Résumé Formats

While there is no single standard résumé 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 are 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 résumés, chronological and functional. A chronological résumé highlights your work history by date, and a functional resume highlights your skills.

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.

Chronological Résumé Format

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 is 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 for.

Functional Résumé Format

A functional résumé 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:

  • Skills

  • Abilities

  • Accomplishments

  • Experience

  • 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.


About Amr Badran

An Egyptian Business Consultant and Corporate Trainer since 1997. I've trained on Management, Leadership and Soft Skills to thousands of people from many nationalities, backgrounds and professions in more than 10 countries across the Middle and Far East. I've also provided my consultancy service for issues of Strategic Planning, Marketing, Sales and Capacity Building. Holder of an MBA and a Candidate for Doctorate in Business. Find more about my Management and Personal Skills Courses at AmrBadran.com and feel free contacting me at Amr@AmrBadran.com
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