Resume Formats: Choosing the Right One

Choosing the right resume format is important to get you noticed. Learn all about the different resume formats in this free lesson.

Introduction

Man Choosing a Resume With hiring managers or other staffing professionals spending so little time on your resume in their first pass, it is very important to make sure your resume makes the best impression possible. One way to do that is to choose the resume format that best highlights your experience, education, and skills.

In this lesson, we will explore the various ways key information is presented on a chronological, functional, and combination resume.

The Chronological Resume

The most commonly used resume format is the chronological resume. On a chronological resume, your work history is listed by job title beginning with your current or most recent job.

The chronological resume works best for job seekers who:

Click on the buttons in the interactive to learn more about the Chronological resume format. Visit the Resume Gallery to see a full view of the bookkeeper sample resume used in this interactive.

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Previous Job in Order

On a chronological resume, every job that is listed should be written in a way that makes it relevant to the position you are seeking.

Joe tailored his clerk and teller positions with cash transaction language that related to bookkeeping. Also, by including these experiences, he has shown a steady work history from 1993.

Previous Jobs in Order

On a chronological resume, each job has the employer's name and location and a job title that can be understood by anyone, like bookkeeper.

Most Recent Job

On a chronological resume, every job in your work history is listed with dates in reverse chronological order. This means that your most recent or current job is listed first, like this one.

The Functional Resume

A less popular resume format among recruiters and hiring staff, the functional resume highlights your skills without revealing the dates associated with your job history. The functional resume minimizes specific job titles and eliminates dates of employment, while emphasizing your abilities and skills by placing them in functional skill categories.

The functional resume works well if you:

Click on the buttons in the interactive to learn more about the Functional resume format. Visit the Resume Gallery to see a full view of the experienced paralegal sample resume used in this interactive.

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Work History

On the functional resume, the work history area lists current and previous jobs, but does not include dates. This may be a good strategy for job seekers who want to minimize a long break in employment or for older job seekers who worry that age may be a limiting factor.

As always, the name and location of the employer should be listed, along with a job title that can be understood by anyone.

Functional Skills Listed

The skills area lists specific skill sets, like Contracts Management or Leadership. These functional skills should directly relate to the position you want.

Description of Skills

Notice that each skill function has a short description of how that skill was demonstrated rather than where. This is nice for job seekers who have had a variety of seemingly unrelated experiences to draw from.

In addition, each description provides examples of measurable responsibilities and accomplishments in that skill area.

Many hiring managers dislike the functional resume, because they can't use it to gauge your reliability, longevity, or how recently you used certain skills. For example, someone who created sales brochures 20 years ago may not be familiar with the software technologies used to produce a sales brochure today.

The Combination Resume

The combination resume format combines the functional and chronological formats. It includes functional skill categories, but also lists the dates of previous employment.

This format works well for job seekers who:

Click on the buttons in the interactive to learn more about the Combination resume format. Visit the Resume Gallery to see a full view of the teacher sample resume used in this interactive.

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Work History with Dates

On a combination resume, the work history section lists current and previous jobs in chronological order. It differs from the functional resume because it includes dates of employment.

It should also include the name and location of the employer, in addition to a job title that can be understood by anyone.

Functional Skills List

The functional skills area includes broad categories of skills, like Coaching and Counseling, that are written to match the job requirement of the position you are trying to get.

Each skill has its own description that provides evidence of how the skill was used in previous jobs and specific measures of performance.

The combination resume works well for anyone, and employers like this format because it focuses on skills and experience but doesn’t hide employment history.

Let's Review

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A chronological resume:

A functional resume:

A combination resume: