A résumé (French pronunciation: [ʁezyme]) is a document that contains a summary of relevant job experience and education for specific employment search. The résumé is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment. The résumé is comparable to a curriculum vitae in many countries, although in Canada and United States it is substantially different.
In many contexts, a résumé is short (usually one to two pages), and therefore contains only experience directly relevant to a particular position. Many résumés contain precise keywords that potential employers are looking for, make heavy use of active verbs, and display content in a flattering manner.
In the past, résumés used to be no longer than two pages, as potential employers typically did not devote much time to reading résumé details for each applicant. In some countries employers have changed their views regarding acceptable résumé length. Since increasing numbers of job seekers and employers are using Internet-based job search engines to find and fill employment positions, longer résumés are needed for applicants to differentiate and distinguish themselves, and employers are becoming more accepting of résumés that are longer than two pages. Many professional résumé writers and human resources professionals believe that a résumé should be long enough so that it provides a concise, adequate, and accurate description of an applicant's employment history and skills. List only the information and achievements required for the position. The transmission of résumés directly to employers became increasingly popular as late as 2002. Jobseekers were able to circumvent the job application process and reach employers through direct email contact and résumé blasting, a term meaning the mass distribution of résumés to increase personal visibility within the job market. However the mass distribution of résumés to employers often can have a negative effect on the applicant's chances of securing employment as the résumés tend not to be tailored for the specific positions the applicant is applying for. It is usually therefore more sensible to adjust the résumé for each position applied for.
The complexity and simplicity of various résumé formats tend to produce results varying from person to person, for the occupation, and to the industry. It is important to note that résumés used by medical professionals, professors, artists and people in many other specialized fields may be comparatively longer. For example, an artist's résumé, typically excluding any non-art-related employment, may include extensive lists of solo and group exhibitions.
A simple résumé is a summary typically limited to one or two pages of size A4 or Letter-size highlighting only those experiences and credentials that the author considers most relevant to the desired position. US academic CVs are typically longer.
Résumés may be organized in different ways:
A reverse chronological résumé enumerates a candidate's job experiences in reverse chronological order, generally covering the last 10 to 15 years.
The reverse chronological résumé format is the most commonly used. In using this format, the main body of the document becomes the Professional Experience section, starting from the most recent experience going chronologically backwards through a succession of previous experience. The reverse chronological résumé works to build credibility through experience gained, while illustrating career growth over time. In the United Kingdom the chronological résumé tends to extend only as far back as the subject's GCSE/Standard Grade qualifications.
A functional résumé lists work experience and skills sorted by skill area or job function.
The functional résumé is used to assert a focus to skills that are specific to the type of position being sought. This format directly emphasizes specific professional capabilities and utilizes experience summaries as its primary means of communicating professional competency. In contrast, the chronological résumé format will briefly highlight these competencies prior to presenting a comprehensive timeline of career growth via reverse-chronological listing with most recent experience listed first. The functional résumé works well for those making a career change, having a varied work history and with little work experience. A functional résumé is also preferred for applications to jobs that require a very specific skill set or clearly defined personality traits.
The combination résumé balances the functional and chronological approaches. A résumé organized this way typically leads with a functional list of job skills, followed by a chronological list of employers. The combination résumé has a tendency to repeat itself and is therefore less widely utilized than the other two forms.
The Internet has brought about a new age for the résumé. As the search for employment has become more electronic, résumés have followed suit. It is common for employers to only accept résumés electronically, either out of practicality or preference. This electronic boom has changed much about the way résumés are written, read, and handled. Delivering a résumé in person is better than online, but if there is no other easier way, sending résumé online could be attempted. Giving a résumé in person enables the prospective employer to see you.
Some career fields include a special section listing the life-long works of the author. For computer-related fields, the softography; for musicians and composers, the discography; for actors, a filmography.
Keeping résumés online has become increasingly common for people in professions that benefit from the multimedia and rich detail that are offered by an HTML résumé, such as actors, photographers, graphic designers, developers, dancers, etc.
Job seekers are finding an ever increasing demand to have an electronic version of their résumé available to employers and professionals who use Internet recruiting at any time. Internet résumés differ from conventional résumés in that they are comprehensive and allow for self-reflection. Unlike regular 2 page résumés, which only show recent work experience and education, Internet résumés also show an individual's skill development over his or her career.
For job seekers, taking résumés online also facilitates distribution to multiple employers via Internet. Online résumé distribution services have emerged to allow job seekers to distribute their résumés to employers of their choices via email.
Another advantage to internet résumés is the significant cost savings over traditional hiring methods. The Employment Management Association has included internet advertising in its cost-per-hire surveys for several years. In 1997, for example, it reported that the average cost-per-hire for a print ad was $3,295, while the average cost-per-hire with the Internet was $377. This in turn has cut costs for many growing organizations, as well as saving time and energy in recruitment. Until the development of résumés in an electronic format, employers would have to sort through massive stacks of paper to find suitable candidates without any way of filtering out the poor candidates. Employers are now able to set search parameters in their database of résumés to reduce the number of résumés which must be reviewed in detail in the search for the ideal candidate.
Finally, the Internet is enabling new technologies to be employed with résumés, such as video résumés—especially popular for multimedia job seekers. Another emerging technology is graphic-enabled résumés, such as Visual CV.