• Unit 1: Introduction to the Résumé

    In this unit, we discuss the function and purpose of a professional résumé. We explore three traditional résumé formats: a conventional résumé, functional or skills-based résumé, and chronological résumé. We also look at examples of CVs to help you present your credentials to potential employers in the academic world or other positions that require a different type of résumé called a curriculum vitae (CV). You will notice that the type of résumé you choose depends largely on what you want to market about yourself and who your audience is.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

    • 1.1: The Purpose of a Résumé

      Whether you are employed or seeking employment, a résumé is a critical document that should reflect where you have been and where you want to go. An effective résumé is "an objective summary of your skills and achievements, secondly a subtly clever argument that you are worth hiring, and finally a reflection of your individuality".

      A recurring theme in this course is that your résumé is not a historical document, but a marketing tool. Picture yourself as a product and the potential employer as the consumer. What type of "packaging" works best to get you into an interview? This course will help you conduct a successful job search.

    • 1.2: Types of Résumés

      In this section, we examine two different résumé styles: chronological and functional. If you have not been in the job market for several years, you may notice some significant changes in writing effective résumés using traditional formats.

      For example, the power of the summary section in the chronological format is to use your accomplishments to explain how you can benefit the potential employer. However, you may need to use another type of format to present your qualifications to convince your reader to bring you in for an interview.

      If you have a sporadic work history, are just entering the workforce, are overqualified for the position, or are older in years and concerned about age discrimination, your challenge is to write about your accomplishments and how your skills are transferable to the position for which you are applying. A functional résumé format may suit this situation well.

    • 1.3: What is a CV?

      Many use the terms curriculum vitae (CV) and résumé interchangeably, but there are distinct differences between these two documents. Academics, higher-level executives, and employers based outside the United States tend to use the CV format because it allows them to present more details about their work history and accomplishments. While you should limit a traditional résumé to one or two pages, a CV may run six to eight pages.

    • Unit 1 Assessment