Resume Writing Styles

resume3Resume Writing Styles

There are several styles of resumes along with numerous variations. Your experience and the kind of job you are applying for will help to determine the style of resumeyou use. The two basic styles are: Chronological Resumes and Functional Skills Resumes. Some of the variations include the main themes of business, academic, general, student, standard, professional, or engineering.


A Chronological Resume lists employment and employment-related experiences in reverse chronological order (the most recent experience first). It includes some descriptive text about each position, usually described in about one paragraph. This type of resume offers several advantages: it is widely accepted, they are easy to read, and they show a clear pattern of your development. The disadvantages include: it does not highlight your major accomplishment(s), nor do they effectively show your other skills.

The chronological resume is a good format for those with a consistent employment history, no gaps in employment, and whose past employment experiences are related to their current employment goals. It effectively showcases a steady work record with increasing upward responsibilities. This may not be the best for new graduates, individuals with job gaps, or persons changing careers.


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The functional resume highlights skills, experiences, and accomplishments without identifying specific dates, names, and places. This format is organised by functions or skills, which advertise the specific qualifications needed for an occupation. This resume works well for people changing careers. It is also effective for those re-entering the workforce, first-time job seekers, and when highlighting experiences that occurred in the distant past. There is no chronological listing of employment. Consequently, some employers do not like this format because they suspect that the person may be trying to hide something.

Functional Skills Resumes highlight your skills and accomplishments rather than providing a chronological record of your job history. Your accomplishments and skills are listed at the beginning. Your job history is listed at the end of the resume. This type of resume allows you to call attention to your achievements. The major disadvantage is that employers may find it difficult to follow your work experience.


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Many people discover that a combination of these two kinds of resumes is the best way to go. You may want to try several different types of combinations before settling upon a final design. The combination resume brings together the best of both the chronological and functional resumes. It features a functional section that highlights skills, accomplishments, and experiences. It also includes a chronological listing of employment, education, and employment-related experiences. This is a very effective format for many job seekers. The best chronological resume is enhanced with a section highlighting skills, accomplishments, and experiences. The best functional resume is strengthened with a chronological listing of employment experiences.

Other Variants

(i) Keyword 
The keyword resume is a variation that adds a listing of skills to the beginning of any standard resume format. Placing critical occupational skills as keywords at the beginning adds impact to the resume and helps capture the reader’s attention. This variation is effective for all career fields and levels of skill. It is a very effective strategy for creating scannable resumes.

(ii) Targeted

More of a strategy than a style, the targeted resume directs skills and experience to the specific needs of an employer.


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