Career Development

Resumé Format

Choosing the resumé format that best presents your skills and experience will make assembling your resumé much easier.

How are the formats different?

Format Who  should use this format? Description
ChronologicalPDF
Click to see example.
  • Effective for applicants with consecutive years of experience clearly related to the desired position
  • Inappropriate for entry-level applicants and those re-entering the workforce because it highlights inexperience and gaps in employment history

Employment history is listed in reverse chronological order. Employers tend to perceive this resumé style as fact-based and easily skimmed.

FunctionalPDF
Click to see example.
  • Effective for applicants whose work history has significant gaps of inactivity or experience in various positions that would seem unrelated to a new employer
  • Effective for an applicant new to the professional workforce; allows the applicant to present summer, internship, volunteer or other experiences under skill headings important to the desired position
  • Also useful when making a career change  from one field to another or changing occupations with a given field

Skills (and sometimes education) are emphasized at the beginning of the resumé, while employment history is summarized or avoided altogether.
Some employers dislike functional resumés if they find it difficult to match up skills with actual job title, level of responsibility and dates of experience. Avoid this objection by including the company name in the bullet describing each accomplishment.

CombinationPDF
Click to see example.
  • Effective for a recent graduate or career-changer with some work experience related to the desired position
  •  The combination format allows the applicant to list related experience while also emphasizing training or other qualifications, or job-related skills demonstrated in summer, internship, volunteer or other position
  •  Effective if job titles fail to communicate the breadth of skills utilized that relate to the desired position
  • Useful for highlighting diverse skills used in a single job

A combination resumé is a functional resumé with a brief employment history. It emphasizes skills while also communicating experience.

ExecutivePDF
Click to see example.
  • Effective for any applicant with extensive professional experience and achievement in a given field
  • NOTE: The skill summary section, key to an executive format, can also be adapted effectively into other formats.

The executive format prefaces a chronological presentation of work achievements with a concise summary of key areas of expertise and career accomplishment. Tending to recap a longer work history, it may extend to two or more pages.

Which format should I use?

Format Decision Tree

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