One key decision job-seekers must make when writing a resume is which resume format to use. All resume formats have merits, and job-seekers usually select the one that best suits their work experience and the type of job they’re seeking.

The three standard resume formats are:

This article will review the different types of resume formats, which one is ideal based on an individual’s career trajectory and goals, and provide examples for each format.

Chronological Resume Format

Best For: Experienced or mid-career professionals with a consistent work history in a particular industry.

This format is the most common — and most straightforward — resume format. Chronological resumes prioritize work experience by listing all current and former jobs, starting with the most recent first. This format helps job-seekers build a narrative of how they have worked their way up in an industry from entry-level to mid-level or even leadership positions.

Depending on their experience, individuals may be able to include all their current and former jobs on a chronological resume, or they may need to be selective about the experiences they list to ensure everything fits on a single page.

When listing work experience on a chronological resume, job-seekers should include the name and location of the employer, the position they held with the company, and their dates of employment. To provide more details about their responsibilities and achievements, resume writers can use a bulleted list highlighting key information about how their previous work relates to the new job they’re seeking.

The sections that follow the work history can be in any order, depending on what information you want to prioritize. A standard chronological resume format looks like this:

  • Contact information
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Professional work experience
  • Relevant skills
  • Education
  • Optional sections: professional memberships, volunteer experience, special interests.

Chronological Resume Example

Dylan Murray
(555) 345-1298 | [email protected] | Toledo, OH 12345

Summary of Qualifications

Resourceful Elementary School Teacher with nearly ten years of experience inspiring and developing young minds. Adapt readily to new work challenges and conditions. Master of Educational Studies.

Professional Experience

Third Grade Teacher, Central Toledo Elementary School, Toledo, OH | September 2019-Present

  • Create and adapt lesson plans to students’ needs
  • Prepare and deliver regular tests to classes of up to 30 students
  • Write detailed quarterly reports on student progress for parents and school administrators
  • Piloted a successful garden project to complement five key science unit objectives

Second Grade Teacher, Ann Arbor Elementary School, Ann Arbor, MI |  August 2015-June 2019

  • Taught 2nd of up to 30 students
  • Used varied teaching strategies to provide a dynamic and interactive learning environment
  • Fostered productive relationships with parents and colleagues
  • Developed thematic units of study to encourage students’ curiosity and grasp of interdisciplinary subjects

Key Skills

  • Advanced teaching methods
  • Conflict management & resolution
  • Cross-functional coordination
  • Differentiated learning
  • Lesson planning
  • Reporting & documentation
  • Student engagement
  • Technology integration

Education

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

  • Master of Arts — Educational Studies with Elementary Teacher Certification | 2013-2015
  • Bachelor of Arts  | 2008-2012

Certification

Ohio Professional Teacher’s License, Ohio State Board of Education | 2019

Michigan Professional Teacher’s License, Michigan State Board of Education | 2015

Functional Resume Format

Best For: Individuals with limited professional experience, employment gaps, or who are making a major career shift.

Functional resumes emphasize an applicant’s skills that are relevant to the position or opportunity they are seeking. While applicants using this resume format will include information about jobs they’ve previously held, work history is less of a focus on a functional resume than it is on a chronological resume.

A functional resume can be the ideal format for job-seekers who are switching careers or industries, have limited work experience, or have significant gaps in their employment history because the focus is on their skills rather than their specific jobs. However, job-seekers using a functional resume format should be prepared to demonstrate how they developed the particular skills they highlight. A common element of functional resumes is a summary of qualifications, which highlights the applicant’s most relevant skills for a specific position, regardless of how they acquired those skills.

The summary of qualifications and list of relevant skills gets prime placement on a functional resume. Other sections, including work history, education, and professional memberships, should be included at the end of the resume. Volunteer experience can also be beneficial to include on a functional resume, as it can also demonstrate how job-seekers developed certain skills.

A functional resume typically follows this format:

  • Contact information
  • Objective or profile
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Relevant skills
  • Professional work experience*
  • Education*
  • Optional sections: volunteer experience, special interests, professional memberships

*These sections can be flipped if necessary. For example, a recent graduate with little professional work experience can feature their education more than their work history.

Functional Resume Example

Denise Morgan
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | Pasadena, CA 12345 | www.linkedin.com/example

Summary of Qualifications

Collaborative project manager with 7+ years of experience. Skilled at preparing clear budget estimates and pinpointing the best ways to avoid cost overruns. Experience using software and cloud-based applications to track projects and control costs. Confident and comfortable with delegating responsibilities and ensuring deadlines are met. Project Management Professional (PMP). Master of Business Administration.

Key Skills

  • Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • Team Leadership & Motivation
  • Work Planning & Scheduling
  • Project Management Software
  • Teleconferencing Platforms
  • Communication
  • Creative Problem-Solving
  • Strategic Thinking

Professional Experience

Project Manager Assistant, Lee Consulting Company, Pasadena, CA | May 2021-Present

  • Deliver proposals, answer client calls, and review invoices
  • Order and route project materials to the appropriate manager
  • Oversee calendar, including scheduling in-person and virtual meetings
  • Enter project expenses into the accounting system

Resident Stage Manager, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA | January 2019-May 2020

  • Credits include The Music Man, Lost in Yonkers, Camelot, Blithe Spirit, and Avenue Q
  • Called all sound, light, and SFX cues for the show
  • Scheduled rehearsals to accommodate calendars for as many as 30 people
  • Wrote and sent detailed daily reports and call sheets to all cast and crew
  • Coordinated production meetings with design teams, fight and intimacy coordinators, and others

Assistant Stage Manager, Pasadena Playhouse, Pasadena, CA | July 2017-January 2019

  • Assisted Resident Stage Manager with scheduling, communications, running rehearsals, and calling cues during shows

Education

Master of Business Administration (Concentration: Project Management) | May 2024

GPA: 4.0

Bachelor of Theater, UCLA – Los Angeles, CA | 2013-2017

Certification

Certified Associate in Project Management, Project Management Institute | 2024

Combination Resume Format

Best For: Individuals transitioning to a new career or with a diverse work history.

The most flexible resume format, a combination resume (also known as a hybrid resume), blends elements of functional and chronological resumes to emphasize both relevant skills and work experience.

Job-seekers with a varied work history can use this format to show potential employers that, even if their prior work experience may not be directly relevant to the position they’re seeking, they do have the necessary skills and aptitudes.

For individuals transitioning to a new career, this type of resume can demonstrate their level of professional experience and the transferable skills that come with it by providing more details on current and past jobs than a functional resume. When describing their past work experience, applicants should highlight the responsibilities and achievements most relevant to the new position they’re seeking.

Applicants using a combination resume can highlight their relevant skills with a summary of qualifications and a key skills list. Because this format features skills and work experience equally, there may be less room for optional sections like volunteer experience or special interests. However, if you have volunteer experience or interests relevant to the job you’re seeking, including them can further emphasize your suitability for the position.

A combination resume may be formatted as follows:

  • Contact information
  • Objective or profile
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Relevant skills
  • Professional work experience
  • Education
  • Optional sections: volunteer experience, special interests, professional memberships

Combination Resume Example

Jennifer Alvarez
555-789-1133
[email protected]
San Francisco, CA 12345
LinkedIn

Summary of Qualifications

A speech pathology professional with a proven track record of mentoring students of all ages, including children, young adults, and adults, in various educational settings. Adept at working independently or in collaboration with teachers and other education professionals. Specializations include ESL tutoring, ASL, speech-language therapy, and case management.

Key Skills

  • American Sign Language (ASL)
  • Teaching English as a Second Language
  • Speech-language-hearing therapy
  • Autism spectrum disorders (ASD)
  • Lesson planning
  • Public speaking

Work Experience

Speech-Language-Hearing Writing Tutor, San Francisco Unified School District | August 2023 – Present

  • Coordinated with students weekly to identify weaknesses, resolved questions with speech, language, and hearing science course material, and developed strategies for academic success.
  • Resolved concerns regarding paper structure, prompts, revisions, and Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) citation formatting.

Classroom Assistant, Columbia University, New York, NY | August 2020 – June 2021

  • Coordinated with students weekly to identify weaknesses, resolved questions with speech, language, and hearing science course material, and developed strategies for academic success.

Teaching Assistant, Brooklyn Literacy Center, New York, NY | September 2019 – June 2020

  • Supported one instructor in facilitating a three-hour class for ESL students, conducted evaluations to identify academic weaknesses, and assisted with implementing lesson plans and activities.

Certifications

Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Certification, State of California | 2023

Education

Master of Science (M.S.) Speech-Language-Hearing Science
University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA | May 2023

GPA: 3.8

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Speech-Language-Hearing Science
Columbia University, New York, NY | June 2019

GPA: 3.6

  • Member, American Sign Language Club, 2017-2019
  • Dean’s List, 2016-2019
  • Magna cum laude

General Resume Formatting Tips

  • Format clearly and consistently: Because of the volume of resumes hiring managers have to review, your resume must be formatted so that readers can easily understand it, even if they’re skimming it. Use an easy-to-read 10- or 12-point font like Calibri or Helvetica and define each section with bold or underlined headings. When describing job responsibilities, be consistent in your phrasing and formatting.
  • Keep it brief: Limiting your resume to a single page can also help ensure that hiring managers don’t pass over it. Include enough specific details about your experience to show employers you’re a good fit for a job, but keep them from overwhelming them with information. For early-career job seekers, a resume should be one page, maximum.
  • Be specific: While you don’t need to completely rewrite your resume for every job, review job postings and adjust your resume to be as specific as possible to the jobs you’re applying for. Highlight the skills, achievements, and educational experiences you have that are most relevant to the position you’re seeking.
  • Utilize keywords: Many companies utilize  Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software to help sort through job candidates and remove non-qualified applicants from the pipeline. While you want to avoid keyword stuffing, which could also be a red flag to ATS programs, adding accurate keywords where appropriate can help ensure your resume passes through the initial round of screening. Carefully reading the job posting can help you identify keywords to include in your resume.
  • Ensure accurate contact information: Include an up-to-date phone number, professional email address, and LinkedIn profile (if you have one) on your resume. Only include other social media links on your resume if you’re applying for a position related to that field. However, ensure your social media profiles accurately represent you as a professional, as potential employers will likely search for you online during the hiring process.
  • Proofread: Before sending your resume, re-read it with fresh eyes to check for any spelling or grammatical errors. Also, be sure you’re referencing the correct job. Have another person read it or use a program like Grammarly to catch any mistakes you may have missed.

Additional Resources