check your e-mail on a regular basis.

Phone Numbers

A phone number is a must. If your number's also likely to change soon, list the number of a stable friend or family member willing to function as your answering service. There are also reputable answering services available, if you have no friends or family in the area.

If you're job hunting and you don't have an answering machine, get one. Somevoice mail systems, sold by local phone companies, will not only take calls faithfully but can also take messages while you're on the phone with someone else. That way you'll be prepared to handle the rush.

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