How to Choose a Resume? Chronological vs Functional Resume.

Many people especially young job seekers mistake a resume’s purpose, they think a resume should to get them a desired job. In reality, the sole purpose of the resume is to open doors. Your resume purpose is to create interest so the employer will invite you in for an interview.

But how do you create that interest when you don’t exactly fit the job description? Here are some tips from Chris from MyCareerTools.com where they help students get an HSED (High School Equivalency Diploma)and teach them how to find a desirable job. If you are looking for a free practice test, and want to refresh your knowledge, check their website.

Use the resume to your advantage he says. Recently we weighed in about the usefulness of functional style resumes vs. chronological resumes.
Historically functional style resumes have been recommended for first time university/college/HSED graduates and career changers.

The functional resume had its heyday in the 70’s as a clever way to display one’s skillset. Now they are seen as a ‘bluffing tactic’ a way to distract an employer from undesirable information such as gaps in work history. And it’s not unusual for that type of resume to end up in the shredder!

Chris has some pretty good suggestions for career changers, using online portfolios, networking and blogging as a way to extend one’s traditional portfolio. Secondary and post-secondary institutions are encouraging students to start developing their career development portfolios early with project/work samples, multimedia (such as video and flash presentations) as well as a section for personal reflections.

The idea being that if you do your personal PR work effectively, you can tap into that 85% hidden job market. And in fact, I know of a number of colleagues/university students that have gotten job offers this way.

However, a number of organizations are unionized and still work under traditional guidelines for advertising positions, human resources procedures and resumes. I wonder what how individuals with little experience or career changers would approach this situation?

I have a couple of questions here for both hiring managers and successful job seekers to consider:

  • Is there still any use for functional resumes?
  • What would you suggest for graduates with little experience and career changers?
  • What new strategies should be considered in this arena? Weigh in!

Portfolio of educational projects

These days it’s becoming increasingly important for students and recently graduated students to produce a portfolio of their educational projects and reflections on their studies. At the UBC Office of Learning Technology (OLT), one of their analysts, Alison Wong, has been pursuing projects whereby faculties and students can develop the online presence that they need.

There are several good sites that are currently being used by students. The KEEP toolkit is one of them. The setup includes easy to use tools so that students can provide a variety of examples of their academic work and can present them in a variety of formats from the static documents (such as sample teaching plans, research papers, and presentations to name just a few) to multimedia items which may include video or podcasts.

This system is ideal in that the user doesn’t need to know a lot about web development, programming languages etc…. It’s definitely user-friendly. The one drawback that I noticed is maybe in the presentation. While there is easy manipulation of layout, a beginner may lack knowledge of how to beautifully present their work in terms of layout.

The content will be there but if the look and feel of the pages aren’t flowing properly it may not look professional to a prospective employer viewing the eportfolio.

Chris mentions a free website that students are using wordpress.com. The particular site has a variety of free tools and hosting for people to create simple websites and blogs. Aesthetics are more pleasing and utilizes a web builder for the user to create a personalized site. The templates have pre-designed layouts to take the guess work out of webpage design. Upon viewing the webpages using the templates, I noticed that some of them were too busy looking. This can easily be cleaned up during the setup stage.

If you are looking for a job as a web designer or designer you can use on of the most popular sites for art community called DeviantArt. This portfolio site is aimed at young artists who want to network and collaborate their work. You can show your artwork online for free and “ad-free”.

As part of your account you can participate in forums to discuss art and common interests, post your art pieces, and you can also create a “studio” to get together with other artists online and collaborate. This is a very beautiful well put-together website. It’s definitely worth a browse even if you don’t qualify as being part of the young artist set.

These online websites/toolkits present a good range of the type offerings available for post-secondary students and the recently graduated. The ease of setting up a portfolio even for the uninitiated webbies is good. As long as one feels comfortable surfing the web, uploading photos/multimedia, filling out web-forms a student shouldn’t have any trouble getting samples of their work online and creating a web presence quickly. The only issue is to provide templates for the design challenged to make their work appear professional.