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Liberate yourself from the chronological resume

I was editing resumes at a job fair in Toronto and the line was long. People had been waiting for over an hour to talk to a career development professional one-on -one about their resumes. One person would leave my desk and immediately there would be someone else at the table ready for a quick resume tutorial. Resumes are the new business card, more and more it will be expected that you have tailored your resume to say perfectly how your most relevant professional experience applies to the job you are applying for.   Earlier in the week, when I was attending the City of Toronto Job information session at the Toronto Reference Library, a human resources employee at the City of Toronto spoke to me at length about how many qualified applicants (she said as high as 90%) do not even get an interview because their relevant experience is not clear on their resumes. 

Most often people have been taught the merits of the chronological resume. So, many job seekers give too much prominence to the time-line of their lives. We all know our most relevant experience for the jobs we want is not necessarily our most recent experience.  LIBERATE YOURSELF FROM THE CHRONOLOGICAL RESUME.   When you are finally free of listing your professional experience as a series of events taking place in a perfectly linear fashion, you will no longer have to worry about your potential future employer seeing how you made ends meet while you were in-between opportunities in your chosen field. You will no longer have to worry about the old “gap in resume” problem of the chronological resume. 

Leaving the chronological resume behind sometimes comes with panic because it is hard to leave old habits behind and try something new. We are attached to it. People ask me questions like, “Are you sure I don’t have to include every single job I’ve ever had? Don’t you think they will want to know about all of the workshops I’ve done or certifications I got?”   The simple answer is: NO! People hiring you don’t want to know about every single thing you’ve ever done in your life: they want to know how you are specifically qualified for the job they are offering. That may mean excluding certain things from your resume that aren’t relevant to the job posting. Don’t panic: you are making it even more clear for someone reading your resume exactly how you are qualified for the job. So don’t wait a minute until the next job fair, LIBERATE YOURSELF (from the chronological resume) NOW! 



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