Your Resume Format Could Score You An Interview

The ideal resume is one that properly explains your expertise, past companies, and a resume format that suits you.

Is there a way of changing the mindset of a hiring manager when he views your resume, and he sees some of the issues we broached in last week’s blog? The answer is yes, and it all comes down to the resume format you choose.  There are various formats to a resume. For purposes of this blog, I am only going to discuss two: the chronological and the functional.  With the emphasis on the functional resume, as that is my preferred choice when presenting a candidate that has many of the flaws in their employment history that we addressed last week.  Before we start with the descriptions, I want you to ask yourself the following question: What is the purpose of your resume?  If your answer was not “to get an interview”, I beg you to reconsider your thought process.  The purpose is not to get a job. The purpose should solely be to score an interview.  A resume is only a tool that should captivate the reader to want to meet with you and find out more.  With this as our premise, let’s now look at the two formats.

So, let’s quickly dispel of the chronological resume.  Ninety-five percent of all the resumes I see are chronological, meaning they list their most recent employments and work backwards.   The name of the company, your current position, the start date and an end date.  If you are currently at your current position, the word “Present” is used instead of an end date, which is perfectly fine.  Most recently I saw a resume that started with their oldest position and ended with their current position.  I highly recommend not following this format, as a hiring manager may never even get down to viewing your current status.  There is a definite time for a chronological resume format over the functional format.  If you have been at the same company for numerous years or have worked for very few other firms, a chronological resume should be the clear choice.

Therefore, based on the above scenario a functional resume format is needed when there have been numerous firms, positions, gaps in employment or other glaring issues in your employment history.  Very succinctly a functional resume ignores the firms, positions and gaps and places them at the bottom of the resume. It presents the “guts of your experience” in the top portion of the resume.  For example, I ask my candidates to choose four areas that they have specialized knowledge and experience in.  Each one of those areas then become an independent section in the resume.   The top of your resume would list those four areas with a separator between each one; all one space down directly under your name and other pertinent information (i.e. Expert Area 1 / Expert Area 2 / Expert Area 3 / Expert Area 4).  This immediately gets the attention of the hiring manager.   As he can clearly see what you believe are your strong points that you want emphasized.  Use your imagination when coming up with these areas.

Underneath that (in four separate sections), you talk only about your experience as it relates to that topic.  For example, if Expert Area 1 was Municipal Bond Origination as our first area of expertise. You would take all your experience within that area, gained from the numerous firms you have worked at and highlight what you accomplished.  You would pull things out of your current or past employment situations and emphasize them. The trick is to not be overly concerned as to when you did them but shift the focus to the fact that you have accomplished them.  You would give concrete succinct examples.  Then you would continue to the other three areas. Again, only focusing on that one area of expertise.  I recommend four only.  After that you can continue the resume with the typical information, education, licenses, memberships, etc.  End your resume format with the firms you worked for and the years, list one beneath the other. 

If you would like more assistance with presenting yourself, please reach out to Harlan at [email protected] or call 760-477-1284 for a confidential conversation about your career alternatives.

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, and Bond Counsels. He can be reached on LinkedIn, at [email protected] or 760-477-1284.