In Canada, historically, we have seen two basic formats of résumés: reverse chronological and functional. Jobseeker structured their résumés in one of these two formats because that was the "norm" and traditionally accepted by most recruiters and employers.

The reverse chronological résumé format focuses on career history. It lists your positions in reverse sequential order, working backyards from your current or most recent job. The main advantage of this format is that Canadian employers see it often and know where to find what they are looking for. If you have many unrelated positions or gaps in your work history, the reverse-chronological résumé may not be the best solution for you because it will bring attention to these issues.

The functional résumé format arranges your skills into major categories or headings. Under each category, you may include a list of your accomplishments related to that heading. The idea is to focus on your skills and push the chronology to the back of the résumé. This is a good option if you are seeking a career change or need to minimize issues in your employment history. However, the biggest drawback of this format is that employers are unable to connect what you accomplished with where you worked.

Today, whit the onset of technology and the vast array of positions available, the savvy job seeker understands the benefits of each format but opts to use a combination résumé format or a completely unique format. When designing your résumé, your best bet is to highlight your value in the most effective way possible considering your individual background and offerings. Determine what obstacles you want to minimize and structure your résumé to highlight only the best of the best.

The Qualifications Summary

The top third of the first page of your résumé is critical. This section must grab your potential employer's attention and demonstrate why you are the right person for the job. It should display your Value Proposition to your employer in a strong Qualifications Summary. A well-written summary will draw the reader in and motivate him or her to read the rest of your résumé. 

In your Qualifications Summary, you may want to include an objective statement. If you decide to do so, be careful not to discuss what you want. Rather, focus on what you have to offer to your employer. 

These days, many professional résumé writers opt to exclude an objective because the statement itself may seem "self-serving".

A better option may be to put together a strong headline or banner, introducing yourself to the employe. An appropriate headline will concisely state the job title for which you are applying in the form of your Value Proposition. Only use the title if it describes you and your qualifications well. For example, if you have worked as a customer support professional at a help desk and you are now applying for a technical support specialist role, put a headline on your résumé indicating. "Experienced Customer Service and Technical Support Specialist". This banner succinctly introduces you to your future employer. Just like a newspaper headline, it is a great lead-in to your complete resume, creating focus and direction.

Once you have created your headline, continue with a strong profile to introduce your Value Proposition in a powerful sentence format. Focus on addressing your employer's buying motivators, your supporting qualifications, and the added value you bring. Be creative and avoid repeating your words.

Additional Sections of the Résumé

Once you have sold yourself in a strong Qualifications Summary, you must support your Value Proposition throughout your résumé.

Review all the qualifications you have uncovered and identified. Determine what you should include and what you should leave off. Select items that you believe show your value to your prospective employer and eliminate the rest. Create section headings based on the information you want to present on your résumé and list them in the order of importance. Once you have done this you are ready to fill in each section concisely, detailing the best that you have to offer.

Résumé Structure Checklist

  • Résumé is designed in the appropriate format
  • Qualifications Summary sells your Value Proposition
  • Résumé sections are selected and ordered appropriately
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