Archive for the ‘Resumes’ category

Resume: Chronological or Functional?

June 10, 2010

A TMC graduate messaged the Career Guy with a question on resumes. She had seen references to a skills-based resume, and wondered about my thoughts.

There are two primary forms of resume–chronological, where experience is listed most recent to oldest; and functional (or skills), which emphasizes strengths and accomplishments in a separate section and lists experience briefly at the bottom.

Here is what I told her:

I researched this in the past and suggestions vary. (There are not many hard facts in careering, but lots of differing opinions). My own conclusion is that employers prefer to see a chronological resume. However, that is hard to do if you have NO prior relevant experience. In that case, one must do the best they can with a functional/skills resume.

Functional might also be helpful if one has many smaller jobs, each with some relevant input. Chronologically, it’s hard to get strengths to stand out in a long list. Instead, strengths/qualifications can be gathered together in a skills section, followed by some chronological history. It’s what I call a hybrid resume.

Some have said that a cover letter can be a powerful introduction to a resume, and can be more helpful if the resume is weaker.

There is also something called a Q Letter, which one grad has found to be very effective. It starts out as a cover letter, then branches into two columns: Your Requirements and My Qualifications. If you meet or exceed the important job requirements, this highlights your strengths. It’s also eye-catching because it’s different, short and to the point.

The Career Guy is available throughout the summer to help anyone–students, graduates, family & friends of TMC–with job-related advice or helps.


How to Write a Good Cover Letter for Your Resume

March 15, 2010

What are cover letters and why is it so important for yours to stand out? Sarah Needleman, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, gives tips on how to make your cover letter great!  Click here to view!

25 Reasons Why You May Not Get the Job

December 18, 2009

The Career Guy is aware of many who have applied for more than 100 jobs without success. Job Hunting is an ordeal to be sure, but if after 100 attempts and no job achieved, maybe there are some things that need to be changed.

This article from offers some helpful advice for the persistent job seeker: You’re not getting the job — 25 reasons why

The Final Check of Your Resume

May 11, 2009

Read your completed resume carefully.  Use spell check and have others spell check it, too.  Frequently!  Many typos manage to escape detection.  Ask others to critique it.  You don’t necessarily need to pay attention to what they say—it’s your resume—but you might find something of interest to you.

Ask others to answer these questions:

  1. Is it attractive and does it appear easy to read?
  2. Is it neat with white areas?  Is the type clear?  Are special fonts and highlights overdone or distracting?
  3. Can the same information be stated more succinctly?  Are there any repetitions?
  4. Is everything that is stated relevant to this particular job?
  5. Do your attributes and characteristics stand out, or do they get lost among extraneous material?
  6. Have you avoided personal pronouns and used past tense active verbs in short, meaningful phrases?
  7. Have you given specific information about experiences?  Have you quantified where you can to show past successes?  Any generalities you can specify or eliminate?
  8. Have you emphasized your skills and accomplishments, and not reiterated what you should have/could have done?
  9. Have you included everything you can think of that is important?  Is everything you have said factually true?
  10. Does your resume make you so interesting that the employer will be compelled to ask you to come in for an interview?
  11. Omit personal information that by reason of law an employer is not to use in a hiring decision: age, ethnic origin, height/weight, marital status, religious preference, and photograph.

Quick Resume Tips!

May 6, 2009


• Do make sure your resume is absolutely perfect in spelling and grammar, and that it is easy to read.
• Do write only what enhances your attractiveness.
• Do be truthful! (Perhaps 25 percent of resumes contain false information.)
• Do prepare a separate resume for each job. Use the language of your proposed employer.
• Do be concise. More than one page is ok, but make all of your entries useful.
• Do stress your accomplishments and the skills you have demonstrated.
• Do write in brief, powerful phrases (not sentences), using past tense action verbs to begin statements (not pronouns “I” or “we”).
• Do attach a cover letter if you mail the resume.


• Don’t write anything that detracts from your attractiveness as an applicant.
• Don’t include your salary history or reasons for leaving a previous job.
• Don’t say at the top that this is a resume. If they don’t know what it is, you don’t want to work there.
• Don’t say “references available on request.” It’s assumed.
• Don’t include a photograph. They may not like your looks. Give them a chance to get to know you and they’ll overlook your looks.
• Don’t stretch the truth. Embellishment by using grand language is one thing, but falsifications are something else.
• Don’t mention hobbies, activities and religious affiliations that are not job related, or have no application to your career goals or objectives.

Most Common Resume Errors

April 30, 2009

A recent survey by Nichols College (Massachusetts) of 780 employers revealed the following errors most commonly observed in applicant resumes.  (The percentages are of employers reporting, not of the percent of resumes found with these errors.)

  • 78% – Grammatical/spelling errors
  • 71% – Resume not directed to the specific position/generic resume
  • 59% – Objective not specific to the job
  • 43% – Too much information
  • 32% – Unexplained gaps in experience
  • 31% – Accomplishments not identified
  • 29% – Inappropriate email addresses
  • 21% – Poor resume format
  • 8% – Education or GPA not listed