Career Services

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Resume Formats

Chronological Format

  • This is the preferred resume format of many employers. It is the format nearly all recent graduates will use.  In this format, you list and describe your experiences within each resume category (i.e., employment, volunteer activities, education) in reverse chronological order.
  • View sample of chronological resume.
  • Use this format if:
    • Your most recent education or work experience is related to your career goal
    • Your work history shows a logical progression toward your current career objective
    • You have a stable work history with few or no gaps.

Functional Format

  • This format showcases what you can do, as opposed to where and when you did it. Categories on a functional resume are skill-based and might include such categories as Sales, Writing, Financial Planning, Project Management, or Customer Service.  The skills listed should be related to the skills required for the opportunity you are pursuing. Within each of these skills categories, you provide details about experiences and accomplishments demonstrating your abilities in the categories.  Many recommend you adapt this format by including a brief, chronological listing of employment experiences on the resume, as most employers want this information. 
  • View sample of a functional resume.
  • Use this format if
    • You have limited direct experience in your chosen field
    • Your skills have been acquired primarily through study
    • You would rather de-emphasize your most recent experience, which is not so relevant to the opportunity you are seeking.
    • Your work history is inconsistent
    • You are changing careers.

Scannable

This format prepares your resume for the eye of a computer scanner rather than a human. Many large and mid-sized organizations use scanners for all submitted resumes and cover letters. This puts all job applicants into a database which can be sorted on key words for a specific job opening. "Hits" for key words can come from any part of your correspondence and can include words such as BS/BA, leadership, customer service, teamwork, marine biology, assessment, MBA or computer terms such as Excel, Windows, PageMaker, desktop publishing, database management, and more.  Use the language of your field and incorporate words from the job posting to increase your odds of matching keyword. Some tips for preparing a scannable resume appear below:

  • Keep the layout simple--no headers, columns, or text boxes.
  • Don't use templates.
  • Avoid fancy typefaces, underlined text, shading, graphics, type under 12 point font.
  • Use white or off-white 8-1/2" x 11" paper if submitting a hard copy, as these colors scan the easiest.
  • Use key words of the field and specific words from the posting.
  • For cut-and-paste human resource software, it is helpful to save a text version of your resume for insertion into the software.