The purpose of a resumé is to draw an employer's attention to your most relevant skills and accomplishments for a work opportunity and get invited to an interview. The type of resumé you use depends on your work history and the kind of work you’re applying for. Follow the guidelines below to decide which type of resumé to use.
There are 3 basic types of resumés:
- A chronological resumé lists your work, education and training history in chronological order from most recent to oldest.
- A functional resumé highlights your skills and abilities, rather than your work history. It organizes your accomplishments in skill categories directly related to the job you’re applying for.
- A combination resumé organizes your accomplishments in skill categories to show an employer what you would bring to the job, and then briefly outlines your work history.
Use the resumé type that highlights your most impressive and relevant qualifications. For example, if you’re applying for a position that’s similar to the job you have now, a chronological resumé may be the best way to show your related experience. However, if you’re planning to change careers or industries, a functional or a combination resumé will emphasize your relevant skills.
You can also ask employers what type of resumé they prefer. Call or email the organization’s human resources office or hiring manager.
Chronological resumé examples
A chronological resumé is the type most employers are familiar with. It may be easier to write than the other types. Use the following outline and examples to plan your own version:
- Chronological Resumé Outline
- Chronological Resumé Example 1 (PDF)—an experienced teacher
- Chronological Resumé Example 2 (PDF) —a high school graduate with paid work experience.
Functional resumé examples
A functional resumé minimizes gaps in employment history, but it can be challenging to write. Use the following outline and examples to plan your own version:
- Functional Resumé Outline
- Functional Resumé Example 1 (PDF)—a career changer
- Functional Resumé Example 2 (PDF)—a volunteer looking for paid employment.
For more information about functional resumés, see The Functional Resumé—Focus on What You Can Do.
Combination resumé examples
If your experience is not directly related to the job you’re applying for, use a combination resumé to draw attention to your skills and what you can do. Use the following outline and examples to plan your own version:
- Combination Resumé Outline
- Combination Resumé Example 1 (PDF)—an experienced worker returning to the workforce after a long absence
- Combination Resumé Example 2 (PDF)—an experienced worker who recently lost a job.
Choose the resumé that highlights your qualifications
The best resumé type to use is one that presents your qualifications most effectively for the work you want. Whichever type of resumé you choose, make sure your resumé is concise, interesting to look at and easy to read. That’s the kind of resumé most likely to get you an interview.