Job Seekers


Before You Begin Your Resume

Before you start writing your resume, spend a few minutes writing down what you feel are your strongest attributes. These are traits, qualities, skills, achievements or anything that makes you - you.

Then spend some time thinking about your work values and life preferences. What is important to you at work; what kind of work environment would you like to be in? Lastly, what would you like to convey about yourself to a possible employer? What can you offer?

Many of the skills you have are called transferable skills; these are abilities or talents that you have developed throughout your life, in places such as previous jobs, volunteer experience or personal knowledge. These capabilities are quite valuable when marketing yourself to a potential employer. Many skills gained in alternate settings can be transferred into the new positions you seek.

Example: A stay at home parent
Transferable skills:

  • Helps people
  • Handles and budgets money
  • Copes with deadlines
  • Deals with complaints
  • Drives a vehicle
  • Encourages
  • Mediates
  • Advises people
  • Solves problems
  • Handles food
  • Etc ...

This example shows how many skills are gained throughout life experiences, many of which can be easily transferred into a new position. The skills listed above could just as easily be those of a manager as a stay at home parent.

Different Kinds of Resumes

There are many different kinds and styles of resumes, but for our purposes we will focus on the two most widely used: functional and chronological.

The Functional/Chronological Resume (Download)

The functional resume presents your achievements under skill headings. This gives people the freedom to prioritize their skill set by accomplishment. In the functional format, your work history is listed concisely in a separate section towards the end of the resume; therefore it is not the main focus in the body of the resume.

It is best to use functional resumes if:

  • You are changing careers.
  • You are re-entering the job market
  • You need to emphasize skills or experience from an earlier time in your work history
  • Your volunteer experience is relevant and needs to be highlighted.
  • Your most recent position is not one you wish to emphasize.

The Chronological Resume (Download)

This format is the most traditional of resumes. It highlights your dates and places of employment and your job titles by using them as headings for listing your achievements.

It is best to use the chronological format if:

  • You are staying in the same work field
  • Your overall work history shows growth in the direction of your job goals and objectives.
  • Your most recent position is one you are proud of and want to focus on.
  • You have no major gaps in your employment.

Other Resources

Checklists (Download)

Mark each of the personality traits that applies to you. Then mark each of your transferable skills. This will hopefully get you thinking about qualities you may want to include in your resume.

Action Words and Verbs (Download)

Use this list of "action words" to help describe your abilities and skill set within your resume.