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Summer is right around the corner (Southern Hemisphere readers: Come back and read this post in 6 months), meaning many people are looking for summer jobs. If you’re among them, use these format tips to create an effective summer job resume.

Choosing your resume format

Chronological resumes are the overwhelming favorite of employers because they make the linear progression of your career easy to see. But what if you’re just starting out, or your career progression hasn’t been exactly linear?

There are numerous valid causes for a work history that might look a little spotty when organized into a chronological resume format. Transitioning from the military (spouses and significant others included—their careers are also impacted by military service), changing careers, re-entering the workforce after time away, having gone through bouts of unemployment, or having just graduated are a few of the possibilities.

If you’ve built a solid skill set over the years, but have an irregular work history, a functional resume format could be right for you.

Functional resumes

Though less traditional than the chronological format, the functional resume format suits some job seekers better. It puts the spotlight on skills and accomplishments, rather than job titles and employment dates. In this format, similar accomplishments are categorized together. For example, all customer service activities—no matter how many different roles those experiences came from—would be placed under a header such as “Customer Service Experience.”

To figure out which skills and experiences you should focus on, run your resume and the job posting you’re interested in through Jobscan’s resume analysis tool. You’ll get a score showing you how well your resume matches up, plus feedback including improvements you can make.

Following the list of your most relevant and notable skills and accomplishments are a brief education section and a work history limited to job titles, companies, and dates of employment.

Resume length

While two-page resumes are acceptable in certain instances, for a summer job, definitely keep it to one page. Instead of tweaking margins and spacing, just edit your resume. Most people have a few extraneous things on their resumes:

  • References: A line on your resume stating something along the lines of “References available upon request” doesn’t do you any good. All candidates are assumed to have references, and employers will ask for them when they want them. Removing this outdated line will make your resume more current—and save you some space.
  • Objective: A resume objective tells the employer what you want. But the real point of a resume is to show the employer how capable you are—and how they could benefit from your skills and experience. Skip the objective, and save talk of your career aspirations for once you’ve got your foot in the door.
  • Miscellaneous: Hobbies, salary expectations, possession of a bartending license (when applying for an office job)—these are all examples of things I’ve seen people misguidedly include on their resumes. Don’t let your resume create a negative first impression.

Reading your resume out loud is one effective trick for finding things that stand out—in a bad way. Careful editing will keep it focused and concise.

Whichever resume format you choose—functional or chronological—keeping it specific, relevant, and tailored for each job will help you land the summer role you’re after.

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