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  1. Blog
  2. Applying
  3. June 5, 2024

Resume Samples Inside! Your Guide to Navigating Resume Types & Choosing the Right One for You

Your resume is a reflection of who you are

Person creating their resume
Photo courtesy of George Milton

This article is part of InHerSight's Finding a Job series. Discover our most popular and relevant resources for finding a job fast—at a company that cares as much about your career as you do.

The days of embarking on a conventional career path are long gone. You should have a resume that reflects that. 

Your resume is central to your job search and should communicate what you can offer a potential employer. However, if you have a situation that feels rather unique—like changing jobs frequently, switching careers, or graduating—you may wonder how to develop a resume that is still clear, cohesive, and compelling enough to get employers’ attention. 

First, you should focus on aligning your resume with your goals, according to career coach Cassie Spencer. “The goal of your resume is to highlight your most relevant skills and experience based on the jobs you’re applying to.” Spencer—who has coached more than 800 clients on resume writing and job searching—says that next, you should focus on “thinking like a recruiter”. “Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for specific skills and experiences; aim to think like them. Look at your resume through their lens and ask yourself if the skills and experiences they will be looking for are highlighted on your resume.”

Once you work on aligning your resume with the jobs you want and design your document with recruiters in mind, choose the resume type that best fits your needs. 

How to choose the right resume

Consider essential and optional resume sections

The look and layout of resumes can vary but you must include these essential sections: 

  • Header

  • Skills

  • Experience

  • Education

Spencer advises that the order of these sections may change from resume to resume. “A new grad will likely have their education section first with their graduation date included. A more experienced career changer may choose to have their education section at the bottom without a graduation date included.”

You should also consider optional resume sections you may need—these include:

  • Awards/Achievements

  • Certifications

  • Research

  • Languages

  • Publications

  • Volunteer work

  • Projects

  • Freelance/contract work 

These optional sections help you demonstrate your expertise in a specific area, emphasize the parts of your background you want employers to see the most, and set yourself apart from other candidates.

Consider your goals

The specific goals you have for your resume will change throughout your career. If you’re an early career job seeker, for example, you’re probably trying to show that you can do the job although you don’t have much experience yet. By the time you reach the middle of your career, you might be trying to show that you have what it takes to pivot to a new industry or obtain a higher-level role. 

Additional goals you may be trying to meet at various points in your career include:

  • Minimizing career gaps; according to a national study by recruiting platform Applied, women are three times more likely than men to take a career break for child rearing, which could lead to career gaps.

  • Showing how your current qualifications translate to a new career

  • Demonstrating leadership despite not having held an official manager role

  • Marketing your skills better; if you struggle with self-promotion, you may be underselling the value of your skills and experiences in your resume

Consider your message

Decide what you want your message to be so that you can share it effectively. For example, if you want to convey that you have all the right skills for a position, choose a resume format that leads with your skills or includes a ‘Related Skills’ section under each of your jobs.  

Spencer suggests you think outside of the box, explaining “I encourage job seekers in unique situations to think creatively about their experience. I recently worked with a middle school teacher who wanted to make a career change into event planning. By thinking creatively about her teaching experience and focusing on the planning, coordination, and detail-oriented aspects of her experience, she was able to develop bullet points for her resume that worked for her and aligned with what a recruiter would be looking for.”

Make sure that your message appeals to potential employers but also feels true to you and your experience. 

3 resume samples that get the job done

It’s one thing to talk about creating the resume you want but actually doing it may be challenging. Spencer notes that while you should use different resume types for guidance, you must personalize them to fit your needs. “Different types of resumes are a great starting point but far too many job seekers are afraid to customize them. The resume is your first opportunity to showcase your unique skills, experience, and education. Starting with these resume types and then tailoring the resume to fit you and the skills for the job will, in most cases, lead to the best return.”

Use these resume samples to visualize how you can develop a strong resume, even if you’re navigating a unique job search or have found yourself on an unexpected career path

Sample 1: Inconsistent work history

Although career gaps can be a red flag for some employers, this is slowly changing since career breaks have become more common. 

This resume type could be a good fit if you’ve taken a career break due to: 

  • Continuing your education

  • “Job hopping” or changing jobs frequently

  • Being laid off for six months or more; by June 2023, women made up 45 percent of laid-off employees in tech. Since then, layoffs have continued across industries. Long-term unemployment can lead to a gap on your resume. 

This version works because it: 

  • Leads with your transferable skills

  • Emphasizes what you did rather than when you did it  

  • Highlights achievements early to quickly position you as a top performer

  • Closely resembles a functional resume, which focuses mostly on your skills and strengths before noting specific work experiences

  • Includes an entry for a career break; if you decide to note a career break on your resume, you should also consider using the ‘Add a career break’ feature on LinkedIn. This will help you to ensure consistency across your professional branding materials. 

Read more: Should You Use LinkedIn’s #OpenToWork Feature? A Recruiter Weighs In

Sample 2: Lack of skills or experience

Embarking on a new career often means diving into something new without all the necessary skills or experiences. If you want to transition into a new career although you do not meet all the requirements, consider developing this type of resume. 

This resume type could be a good fit if you have:  

  • Decided to switch industries 

  • Chosen to pursue a new job title or function 

  • Graduated from a college, certificate, or boot camp program recently 

This version works because it: 

  • Focuses on what you do have rather than what you don't have

  • Prioritizes your education, where you can highlight degrees, certifications, courses, or workshops that relate to your desired career

Sample 3: Experience that is too “broad” 

Your experience may be considered broad if it doesn’t follow one specific path or if the connection between your roles is unclear.  

This resume type could be a good fit if you have:  

  • Worked in several different industries or areas

  • Performed a “dual” or hybrid role, which combines several jobs into one

  • Competed a lot of different jobs, with only a few that are related

This version works because it: 

  • Starts with the transferable skills that tie your different work experiences together

  • Includes a ‘Related Experience’ section, which enables you to only include the work experiences that are relevant to your desired position 

Creating two resume versions 

You may find that you need two different versions of your resume. In fact, Spencer says that there are “many” situations that warrant developing multiple documents. “Developing two different versions of your resume may not be the most fun thing but in the long run, it’s more beneficial to have two different resumes that are more tailored than sending out the same resume to multiple roles and not getting responses back.” 

The main reason you may need multiple versions of your resume is if you are targeting roles in different sectors or applying for jobs in both your current and desired fields. 

“You should determine the different types of roles or industries that you are focusing on for your job search and create versions of your resume that align with those focus areas. As an example, if you’re returning from a career break and you’re applying to graphic design and general marketing roles, you will want resumes that highlight your skills differently.”

As your career evolves remember that your resume is a living document that will evolve as well. More now than ever before, you have options for how you can conduct your career and design the right resume to complement it.

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