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The 3 Resume Formats
The first major decision when writing your resume is deciding on a resume format. Here’s a quick rundown of the three resume formats and their strong points:
Probably the most popular resume format, a chronological resume is best suited for job seekers who have years of experience in their field. The layout accommodates an extensive job history section, while also emphasizing in-demand skills.
Highlighting skills and training, this format is ideal for first-time job seekers or recent graduates who may lack professional experience, but can point to qualifications, abilities and extracurricular activities that show they have what it takes to succeed.
A combination resume features a balanced mix of work history and skills. This format works well if you have a few years of experience, or are switching careers and can feature relevant experiences and skills from other jobs.
The 5 major sections of a Resume
To make sure your resume looks its best, be sure to address these five major sections:
- Contact information: No need for a full mailing address here — just your name, a professional email address, and your city and state of residence are needed. If you have a portfolio website or online job networking profile, you can include those here too.
- Summary: In just a few sentences, explain your top abilities and work experiences so far. Think of this section as an “elevator pitch” that should communicate your value and strengths as an employee, and compel an employer to keep reading.
- Skills: To fill out this section, find required skills from the job posting, match them to your own abilities, and list them in bullet points. Be sure to present a mix of practical or technical skills (e.g. specific software programs, or tasks that require training) as well as intangible (or “soft”) skills that are crucial for the job, such as attention to detail, or being a good team player. Feature about 8-10 skills, but for jobs requiring an extensive skill set, you can even divide this section into subcategories (e.g., “Hard Skills” and “Soft Skills”).
- Work experience: In reverse-chronological order (most recent job first), list your job title and company for current and previous positions, with bullet points under each entry highlighting your most notable job achievements. Remember, examples of successful projects and contributions make a bigger impression than just simply listing daily tasks. Keep each entry in this section concise and punchy, using active verbs (e.g., “managed” or “led”) and numbers (e.g., “Improved company efficiency by 50%” or “managed team of 15 junior employees”) to energize your accomplishments.
- Education: Present your most advanced education credentials (e.g., college degree or high school diploma) in reverse-chronological order, along with the name of the institution where you earned your degree. If you’ve taken additional training in areas that are related to the job you’re applying for (e.g., certification in software that the job uses), list these courses here as well.
For more advice on how to write each section of your resume, visit our How to Write a Resume section.
Top Resume Examples
There’s nothing like a good example to show you the right way to do something. Use these resume examples in popular job fields as a guide for putting together your own professional resume. For even more examples covering a wide range of industries, visit our Resume Examples section.