The Hybrid Resume Format

One of the most crucial parts of writing an effective resume is choosing the right format. We usually distinguish between chronological, functional, and hybrid formats, with each having distinct pros and cons. To that end, we will be discussing different resume formats and which ones work for which job seekers. Today, we’ll look at the hybrid resume format.

WHAT IS IT?

The hybrid resume template is, as it sounds, a hybrid of the other two types of resumes we previously discussed: chronological and functional. The chronological resume is a straightforward listing of chronological work history: where you worked and when. The functional resume, also discussed here, takes the opposite approach: it focuses on your skills and accomplishments, while de-emphasizing chronological work history.

The hybrid resume aims to give you the best of both worlds. It includes detailed information on your chronological work experience, but also has specialized sections which allow you to highlight your unique competencies, accomplishments, and personal branding statements. Check out our examples: basic professional and advanced professional.

THE ADVANTAGES

The hybrid resume’s main advantage is that it avoids some of the disadvantages of the other resume formats. A chronological template may not work for you if you’ve had several different types of jobs, because it may look scattered and unfocused. By giving you a place to include a branding statement and highlight your most relevant skills, the hybrid resume helps you bring a uniting thread to your resume, focusing the hiring manager’s mind on the best parts of your experience.

Likewise, a functional template can be risky because the unusual format can be off-putting to hiring managers. The hybrid resume allows you to use a more orthodox format which showcases your stable work history, while still giving you a place to emphasize your best skills and achievements.

Due to its flexibility, the hybrid resume can work well for most jobseekers. It is also the preferred format for mid-to-upper-level professionals such as managers and executives.

THE DISADVANTAGES

Although the hybrid resume works well for a large number of people, it is not the best choice for everyone. The functional format may work better for someone with a nontraditional work history (large gap, no relevant experience, etc.) or someone with a single-track career doing the same exact job at several different companies. Our best advice is to read about all three types, then choose the one which you believe would paint your experience in the best light.

COMPONENTS OF A HYBRID RESUME

Contact information: Your name, physical address (optional), phone number with area code, and email address. You may also include your LinkedIn URL and/or website URL.

Personalized Sections: This area has the flexibility to let you get creative. You may choose to start with a tagline, profile statement, or professional summary — some sort of brief statement to introduce who you are and what you have to offer. You may also have a section that lets you emphasize the best things you have to offer, in an attention-grabbing list at the top of your resume. You might call that section Key Skills, Achievements, Core Competencies, or Accomplishments. Depending on your field and career level, it may also be appropriate to include a list of Professional Memberships. Look at our two examples for inspiration, and if you’re still not sure what to include, check for examples of hybrid resumes online and in resume books.

Work History: Start with the most recent job and work your way back. Include the name of each company, city and state of the company’s location, your job title there, your dates of employment, and a job description. There are two different ways of handling the job description, as shown in our two different examples.

Our basic professional example lists each job duty as a separate bullet point. Your bullet points should start with strong action verbs and give a good general idea of what you did on the job. Make sure to highlight: awards or promotions, experience training or supervising others, using specialized software or equipment, leading workshops or presentations, and any other special achievements on the job.

Our advanced professional example has a different approach. For many management-level professionals, including the details of every job duty would be overwhelming. Instead, this resume starts each job description with a brief paragraph summarizing the job duties. The bullet points are reserved for specific accomplishments.

Education: This would be the place to include academic degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.), vocational certifications (teaching license, LPN, etc.), and industry credentials (CPA, TWIC, OSHA, etc.). Remember to include the name and type of diploma earned, the name of the school, and the city and state. Depending on your field and career level, it may also be appropriate to include a subsection called Continuing Education or Professional Development, in which you’ll list the ongoing educational courses you have taken relevant to your field. Important note: do not include graduation dates for anything which is more than 15 years old. Doing so could make your degree look outdated and open you up to age discrimination.

References: Your references should not be part of your resume. References should be on a separate document, one which you only provide when it is asked for. You may include a line on your resume that says “References available upon request.”

In addition to these tips, you can come by the Career Center in person anytime during business hours for one-on-one help with your resume.

Written by Lynnette Lee.

Tech Talk: Career Cruising, Part 2 – Assessments

This is the second post in a series delving into the various aspects of the Career Cruising database available through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library’s Digital Library. Read all posts here.

The first step to any career decision is self-knowledge. You need to know what you want in order to pursue it. Assessments can be a useful first step to help you figure out what career you want to pursue. Career Cruising offers two assessments, the Matchmaker & My Skills and the Learning Styles Inventory.  Before you start your assessments, you will have to create a free account with Career Cruising.

The Matchmaker assesses your interest in certain common work activities. It is very intuitive. You will be presented a number of questions about common occupational tasks, and you choose the answer that applies most: dislike very much; dislike; does not matter; like; like very much.

Before you start you are also asked to indicate the level of education you aspire to or already have. The database will present you only with jobs that match your interests and the indicated education level.

After you finish answering the questions, Career Cruising will present you with a list of occupations that match your indicated interests.

At this point you could change the level of education to see what matching careers would be available with a different degree of education.

You can stop here and explore the indicated careers further by clicking on the link to get to in-depth information about each respective career. Or you can continue the assessment, which now changes scope and asks about the skills most commonly associated with your matching careers. You again answer the questions on a five point scale: highly skilled; skilled; have some skill; don’t have this skill; can’t answer this.

The results of the skills assessment will be incorporated with the results of the interest assessment and shows if you have the skills most commonly associated with those careers. Now, it is important to note that this skills assessment depends on your self-reported answers. Therefore it is not an objective overview of your skills.

Now you can see if you already have the major skills needed for the careers you are interested in. This serves as great input for further research.

The second assessment, the Learning Styles Inventory (LSI) will show you how you best process information. There are three types of learning or ways of processing information: visual (looking at information, graphs, images, etc); auditory (listening to information); and tactile (hands-on learning). Most people prefer one way of learning over the others. This information can be especially useful for students who are still contemplating their further education and career path.

Both assessments are a good start for your career exploration. They are intuitive and quick to take and will lead you to more information about matching careers.

The Career Cruising database can be accessed through the EBRPL Digital Library.

Written by Anne Nowak.

The Job Interview: Do You Have Questions for Us?

Scenario:

The job interview is coming to an end, and so far, you’ve done well. You’ve chosen a great interview outfit, you’ve showcased good body language, and you’ve made excellent use of the STAR formula in your answers.

Then the interviewer says, “So, do you have any questions for us?”
You reply, “No, not really. I think you covered it.”

Congratulations. You’ve just lost the job.

Why is this so important?

Accepting a new job is a major life decision. It makes sense to approach it with the same level of information-gathering that you’d apply to other major life decisions, like choosing a college or buying a house. If you ask no questions at the interview, hiring managers will wonder, why don’t you care more? Perhaps you aren’t truly interested in this job, and you’re just interviewing as a formality. Perhaps you’re just desperate for any job. Perhaps you didn’t do any research on the company, and therefore you don’t know what kinds of questions to ask. No matter which conclusion the hiring managers draw, it won’t paint you in a positive light. To avoid this, ask several questions at the interview — but not just any questions.

What kinds of questions are a BAD idea to ask?

Any kind of question that references salary, perks, benefits, hours, vacation, sick leave, promotions, etc. These kinds of questions scream, “I don’t care about doing a great job. I am chasing a paycheck.” Yes, you do need to know these things, but not now — wait until after you’ve officially been offered the job. Once they’ve decided you’re the one they want, then you can start negotiating salary and decide if you want to accept the job.

Examples:
“How much will I be earning per hour?”
“What will my commission percentage be?”
“Will the company reimburse me for mileage?”
“What kind of retirement package do you offer?”
“Do you guys provide dental insurance?”
“How soon can I be promoted?”
“Will I have to work weekends?”

Any question you should already know the answer to. Read the job description carefully, research the company thoroughly, and listen attentively to everything the hiring manager says. Otherwise, you may ask bone-headed, surface-level questions which indicate that you didn’t do your homework and weren’t paying attention.

Examples:
“What is the official title for my position?”
“What sorts of products do you make?”
“Do you guys have a mission statement?”
“Wow, you have a website?”

What kinds of questions are a GOOD idea to ask?

Questions about the company culture and working environment.

Examples:  
“What’s your favorite thing about working here?”
“Can you tell me about the team I’ll be working with?”
“How did this position become available?”
“I saw in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report that you recently opened a new location downtown. Has that expansion created any new challenges for your department?”

Questions about the job duties.

Examples:  
“What will the training process for this position be like?”
“You mentioned that I would be assisting with the Phoenix project. Can you tell me a little bit more about this project? What role would I play in facilitating it?”
“I understand that my primary function will be to assist customers. But during slow times, when there are no customers, what are some other things you’d like me to work on?”

Questions about their expectations of you.

Examples:   
“How would you describe the perfect candidate for this position? What qualities would that person have?”
“Have you had a previous employee in this position who was fantastic? What made her so successful in this role?”
“What is the number-one thing I should focus on in my first 30 days of working here?”

“When can I expect to hear your decision?”

General advice

Listen for red flags. They are not just interviewing you; you are also interviewing them. Before you decide to accept the job, you need to make sure that you would be happy there. When they talk about the work environment, does it sound like an environment you’d fit well into, or does it sound clique-ish or stressful? Do the job duties they discuss seem like something you’d enjoy doing, or would you get bored? Does the boss sound like a micromanager? Does he seem to have unrealistic expectations? Has there been high turnover for this position? If you get a bad vibe from the interview, don’t ignore it.  Trust your instincts.

Respond to their responses. Don’t just nod dumbly after they answer your questions. React in a positive and meaningful way. For example: You ask them to describe the perfect candidate, and they answer, “The ideal candidate would have stellar customer service skills, a meticulous eye for detail, and the ability to stay calm in a stressful environment.” You now have a golden opportunity to sell yourself. Smile and say that that sounds perfect for you. Then, address each point in turn, and explain (with examples wherever possible) how you definitely possess that trait.

Written by Lynnette Lee

New Career Center Books

You may place a hold on any Career Center book through the East Baton Rouge Parish Library website.

         

Modernize Your Resume and Modernize Your Job Search Letters
by Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark

An enormous amount of the job search involves written communication. These two books serve as companion pieces to help jobseekers with all job-search-related letters and correspondence. Modernize Your Resume offers resume-writing strategies, a variety of formatting choices, and more than eighty examples of resumes.  Modernize Your Job Search Letters contains helpful advice and examples for: cover letters, thank-you letters, networking letters, e-notes, and letter for unique job search challenges. Both authors are Master Resume Writers and Credentialed Career Managers.

The Ex-Offender’s Re-Entry Assistance Directory
by Ronald L. Krannich, Ph.D.

The transition from incarceration back into mainstream society is often arduous and overwhelming. This book aims to help ex-offenders get back on their feet and navigate the difficult barriers they face. The directory is jam-packed with information about key government agencies, nonprofit groups, and faith-based organizations focused on assisting ex-offenders with re-entry. The directory offers resources for employment help, but also for a variety of other issues that may affect a jobseeker’s chances, including housing, transportation, substance abuse, education, mental health, finances, clothing, and tattoo removal. The book contains detailed breakdowns of programs available in every state, as well as information on helpful nationwide and online resources. Author Ron Krannich has written dozens of career guidance books, many of which focus on ex-offenders.

When Talent Isn’t Enough: Business Basics for the Creatively Inclined
by Kristen Fischer

Creative professionals (such as artists, designers, writers, etc.) often work freelance, as independent contractors, or as entrepreneurs. Many of these struggle to earn a living, in spite of their valuable talents, because of a lack of business acumen. This book seeks to give creative professionals the business savvy to make themselves successful as freelancers and entrepreneurs. Subjects include: marketing, self-promotion, legalities, bookkeeping, challenging client situations, and cultivating client relationships.

Written by Lynnette Lee

 

Book Review: Grit

Growing up, Angela Duckworth and her siblings were repeatedly told by their father that they were no geniuses. In third grade, Duckworth didn’t qualify for the gifted and talented programs at school, seemingly proving her father’s point. How poignant then that in 2013 she won a MacArthur Genius Grant for her studies on grit and perseverance. She is a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and Grit, The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a summary of the studies conducted by Duckworth and her colleagues into the topic.

The major outcome of her studies is that innate talent and IQ matter much less in determining and predicting success and accomplishment than grit. Grit is defined as a combination of passion and perseverance. Two of Duckworth’s larger quantitative studies were conducted with West Point cadets and participants in the National Spelling Bee, environments known for talented, intelligent, and gritty individuals.

Duckworth concludes that there are four necessary components of grit:

  1. Interest
  2. Capacity to practice
  3. Purpose
  4. Hope, defined as a “rising-to- the-occasion kind of perseverance”

The book is divided into three parts: the first is about what grit is and why it matters; the second is about how to foster and nurture grit from within; and the third is about how to encourage grit from the outside.

What grit is and why it matters

This chapter outlines Duckworth’s studies at West Point and the National Spelling Bee. She argues that the discussion about what determined success is still too dominated by a focus on innate talent and that most people are blinded by “naturals.” We seem to prefer people with natural talent. This, however, is to our detriment, since her studies have shown that perseverance coupled with passion is a much better predictor of success and accomplishment. Duckworth says: “I will argue that, as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”

Growing grit from the inside out

This is probably the most important part of the book. It explains how we can all become more persevering and nurture our grit. Duckworth goes into the details of the four components of grit as outlined above.

First, there has to be interest. Most people will not know their particular field of interest right away. It takes some time and experimenting until most of us hit upon the things we are so passionate or excited about that we are willing to invest time and effort to hone our skills.

Second, there needs to be a lot of practice. What the grit paragons in Duckworth’s studies have in common was that they all wanted to continuously improve their skills. But efficient practice does not just mean logging hours. Effective practice needs to be deliberate, and deliberate practice is defined as:

  • A clearly defined stretch goal
  • Full concentration and effort
  • Immediate and informative feedback
  • Repetition with reflection and refinement

Third, there needs to be purpose. Having purpose is energizing and engaging. Studies have shown that high school students who saw how their studying and school work could make a difference later on study more and with better outcomes than those who don’t see how they could make a difference. The same holds true for employees. Those who perceive making a difference in people’s lives and having a purpose perform better and are happier in their jobs than employees who don’t see themselves connected to the greater good.

Last but not least, there needs to be hope, defined as a “rising-to- the-occasion kind of perseverance.” Psychologists have found that a feeling of control is the key element in hope. Studies have shown that it is not suffering itself that leads to hopelessness but suffering we think we can’t control. People scoring high on grit tend to explain events optimistically. They have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. Duckworth writes: “The reality is that most people have an inner fixed mindset pessimist in them right alongside their inner growth mindset optimist.” Optimists search for temporary, specific, and thus fixable causes of their suffering. Pessimists, however, see permanent and pervasive, thus not fixable, causes as the root of their suffering. The more we can foster a more optimistic mindset, the grittier we will become.

Growing grit from the outside in

This part discusses how grit can be fostered from the outside, such as parenting for grit and creating a culture of grit in organizations. Most space and time is devoted to raising gritty kids and adolescents. One of the most interesting study outcomes described here is the fact that participating in extracurricular activities in high school for at least two years is a better predictor of college and academic success than SAT scores or grades. Duckworth concludes that sticking with an extracurricular activity for at least two years shows follow-through, which requires, as well as builds, grit.

Overall this is an interesting read, in which well researched social science meets life skills. The studies and outcomes are easy to understand, and their conclusions and recommendations have direct impact on people’s daily lives.

Written by Anne Nowak.