Writing a Resume > Resume Formats

There are many different types of resume formats used in today's marketplace, each offering advantages and disadvantages. The type which you choose will depend in part on what your career goals are. In selecting an appropriate format, focus on presenting your experience most effectively and highlighting the aspects of your background most relevant to the kind of position you are seeking.

The Chronological format

The chronological format is the most frequently used and most accepted resume style. It lists work experience in reverse chronological order, with an emphasis on responsibilities, skills, and accomplishments.

Advantages: Employers are most familiar with this format, and often prefer to see experiences listed with skills used and dates performed.

Disadvantages: This format displays any gaps in employment. The Functional resume may be a better choice for career changes or job applicants who have inconsistent work histories.

The Functional format

The functional resume format is designed to stress the qualifications and skills of the job seeker, with less emphasis on specific employers and dates. Your experience is listed under designated skill/functional areas and tailored towards your career goal. If you are reentering the work force, changing careers, have little or unrelated work experience, this format allows you to present your qualifications and skills in a more effective manner.

Advantages: This format allows you to highlight related and transferable skills, to emphasize professional growth and minimize unrelated experience, as well as to camouflage employment gaps.

Disadvantages: Some employers will be suspicious of skills listed separately from positions. In addition, when you want to highlight employers that you have worked for that have been highly prestigious, this format is not very useful.

The Hybrid Resume

The hybrid resume format is increasingly being used by individuals who want to emphasize a particular skill base or unique capabilities. This format combines a functional style listing of technical skills or special abilities followed by a listing of work history and responsibilities similar to a chronological resume.

Advantages: Hybrid resumes allow you to highlight unique skills and capabilities that would be of interest to an employer, while also clearly stating company names, job titles, and dates.

Disadvantages: Unless a hybrid resume is succinctly written, it can be lengthy and difficult to read. This format is also not useful if you are looking for a position in a highly traditional field or if you skill base is weak or outdated.


Typically, resumes are scanned (for approximately 30 seconds) before they are read, therefore, you must design your resume in an easy-to-read manner which is visually pleasing to the potential employer:

  • Your resume should be one 8 1/2" x 11" page unless you have enough professional experience to warrant a second page. If using more than one page be sure your name and "page 2" appear at the top of the second page. Resumes should never be longer than two pages.
  • Resumes should be visually appealing and easy to scan. Use plenty of white space between lines and make margins at least one inch wide.
  • In order to emphasize particular items you may indent, use bullets (!), underline, CAPITALIZE, use Boldface Type.

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