Guide for Sector Switchers » Chapter Eight Resources
Chapter Eight Resources
Chapter Eight of the Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers examines resumes and cover letters. Here are some supplementary resources to those included in the chapter.
Your resume is an essential tool in your job search. The sample resumes on this page give you some models to experiment with as you craft your own resume. For much more advice on resume writing, refer back to Chapter Eight.
Formatting your resume: The chronological vs. functional debate
There is an ongoing debate about the merits of chronological versus functional resume formats. Resumes that are not in the traditional chronological order tend to raise suspicion since this is the format that most employers expect, but the chronological approach has its limitations. For mid-career professionals, a combination of chronology and functionality often works best.
Chronological resumes are straightforward and easy to scan. However, chronological resumes can give away your age and expose questionable gaps or other deficiencies in your work history. If you would like to stick with the chronological format to avoid suspicion, consider whether your education or your experience (including, as always, volunteer experience) is stronger. Place the stronger section first.
Functional resumes are organized by thematic skill areas or job functions and give you greater control over the organization and flow of your resume since you are not restricted by chronology. If you are looking to make a career transition, it may make more sense to organize your resume thematically in order to highlight your relevant skills and experiences as they apply to the particular position you are seeking. This also de-emphasizes recent irrelevant experiences. However, no matter how well you craft your functional resume, an underlying question for this format could be, "What are they trying to hide?"
A combination or hybrid resume can be a great solution for career shifters. This format begins with a functional overview of skills and follows with a chronological list of experiences. But beware: these resumes can be repetitious or too long if not careful.