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Resume types

You have options for how you structure your resume.

Resumes can be chronological, functional, or a combination of the two. So how do you know which one is right for you? It depends on your situation. 

  • Chronological is the most common type of resume. It lists your work history, with the most recent positions shown first. Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it's easy to see what jobs you have held and when you worked at them. This approach works well when you have an extensive work history in the same field as the position for which you are applying. Chronological, however, does not work well when you are switching careers or have extensive gaps in your work history. The lack of relevant experience and time out of the workforce will be front and center and may quickly move your resume out of consideration.
  • A functional or skills resume can be helpful when you are starting a new career. It focuses on your background and skills rather than your work history. Functional resumes have a written summary of qualifications and accomplishments.
  • A combination resume combines the two. It lists skills first and follows with work history. In most cases, including your employment history is valuable, and without it, your resume may be rejected by applicant tracking systems, used by many employers for their initial screening of applications. 

All resumes should be targeted. This means that you customize your resume to highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the available position. To create a targeted resume, you take your experience, credentials, and education that best match the job posting you are applying for and include them in the Summary of Qualifications section at the top of your resume. Or you can edit your resume so your skills and experience are as close a match as possible to the job description.  You can also make sure your resume includes the keywords used in the job posting.