YOUR RESUME: Form versus Function

So many disagreements in life come down to a question of “form versus function”.  Personally, I usually find myself more compelled by function.  In life we settle these arguments by agreeing to compromise, to meet somewhere in the middle.  In creating a resume, however, you cannot comprise on either form or function – you need to prioritize both.

Every resume is unique.   Although it may sound like a cliche –  like snowflakes, no two resumes are the same.  In creating your resume, attention must be paid to both function and form.

The function of a resume is to compel the reader  to call you in for an interview.  To accomplish this, you need to make readily and explicitly clear that you are more than just an exceptional candidate for this job. Any job that attracts you as an applicant is likely to be attracting other qualified candidates as well, and you need to stand out above them in order to be chosen to be interviewed.  Three kinds of facts about yourself that can make you attractive enough to call in.  These are:

  • Professional history – What have you done before that clearly indicates your ability to meet the challenges of the job? You do not have to have done this job before, but you should suggest that you have been on a professional trajectory header towards this job.
  • Education and certifications– College degrees, majors, minors, honors, professional training, and certifications can all be important.
  • Skills – Different jobs will require you to run specific software or operate a machining lath, or more.  Skills might also include the ability to lead or to work well together in a team.
  • Dreams and drive– Are you going to bring not only your professional acumen but also your passion and your vision?

Having determined what should be included, it is just as important to determine what should not be on your resume.  Densely written resumes can be intimidating and are likely to go unread.  Limit your resume to only what needs to be there.  Like a well-written piece of marketing copy, your resume should include nothing that is not necessary.  This is usually the most difficult part when attempting to write your own resumes.  We all tend to fall in love with our accomplishments, skills, and ambitions – and most particularly with our words.  A good resume writer will be your best ally as a ruthless editor.

The form that your resume takes will depend on your own personal taste and should offer some reflection on who you are and your aesthetic; but remember, less is more.  Spare, clear, and readable are the benchmarks of an excellent resume.  We can help guide the eye of the reader to focus on what we want by our using graphics, spacing, fonts, italics, underlining, and boldface.  Getting as much on your resume as possible is not the goal, getting the reader to focus on the most important facts about you is.  White space (the area with no words or graphics) can be one of our most compelling and effective tools in developing the right overall graphic design for you.

While most people find creating a resume an anxiety-provoking experience; when you work with an experienced professional it should be a rewarding experience.  We work to make it that way for you.  Taking the time to review your history, your achievements, your skills, and your objectives should give you a sense of accomplishment, and clarify what direction you would like to head in the future.

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