Not All Resumes Are Created Equal

June 6, 2019 8:52 am
Not All Resumes Are Created Equal

It has been said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, according to William Shakespeare in his classic play Romeo and Juliet. When it comes to your resume, however, that is not the case. A professional resume by any other type won’t be as impactful or effective in helping you land your dream job. The truth is, not all resumes are created equal. In this article, you will find out why.

Why Resumes?

In order to know why all professional resumes are not created equal, it’s important to remember why you prepare resumes. Resumes serve only one important purpose: to communicate effectively to your potential employer, business partner, or client that you are the person for the job, to partner with in business, or to serve very important business needs.

But there are many different kinds of employers, business partners, and clients out there. They are different in two major ways – their specific needs and the industries they operate in.

In writing your resume, you don’t just consider the prospective employer, business partner or client to whom you’ll give it to. You’ll also need to consider your personal skills, experiences and credentials. Are you an industry veteran or a newbie? Have you been in the industry ever since you started your career or have you just recently shifted to it? What are your skills and strengths?

It is the differences in those who you plan to give your professional resumes to and your personal credentials that require you to prepare different types of resumes.

Corporate OR Creative?

Many, if not most businesses are very corporate or business like in nature. What this means is the way they do business, their cultures, and their products or services are very traditional. This would include businesses like banks, manufacturing companies accounting firms, among others.

Other businesses however, are more informal and creative. Such businesses tend to do things quite differently from most others, offer products and services that involve a high degree of creativity, and have very informal organizational cultures. These businesses include advertising companies, media companies and Internet marketing companies, among others.

In order for your resume to effectively communicate to these businesses that you’re a good fit for the company and that you “get” them, your professional resume has to be aligned with the nature of such businesses. If you want to get into a fun company, your resume should be able to reflect you’re fun as well. If it’s a very formal and business-like organization, your professional resume must be able to reflect that you are as well.


Employers look for qualified people to fill an important need in their business – some are looking for people to maintain their accounting books while others are looking for people who can sell their products or services like hotcakes. Some are looking for people to help make their business’s social media pages very engaging with the hope of increasing online sales while some are looking for people to help them create the perfect e-book giveaway to help drive traffic to their websites. Some of these businesses don’t want formal employees but to simply outsource some key functions on a per project or an ongoing basis. People with excess money are looking for people to help them put up and successfully run a business that will make them even more money – they’re looking for businesses to fund, business partners, or both.

If you want to get your dream job, convince an investor to partner with you or to win new clients over, your professional resume has to communicate to them effectively that you are the person who will be able to best fill their specific needs. If they’re looking for tenured people, that’s what your resume must highlight. If they’re looking for skilled people and less than tenured ones, your professional resume must highlight your skills, credentials and qualifications.

The Formal Resume

By formal, we’re talking about professional resumes that follow certain prescribed formats. Most companies, investors and clients are relatively traditional in nature and as such, they prefer formal resumes more than creative ones, which we’ll discuss next.

Formal resumes are generally classified into chronological and functional. Chronological resumes – as the name suggests – list your work experiences and previous jobs held in reverse chronological order or starting with your current or most recent job. The advantages to using chronological resumes include ease of writing, emphasis on a relatively steady and consistent employment history, and they appeal to many employers who are very particular with job titles, amount of responsibility taken, and work history timelines. Its disadvantages include gaps in employment history can be very obvious and your skill sets may not be as highlighted as other details.

Chronological resumes are best used if you have to highlight your continuous career growth and development in the same industry or career. It’s also best used in instances wherein your target employer, business partner or client is known to think highly of one of your previous employers, partners or clients, respectively. But if your work history has significant gaps, you’re kind of old already, you’ve changed jobs and industries often, you’ve just come back from a long hiatus, or you’re just a fresh graduate, scrap the idea of preparing a chronological resume.

Functional resumes, on the other hand, put a premium on the strengths and skills that are relevant or important for prospective employers, business partners and clients. As such, specific dates and places for work experiences or previous jobs held are mostly omitted. The advantages of using this type of formal resume include a not-so-obvious spotty employment history (if such is the case) and your transferable skills as well as your specific strengths that are needed by the recipient of your professional resume are highlighted, which can’t be done on a chronological resume. The disadvantages to using this type of resume include lack of a detailed history of your work or employment, and most employers – being of traditional thinking and culture – may find it unappealing because of the lack of traditional job or work experience details.

Use functional resumes you believe that highlighting your skills and specific strengths will help you win that dream job, sought after business partner, or important client, and if you’re relatively new to the field or industry. But if you’re looking to highlight more of your career history and growth, you’re better off with the chronological one.

And then of course, there’s the hybrid – a combination of the two, which has the best of both worlds. It provides details for both work history and skill sets. The disadvantage of this, however, is that it can be quite a lengthy resume given the details presented, which can bore a prospective employer, business partner, or client to death.

Informal or Creative Resumes

As the name suggests, these are resumes that are out-of-the-box. Creative resumes that can really grab people’s attention – for better or for worse. Given that such resumes can work either way, use this type of resume wisely.

One good example of a creative resume is a video resume, which is also referred to as a video profile. These typically last no more than 2 minutes (make it longer and you risk boring the target audience) and are a great way to make you stand out from all the other candidates. Why? First, producing quality videos takes a lot of creativity and practical wisdom. And your audience will get that impression in your video profile, assuming it’s well made. And when your video profile shows you talking to your audience, it shows your confidence because most people are camera shy. Being in front of the camera tells your audience that you’re confident you’re the best person for their needs. If you’ll be appearing on the video profile and speak about yourself, it also gives your prospective employer, business partner and client the opportunity to “meet” you – see how you actually look and sound like. If you’re able to speak well and use the right body language, then you’ll further separate yourself from the rest of the other applicants.

And lastly, video resumes show you’re the type of person who is able to think of effective out-of-the-box ideas and that you’re willing to do difficult things to achieve your goals. You can use a video profile to give your target audience a general idea of who you are and give a very good impression that can help condition their minds that you’re a great catch, even prior to checking out your formal resume.

Another example of a creative resume is a newsletter type of resume. Newsletters are highly visual in nature and given people generally think in pictures, this type of template won’t just catch your target audience’s attention and separate you from the rest of the others, you’ll also be able to more clearly communicate why you’re the best person for their needs.

Lastly, another good example of a creative resume is an infographic resume. Infographics are excellent tools for reporting data in a very simple, attention grabbing, easy to understand and creative way. You can use it to report your skills, job-specific strengths, work experiences, and other relevant details in the same way too!

Know, Create, Submit

Now that you know the different types of professional resumes that can help you land your dream job, business partner or client, always keep in mind the saying that goes something like this: failing to plan is planning to fail. Before you can choose the right type of resume, you need to plan well and to do that, you need information about who your target audience is – who they are and what they’re looking for – and who you are in relation to your target audience. Once you know that, you will be in the position to choose the best type of resume to help you achieve your goal.

Know yourself and your audience, create the resume, and submit it. It’s that simple!