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What Type of Resume Format is Best for You?

When you’re job searching, a resume is one of the most important documents you can have. A good one can ensure that you move on to the next step: The interview. One that doesn’t fit the bill can be tossed out, so you never progress.

Job seekers should know that there are a few different types of resume formats, including chronological, functional and combination. Here’s an overview of each, with advice on how to choose which is best for you.


The chronological resume is the type most people know best. It lists your jobs chronologically, starting with the most recent placed first. The years are usually broken out in a separate column, with the description of skills and duties aligned with the years.

A chronological resume has several advantages. First, it is clear and easy to skim. For that reason, human resources professionals often prefer this type of resume.

Second, and of most importance to the job seeker, it shows job progression. If you work in information technology, for example, it may show that you are now a supervisor in the IT department but started out as an assistant on a Help Desk 10 years ago. That’s a signal to HR: Not only are you skilled in management and IT, but you were able to successfully navigate increasing responsibilities and duties.

Third, because it is the most common type of resume, you don’t need to add a summary or objectives at the top of the resume. With the other types, as we shall see, these are often necessary.


A functional resume lists your skills and experience not by chronological order, but by skill type or function. They are particularly well-suited to job seekers looking to change careers or who have gaps in their employment history. A chronological resume will reveal the latter very clearly, which may prompt questions from HR.

In a functional resume, job seekers need to break out their skills and experiences by function. Let’s say, for example, you work in IT in a managerial role, but want to move to a writing role that utilizes your knowledge of software development.

The resume should include an overall “skills” category. Underneath it, you may place subcategories itemizing skills in each of your functional areas: “Informational Technology,” “Writing,” “Supervisory,” and “Software Development.”

It’s very important to include a short “Objectives” paragraph at the top of a functional resume, making clear you are seeking to utilize one or several set(s) of skills in a career change from your current position. HR and the hiring managers need to know you are seeking a career change so they can read your resume in that light.

It’s also a good idea to include a short summary of your qualifications for the new role.


A combination resume blends the features of a chronological resume and a functional resume. It allows job seekers to show the job progression and steady work history of a chronological style, but also to highlight specific skill sets that are important to the position.

This type of resume is also good for people seeking to change careers or to highlight their skills and minimize gaps in work history.

Many combination resumes have a “Skills” category briefly itemizing the skills most important to the position applied for, and then a “Job History” or “Experience” category that gives the rundown of each job held, in reverse chronological order.

It’s a good idea to have an “Objectives” and “Summary” at the top of this type of resume, as well.

When choosing a style of resume, be sure to pick the one that most suits your work history and job-search objectives. To learn how Nesco Resource can help you with your resume, contact a staffing professional today.

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