Resume Tips: When You Aren’t Sure Where to Begin

Okay, so you’ve heard what to do on a résumé: action verbs, buzz words, clear organization, etc. But what if you don’t even know where to start? Like, the last résumé you did was for your high school barista job and you don’t think “hard worker” and “likes coffee” will quite cut it this time?

If you feel like you’re still at the drawing board, then check out these tips:

Functional or Chronological?

When you’re starting out, there isn’t a lot to put on your résumé in the first place, so trying to decide between functional or chronological order can seem rather superfluous. But eventually, you’ll want to have some rhyme and reason to your résumé. Most go with a chronological format, starting with your most recent job or internship. However, if you’re lacking a bit in experience or have significant gaps in your work list, then a functional résumé is going to be a better option because it will tailor itself more to the job description and help the reader focus collectively on what you’ve done.

Objective Section?

This one is a mixed bag. I’ve heard experts say that to omit an objective borders on résumé suicide, whereas other experts think objectives are redundant. This one may just depend on your industry. Personally, I don’t like objectives because if I’m applying for the job, then presumably that’s what I’m interested in. Why should the hirer care what else I’m seeking? (Plus, objectives always seem so bland.)

Of course, some would argue against this, saying an objective “signals to the reader that you are deliberate and committed to the industry and function.” While I don’t necessarily agree, it is an opinion worth considering.

Personal Interests?

Like the objective, this is not a necessity on your résumé. Personally, I have only begun including it recently. I think it can work for you or against you. It can make add a bit more personality to your résumé, like you’re more than just list of job titles. It can also spark the memory of the reader of your résumé later—“Oh yeah, that was the applicant who said she liked horseback riding on her résumé.”

On the other hand, it can make you look like you’re just trying to take up space, like you have nothing better to say. Your personal interests may also not really relate to the job you’re applying for, so it can also just look pointless. Your call.

Where do you start with your résumé?

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