Resume Style for People Returning to Work

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Resumes are a sales document.  They sell us — the job seeker.  A bad resume will get passed over.  Quickly.  And so those of us who are returning to work after time off, whether it was to raise children, run our own business, pursue a degree, or even incarceration, must sell ourselves without drawing too much attention to our time off.  We’ve already got the time-off strike against us.  A badly written resume could be an immediate “Do Not Pass Go.”

Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark, in their book Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work, lay out three primary resume styles:  reverse chronological, functional, and combination.  They recommend the third style — combination or hybrid — as the best for people returning to work.

Traditionally, resumes were a simple list of work experience in reverse chronological order.  The focus in such a resume is on “where” and “when.”  A functional resume de-emphasizes the details and groups similar experience and qualifications regardless of the “where” or “when.”

But like the name suggests, a hybrid combines aspects of the two other styles.  It includes specifics about where and when you worked, like the chronological format.  And like a functional resume, the hybrid emphasizes your most relevant qualifications, perhaps in a summary section.  But hybrids highlight skills and achievements more than work history.  According to Enelow and Kursmark, this could be critical to getting noticed and not passed over.

Many of the resume examples in the book are hybrids.  And with this style, there are several formats from which to choose.  Below is one example of a hybrid resume shown in their book.

from Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work
from Expert Resumes for People Returning to Work
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I'm a 48-year-old mother of four living in Great Falls, VA. I've been out of the workforce for nearly 13 years and am ready to get back in.

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