Types of Resume Formats

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Resume formats can be chronological, functional, or a combination of several types. We will discuss each type and when each is most effective, and provide examples for you to follow.

Chronological Format

The chronological format, though not necessarily the best format for you, is the most traditional and the one most commonly used. This format gives a chronological listing of all previous experience starting with the most recent position that you held or are currently holding. This format is effective if your most recent work or educational experience is directly related to the type of employment that you are seeking. The general categories listed include: objective, education, experience, and other related experience. Examples of chronological resumes can be found on the next two pages.

Functional Resume

A functional or skills resume presents information about yourself in a way that emphasizes: 1) those skills that you believe to be most important in the job you seek, and 2) those personal qualities which are among your strongest assets. Such a format is especially desirable if your most recent position does not relate to the position you seek or if you have little or no directly related experience. The primary headings you use with such a resume would include a summary of skills or key skill areas. A more detailed description of each relevant skill would then follow with sup porting examples where appropriate. In cases which give extensive detail about categories of skills, your work experience may be shown in an employment history section which lists previous positions, employers, and dates. Your education section, depending on its importance and relevance, might come either before or after the "skills" section. Following are examples of functional resumes.

Combination Resume

Any other combination of the above formats is appropriate if it highlights your abilities in the best way possible for the position sought. For example, a summary of skills could be followed by a description of the one or two most relevant experiences you have had or positions that you have held where these skills were demonstrated. If the positions were several years old, you might even choose to leave off their specific dates or simply include all dates in an "employment history" section.

You should consider using a word processing service and the advice of a friend or placement professional in order to: experiment with different formats and resume content, use different formats and content blocks for different jobs, keep your resume current, and have your resume look professional. In addition, you should run experimental resumes past individuals who have seen many resumes and can offer valuable advice.

Following are two examples of resumes which use a combined for Mat Regardless of the format selected, resumes should contain certain information:

Identifying Data-Name, address (include zip codes), telephone numbers (include area codes).

Statement of Objective-A one or two line description of what you want to do. If used on your resume, this brief description of the type of position desired should be at the top of your resume. If the statement of objective is not placed on the resume, it should be clearly stated in an accompanying cover letter. Different resumes should be written for different objectives so that the content of each resume is tailored to support the objective.

Education-Name of school, major, degree received, graduation date or projected graduation date. If your degree included courses in areas relevant to your objective, indicate these areas or course titles. Honors and grade point average information is optional, although recommended if considered among your strong points. If you attended more than one school, list the most recent first. It is not always necessary to list all the schools you have attended. Do not list high school unless you have reason to believe it might be helpful (alumni/family/status/etc.). Additional training you have received may either be included here or in a separate category.

Experience/Work History-Paid or volunteer experience that relates to what you want to do. Emphasize your accomplishments, responsibilities and duties, skills and abilities most appropriate to the position which you are seeking. If the experience does not obviously relate, either drop it or identify some aspect of it that was valuable and relevant, for example, the level of responsibility, research/analytic skills developed, etc. Refer to your skills inventory in Unit Two to be sure your experience as described best matches the skills you say you have. Be sure to include job title and employing organization and dates of employment

Additional Information-If relevant and appropriate to your objective, the following information should be included on your resume:
  • Community involvement activities.

  • Campus activities, such as student organizations or clubs, student government, etc.

  • Professional affiliations and publications.

  • Special skills, such as: foreign languages, computer skills, office skills, or other highly marketable assets.

  • Statement about references-It is acceptable but not necessary to use the phrase "References Available upon Request," or "References Furnished on Request." Ideally your references should be relevant, respected individuals in the career field for which you are applying. Always ask permission before using anyone's name as a reference. Do not use your relatives or your friends as references. Try to use people who know about your work-related abilities, such as former supervisors and faculty members.
Style Tips for Resumes

The following is generally accepted good advice for developing an effective resume. Use it in coordination with the resume examples.
  1. Keep it brief and to the point. Long resumes seldom receive much attention and can detract from your effectiveness in the job search.

  2. Avoid use of the personal pronoun "I."

  3. Use action phrases, especially verbs. They make your resume easier to read and make you seem to be an "action-oriented" individual.

  4. Stress accomplishments, responsibilities, and variety of duties per formed. Such items give indicators that you can do more of the same.

  5. If using the chronological format, list your entries in reverse chronological order beginning with the most recent and working back in time. This is true for both the Education and Experience sections of your resume.

  6. If using the skills/functional format, begin with the skill areas most directly related to the position you seek. This maximizes the relevance of your resume to the specific opportunity for which you are applying.

  7. New graduates need not be embarrassed about including part-time and summer jobs not directly related to the kind of work desired, but should remember to emphasize the transferable skills and abilities developed or demonstrated.

  8. If you have worked for one organization for a long period of time, stress your advancement or progression. Again, this is another indicator that you will likely do the same in the next organization that employs you.

  9. It is not necessary to list previous salaries, names of supervisors, or reasons for leaving previous positions. This information can distract from more relevant information.
Resume Layout
  1. As a general rule, keep your resume brief enough to fit on one page, or two if your experience is extensive. Edit your resume ruthlessly. If you feel it is too long, ask someone else to suggest material that might be condensed or omitted.

  2. Arrange your headings and/or dates in a consistent mailer that controls the reader's attention. The key information on your resume, such as previous positions, should be highlighted by bold type, capitalization, or underlining. Employers read many resumes; be sure they can learn the most important facts about you quickly.

  3. Bold face or italic type, underlining, and the use of capitalization can highlight important parts of your resume.

  4. Make good use of blank space. Well organized spatial arrangement can isolate important points you wish to emphasize; it also adds to the overall impression of neatness and orderliness.

  5. Resumes should be on good quality bond paper, either on white or a conservative tone paper such as cream, light gray, or tan. In general, avoid pastels. The quality of the typewriter/word processing printer is also important. Any visible corrections are unacceptable. A good word processing resume service will charge $10-25 for entry and several versions of your resume-money well spent!

  6. You will need multiple copies of your resume. Check with copy service rates and reproduction methods. Many printers offer resume specials which include matching envelopes and extra blank stationery for cover letters. Printing is usually only cost-effective if you make over 50-75 copies. Do not order too many copies at any one time, since you will be reluctant to make changes when they become necessary. Word processing with letter quality printing is a much better alternative, especially since it allows for easier changes and improvements. Save the original copy of your resume so that you can easily reproduce more at a later time.

  7. Before reproducing your resume, be sure to have several people who are experienced proofread the final draft for typos, misspellings and the accuracy of numbers, especially address and telephone numbers. Careless mistakes on your resume are inexcusable!

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