I am looking for work as an administrative assistant.
I have participated in countless job search skills workshops and have met individually with employment counsellors and job developers. I continually apply for work and am relentless about my job search. But something is not working because out of all the applications I have submitted to date, I have received only two phone interviews which led to face-to-face but I didn’t get the job offer.
I think it’s because of my lack of experience. After all, I have less than a year’s of experience in an office and my computer office skills are entry-level, although my MS Word is excellent and I type 80 words a minute without mistakes! Also, most of my office experience is as a volunteer and through my school’s coop placement program.
To make life more complicated and frustrating, I have been getting so many mixed messages from employment counsellors, job developers, friends who are employed in my dream job and employers whom I have met as to the correct format to select for my resume.
I have been using a functional format which I prepared with the employment counsellor and learned how to prepare in the resume writing workshops. Please could you help me Joanna figure out what type of format I should be using with my resume? When should I use functional, chronological or combination resumes?
Thanks so much.
Signed: Relentless Resume Applicant (RRA).
As you may already know, the purpose of your resume is to serve as your personal marketing or branding tool for your job search. As one of our JVS Employment Counsellors emphasized: “A resume is not to get you the job; it is to get a prospective employer interested enough to want to meet you for an interview”.
I consulted with our expert Employment Counsellors regarding your question, and learned the following information which I hope you and our readers will find helpful. If you are in the Greater Toronto area, you are welcome to attend any of our cutting edge job search skills workshops, to gain more in-depth knowledge on resumes.
A resume helps you get noticed out there in the competitive labour market. It’s designed to showcase your skills, experience and education relevant to the position. It is a personal advertisement that sells your experience, skills and qualifications to potential employers. It is a creative, personal statement of your professional experience and educational background. In addition to your future career goal, it should summarize and highlight relevant accomplishments and skills which match the employer’s current hiring needs.
From the employers perspective, a resume is a screening tool to select applicants who meet the required qualifications. Resumes which clearly articulate the candidate’s experience, skills, and accomplishments may be considered further. Content and appearance are both equally important in today’s competitive job market. There are three types of resumes: Chronological, Functional and Combined/Combination.
I also learned from the Employment Counsellors that there is no clear-cut rule as to which type of resume format is right for you. I would, however, recommend attending as many employer information sessions as possible, and even contacting companies where you wish to work for an information session to find out how they like their resumes. For example, I have heard from numerous employers in the financial, architectural, IT and other professional industries that they require a chronological resume.
Ryerson University’s Human Resource Talent Expert recruiter, adult educator, and coach par excellence, Laurie Shemavonian recommends a Combination resume as a suitable format to use to apply for the university’s job postings. As she receives hundreds of resumes a day for several of her university’s job postings, a combination resume (chronological and functional) enables her to grasp a better sense of the suitability of the candidates much quicker and more effectively. In her deadline driven HR department, reviewing the countless resumes each day for several job orders from her hiring managers, Laurie prefers to immediately identify the core competencies of the applicant on his or her resume which match the job order requirements. Further, she prefers to view the chronological work history within the first 5 seconds of scanning the resume.
After surveying our professional JVS employment counsellors, I present the following pros and cons for the three types of resumes. I recommend that you select a format which you think would be suit your career goal and discuss your choice with your employment counsellor.
So, RRA, as a Job Developer who has heard from many employers, including professionals like Laurie from Ryerson, I would recommend that for administrative assistant and office related positions, that you prepare a chronological resume which illustrates your accomplishments.
Keep in mind that the more competitive the industry, the quicker you want the employer reading your resume to see your relevant skills, experience and education which match the job description.
Good luck with your preparation of a suitable resume for your job search.
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