You might be asking yourself, “How many different types of resumes can there be?” After all, are there really that many ways to talk about your work experience? You bet.
The best way to think of a resume is as an extension of your personal brand and a representation of your best, most professional self. This isn’t just a list of accomplishments or jobs; it’s a marketing document, a targeted package designed to promote your skills, persuade the reader, and get you hired. How you design it is a big decision.
The Big List
This is as basic as you can get. Some HR professionals call this one “the laundry list” because of its direct, by-the-numbers approach to discussing your bona fides. The big list doesn’t waste any time with objectives, mission statements, or nuance. Rather, it jumps right into the work experience, usually favoring bulleted lists over sentences and paragraphs. The goal is to convey a lot of information as quickly as possible.
Upside: Even in the childcare world, resumes are often read and discarded in seconds. You have a limited amount of time in which to make an impression on the reader, and a big list guarantees that they’ll see your work. You won’t waste anyone’s time.
Downside: The “just the facts” approach can make you seem cold or methodical, which can be a risk in an industry that’s all about personality and trust. A big list is a great way to rattle off your accomplishments, but it’s less suited to conveying who you are and what’s led you down your particular career path. It’s not always good to let your jobs do all the talking for you.
The Functional Resume
The functional resume is all about the skills you’ve developed during your career. Instead of listing jobs tied to employers or locations, it lists roles and discusses what you’ve done in them. There’s a big emphasis here on your adaptability and performance. A functional nanny resume says, “This is who I am, and this is what I can offer you.”
Upside: Want to really sell your skills and assets? A functional resume is a great way to go. You can lead with your major accomplishments before segueing into talks about where you’ve been, what you’ve learned, and what you can provide. The goal is to hook the reader with an appealing look at what sets you apart from the pack.
Downside: Functional resumes tend to downplay accurate work history in favor of broader achievement, so a client family looking for a precise account of where you’ve worked (and how long you were at each position) might not be wild about a resume that can feel a little blurry on hard facts or dates.
The Chronological Resume
A chronological nanny resume will recount your work experience starting with the most recent job and working back from there. The goal here is to show your career path to the employer and to talk at each stage about specific duties, accomplishments, and rewards. It’s similar to the big list, but there’s more room for elaboration and personality as you discuss your jobs. Longer sentences and full paragraphs are the norm here, instead of the clipped, bulleted entries of the big list.
Upside: This is the most popular format in the corporate world, and it’s what most people picture when they think of resumes. That familiarity means the reader won’t have to work that hard to parse the document or pull out the highlights from your previous jobs. You can use this format to emphasize successes at all levels, whether you’re new in the field or a veteran of childcare.
Downside: An accurate account of your work history will also mean highlighting any jobs that you have only held for a brief time, and if you have a series of these short-run gigs, you might wind up looking bad. A client might assume you’re unstable, or they might think you’re a problematic hire who was terminated or phased out shortly after starting a job.
The Combination Resume
This format combines the chronological and functional layouts into one cohesive document. You still get to talk about the skills that set you apart from other applicants, but you also provide a solid work history that shows your career growth. Specific layout choices are still up to you — you can start with skills or work history, you can emphasize skills next to each job, etc. — but the final product is a smart hybrid.
Upside: You get the best of both worlds here. A combination-style nanny resume means you can play to your strengths. If you’ve got gaps in your work history or a couple of short-term jobs, you can balance them with skills and achievements. Similarly, if you’d rather underscore certain jobs, you can highlight them while also talking about the tools you developed there. This format offers a lot of customization options, which makes it versatile and easy to change.
Downside: Not that many, to be honest. The format is so cohesive, so all-around helpful, that it’s hard not to find some way to make it work to your advantage, especially since nanny resumes are augmented by references and personal statements. You don’t have to choose this format, of course — you can choose any of them, or you can draft multiple resumes in different formats to see which one works best for you. The goal is to make sure that you’re happy with how you’re presenting your professional self, and that clients are responding in kind.
If you are still not sure which format is best for you, you may want to visit NannyResume.org. With NannyResume.org, you answer multiple questions and then choose from several professionally designed resume formats which you can freely download in Microsoft Word format. This is totally free for caregivers and could really help you make a great impression with potential family employers.