While there is no single standard resume format, the format
you choose can make a difference in the impression you make. It is important to
choose a design and approach that is concise and effective and highlights the
skills your prospective employer is looking for in an applicant. For example,
place education before work experience if you're fresh out of school or use a
summary of skills instead of a job objective if you want to highlight your
skills over your previous jobs.
There are two basic types of resumes, chronological and functional. A
chronological resume highlights your work history by date, and a functional
resume highlights your skills.
Chronological Resume Format
A chronological format is useful when the amount of time on each job (paid or
unpaid) may be viewed as a strength, your work experience prepares you for your
job objective, former job titles or employers are impressive, or you want to
show your advancement in a company or a field of work.
The body of a chronological resume includes a listing of your work history,
beginning with your most current job. Other sections may include a job
objective; information on your education; a summary of skills; volunteer
experiences, unions, and other work-related associations; and community
activities. Keep in mind that information near the top of the page gets read
most carefully. It can be effective to state your job objective and/or your
qualifications in a sentence or two before presenting your work history.
The session on work history may be titled Work History, Job History, Employment
or Experience. List your latest employment first, then previous job according to
dates. State your job title, employer, and dates of employment for each job. You
may include addresses, but use city and state only, Full address will be
presented on the reference page.
Under each job title explain exactly what your duties and responsibilities were,
what skills you learned, and what you be achieved. It is important to use words
that tell how much, how often, how well, and what results are produced.
List your formal education and training in a section titled Education, Training,
or Education and Training. Typically, the most recent schooling is listed first.
This section may be presented either before or after your work history. It will
depend on which is most important in the qualifications the employer is looking
Functional Resume Format
A functional resume is useful when you want to change career fields and need to
identify skills that may be used in a new situation, you have limited work
experience but still have skills that can be identified and grouped, you want to
enter or reenter paid employment and have acquired skills through unpaid or paid
experience, or you have had many different work experiences that are not
directly related to the job you're seeking for example managing a pet shop,
repairing appliances, serving as a teacher's aide.
The body of a functional resume highlights your major skill areas. Emphasis is
placed on your skills, not on work experience. Job titles, dates, or name of
employers may be left out. However, other sections may include a job objective,
information on education, a summary of abilities, and memberships and other
work-related associations. You may label the section describing your skills in a
variety of ways, such as:
Areas of Competence
Cluster your skills gained through both paid and unpaid experiences under one
heading. For example, if you provided word processing on one job, did filing on
another job, and acted as a receptionist someplace else, these activities could
be listed under the heading of Office Skills. In addition, unpaid experience may
be listed in the same way.