Monthly Archives: November 2013

Use the Correct Documentation Format for Different Positions

Lately I have come across hybrid résumés and curriculum vitaes that bear little resemblance to what hiring managers, HR managers, and other people with hiring responsibilities expect to see. Such non-traditional formats usually don’t work in your favor, so I would caution you to be sure you understand the accepted résumé format for the particular position for which you are applying.

The Reverse Chronological Format: Looking for a Job in the Same Field 

The reverse chronological format is used for changing jobs within a particular profession or field. It’s what you’d use when you are looking for a similar position with another company in the same or similar field. The order of headings I recommend is: Contact Information, Professional Summary, Employment History, Education, Certifications/Licenses, Publications (if relevant), Honors/Awards (recognized within an industry or profession). Most reverse chronological résumés are no more than two pages in length.

The Functional Format: Entering/Re-Entering the Workforce or Changing Careers

The functional format is used for people entering the workforce for the first time, re-entering the workforce after being out of it for some time, and for people who want to change careers. The emphasis on the functional format is the skills, knowledge, and expertise that can be transferred to a new field or profession, and not so much on accomplishments tied to your previous position or career. The order of headings I recommend is: Contact Information, Professional Summary, Table of Functional Expertise (3 column format with as many rows containing key skills/knowledge/expertise that’s relevant for the new field), List of Employers (no bulleted lists–just employer name, address, your job title and one-line description of duties), Certifications/Licenses, Publications (if relevant), Honors/Awards, Education. Here, the hiring manager is interested in the practical application of skills, knowledge, and expertise and less so in your formal education.

The Curriculum Vitae (CV): Moving into Academia or Health Care

The curriculum vitae (CV) is sometimes used interchangeably (and incorrectly) with the term “résumé.” It is a detailed document with a specific order of information and specified level of detail for positions within the academic and health care (sometimes legal) community. The CV elaborates on education, publications, teaching experience, research, conference presentations, and honors/awards. A shorter CV version is sometimes preferred that highlights an individual’s current career focus rather than on their entire career history. Very often CV formats are prescribed by the hiring entity.

For the most part, the résumé and CV formats are used for employee positions. What do you do when you’re in business for yourself and want to add more clients or obtain contract work? Well, you use marketing materials that highlight your expertise and accomplishments. There’s more of a promotional flavor to these documents than there is with the résumé or CV because you are looking for more business, not a job.

In the table below, I list the types of collateral used for three types of positions: permanent, contracting, and consulting. Across the board, the various types of documents all work to achieve the same purpose: to place your name at the top of the hiring manager’s short list. Consult my book, Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (Second Edition) for details on how to stage the release of these documents over the entire hiring process to keep your name at the top of the list.

 Permanent Position  Contracting  Consulting
 Cover   letter  Cover/Introductory
Letter
 Introductory
Letter
 Résumé or CV  Résumé  Capabilities
brochure
 Reference   list  Reference   list  Client/Project   list
 Publications   list  Publications   list  Publications   list
 Case   history  Case   history  Case   history
 Article   reprint  Article   reprint  Article   reprint
 “25 Ways I Add Value”
brochure*
 “25 Ways I Add Value”
brochure*
 “25 Ways I Add
Value” brochure*
 Depending on the profession within a particular industry, samples of
work may be required.
*This is the last document staged in the Continuous Promotion Approach as detailed in Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0.
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