Resume Format Guide, Tips, and Templates
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Chronological resume format
The chronological resume (also known as the reverse-chronological format) is the most popular format and the best resume format for experienced candidates. The chronological resume emphasizes your work history section, where you list information about current and past jobs with the most recent job first.
Name: Leighton Evans
Address: San Diego, CA 92111
Phone: H: 555 555 555, C: (555) 555-5555
Goal-oriented warehouse manager with 13 years of distribution industry experience focused on delivering practical strategies to drive productivity, personnel retainment and process efficiency. Excellent skills overseeing warehouse operations, data management and logistics to meet business needs. Well-coordinated and decisive leader with expertise in program management, team building and operational optimization.
Warehouse Manager 11/2018 – Current
Hellmann Worldwide Logistics – San Diego, CA
- Handle day-to-day shipping and receiving for more than 2,500 packages per week and keep documentation and records with 99% accuracy.
- Oversee and motivate a team of 60 employees in the warehouse and increase efficiency by 40%.
- Negotiate with 12 freight companies and receive annual contracts resulting in cost savings of 25%.
Assistant Warehouse Manager 09/2013 – 10/2018
Costco Logistics – San Diego, CA
- Evaluated supplies and product inventory to check for quality and quantity issues and returned inappropriate materials to vendors.
- Managed benefits for an office team of 55 employees and trained new staff on job duties, company policies and safety procedures for rapid onboarding.
- Designed a comprehensive $10,000 office budget and oversaw the upkeep of equipment and the physical condition of the warehouse.
Warehouse Clerk 01/2009 – 08/2013
BAE Systems – San Diego, CA
- Checked over 350 packages and merchandise for damage and notified vendors.
- Loaded approximately 100 boxes each hour into trucks.
- Answered around 50 calls daily, greeted visitors promptly and kept documentation and records accurate and up-to-date with the latest data to prevent errors in processing or delivery.
- Documentation and reporting
- Warehouse logistics
- Shipping and receiving
- MS Office
- NetSuite WMS
- Attention to detail
- Time management and multitasking
- Communication and teamwork
BBA: Business Management
San Diego State University – San Diego, CA
- Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) – 2018
To make the most of this resume format, focus on unique, detailed work achievements that show you’ve made steady and significant progress in your career. You should also highlight key skills that fit the job description. Follow the lead of our chronological sample resume format above and these tips:
Writing tips for the chronological resume format
- Resume summary: In a few sentences, give an overview of your top qualifications for the job, emphasizing career longevity and achievements. See our resume format example above, which emphasizes 13 years of distribution industry experience and expertise in an important area such as database management.
- Work history: This is the heart of a chronological resume format. Don’t list standard, mundane tasks — instead, detail accomplishments that make you stand out.
Work history example:
- Designed a comprehensive $10,000 office budget to handle supply, labor and maintenance requirements.
- Maintained 99% accuracy while updating databases with qualifying data and verifying continuous changes.
- Managed benefits for office team of 55 employees.
- Answered around 50 calls and greeted visitors promptly every day.
- Skills: Feature skills you have that are most relevant to the specific job you’re applying to, including practical skills (such as documentation and reporting) and soft skills (such as customer service or attention to detail).
- Education: Present your highest academic credential (e.g., name of college and degree) and any specific certifications or courses you’ve taken that apply to the job you want.
Functional resume format
When you think of “function,” you think of skills and abilities that fulfill your work duties — in other words, your work functions. The functional resume format thus focuses on all the skills and training you have that fit the job description, like this functional resume format example below:
Name: Tom Larson
Address: City, State, Zip Code
Skilled Dental Hygienist offering four years of experience caring for underserved and uninsured patient populations. Expert in providing preventive and restorative care while working to raise awareness of dental hygiene and oral care. Compassionate and understanding when treating and talking with individuals and families. Patient-focused and quick to build long-term relationships with patients and colleagues.
- Medical office administration
- Sealant application
- Problem-solving skills
- Root planning and scaling expertiseDigital radiographs
- Preventive oral health education
- Infection control and aseptic procedures
Company Name, City, State
Associate of Science Dental Hygiene
Licensed BLS/CPR – 2018
Summary of Qualifications
Good at working with hands in tight spaces and part of the body.
Proven ability to work without direct supervision of a Dentist.
Excellent interpersonal skills; advocate of patient care, being sensitive to them, their emotions, and worries.
Dental Care and Evaluations
- Exposed, developed, and mounted both intraoral and extraoral dental x-rays.
- Maintained accurate medical and dental records by documenting essential patient data in Curve Dental.
- Carried out advanced dental cleaning services, including Gross debridement scaling and root planing in more than eight patients daily.
- Continuous research and studies resulted in screening two to three patients for signs of oral cancer, lesions, or disease by visually and manually inspecting mouth and gums each month.
- Improved and developed knowledge through continuing education courses and seminars.
- Confronted by situations and emergencies and be able to assimilate and start using new information quickly.
- Educated patients on the importance of oral hygiene and demonstrated flossing techniques, brushing, and using mouthwash.
- Actively listened to patients, handled concerns quickly, and escalated significant issues to the Dentist.
- Served 15+ patients in a friendly, efficient manner following outlined steps of service every day.
February 2018 to Current
Company Name, City, State
January 2017 to February 2018
Company Name, City, State
Dental Hygienist Assistant
Are functional resumes bad? Some experts discourage using functional resumes because they’re organized differently from chronological resumes, and thus might confuse recruiters. Our advice: As long as your situation fits the format, a functional format is a good resume format for presenting your qualifications.
In this latest resume format, your skills are broken into important subcategories (e.g., “Technical Skills” or “Soft Skills”). Be sure to tailor your skills sections to fit the skills that the specific job needs.
Your education section should also feature any specialized classes or training that match the job you want. For more tips on this resume format, see below:
Writing tips for the functional resume format
- Resume objective or summary statement: If you’re seeking a job in which you’re expected to define your career goals, start off this professional resume format with an objective statement (also known as a career objective). In it, write two to three sentences explaining your employment goal, along with your best skills and qualifications. If your experience places more value for the role, go with a standard summary statement.
Resume objective example:Recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, seeking a position that uses analytical, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Thoroughly versed in Microsoft Excel functions, including pivot tables, and proficient in Hyperion and Oracle. Brings a collaborative, positive, deadline-focused approach to work.
- Skills: Unlike the other resume formats, a functional resume has several skills sections:
- The “Summary of Qualifications” section describes your best skills and how these skills were put into action. You can refer to internships, projects or extracurricular activities relevant to the job.
- “Professional Skills” or “Relevant Skills” sections are used to explain hard skills further — abilities acquired through practice, education and repetition that are job-specific (such as data management, editing, translation or budgeting).
- Make sure to also feature “soft” skills: intangible traits that lead to better job performance, such as organizational skills, problem-solving or interpersonal skills.
- Work history: Keep this section concise, listing any previous positions or professional experiences, names of the companies you’ve worked for and your dates of employment, as seen in our resume format example above. If you don’t have formal work experience, include any relevant internships, volunteer work or extracurricular activities.
- Education: In addition to your academic credentials, supply details about relevant additional training or certifications (e.g., a certification in Adobe Creative Suite for graphic design work) to complete this resume format.
Combination resume format
The combination (or hybrid) resume format, as its name suggests, combines elements of both the chronological and functional resume formats, marrying a meaty skills section with details on work achievements. Check out the sample resume format below and use it as inspiration:
Name: Kaia Williams
Address: Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Phone: 555 555 555, (555) 555-5555
Professional business analyst with advanced knowledge of business
operations, data analysis, portfolio asset management systems and skill
in driving positive outcomes. Exceptional organizational, project
management and leadership skills. Adaptable assessor of business
health and product success with expertise in optimizing solutions for
changing industry landscapes.
- Well-versed in new market identification and functional analysis methodologies.
- Vast knowledge of business best practices and regulatory standards.
- Diligent and detail-oriented with strong communication and task prioritization skills.
Business Analyst, 06/2021 to Current
UPMC – Pittsburgh, PA
- Work with a team of 12 and analyze key aspects of a business to evaluate factors driving results and summarized them into quarterly presentations.
- Perform competitor benchmarking analysis to identify manufacturing savings opportunities and potential product enhancements boosting 35% of revenue.
- Derive conceptual designs from business objectives to deliver software and applications according to specifications for usability, performance and functionality.
Assistant Operations Analyst, 09/2017 to 05/2021
Dice – Pittsburgh, PA
- Designed three plans to improve operations and suggested changes to systems for the overall organization and 150 team members.
- Scanned system for frequent technical issues, employing troubleshooting techniques for resolution and generated monthly reports of findings to help management with making key decisions.
- Drove operational improvements which resulted in savings and improved 50% of profit margins.
Junior Data Analyst, 06/2014 to 08/2017
UPMC – Pittsburgh, PA
- Installed 60% of system updates to address vulnerabilities and reduce security issues.
- Synthesized current data to produce monthly reports and polished presentations, highlighting ROI estimations, findings and recommending changes.
- Improved systems with the addition of new features and infrastructure and resolved 75% of issues regarding the integrity of data flow into databases.
- Technical design documentation
- Strategic planning
- Industry trend analysis
- BI tool and system design
- Critical thinking
- Decision making
MBA, Business Administration & Business Analytics, 06/2019
University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, PA
Bachelor of Science, Business, 06/2014
University of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, PA
- Business Administration in Business Information Systems
The combination resume format can work for a variety of circumstances. If you have a few years of experience in a particular field and are applying for a higher-level job, this is the best resume format to feature career progression and key skills. It’s also a good option if you’re switching careers but can feature “transferable” achievements and skills from previous jobs.
Writing tips for the combination resume format
- Summary: Provide a two- to three-sentence summary of your best skills and work experiences. If you’re coming from a different field, this is also your opportunity to explain how your skills and experiences from previous positions fit your new career path.
- Skills: A combination resume format gives you the option of splitting your skills into two sections: a summary of qualifications and a key skills section. In your summary of qualifications, describe your prime abilities, referencing how you’ve used them in previous jobs. Your key skills section will focus on specific abilities that address the requirements from the specific job.
Summary of qualifications example:
- Ability to synthesize and relate program information in an effective, positive way.
- Proficient at using databases and spreadsheets and performing office management.
- Efficiently uses software and CMHC to achieve successful outcomes.
- Understands cognitive behavioral therapy, theories of addiction and dynamics related to criminogenic risk factors.
Key skills example:
- Referrals and networking
- Case management
- Crisis intervention
- Life skills development
- Critical thinking
- Work history: As with the chronological resume format, focus on unique achievements from previous jobs, quantifying your results whenever possible (e.g., “Improved on accounting processes, gaining $4 million for the company in the last fiscal year”). Zero in on accomplishments that can be applied to your new job or career (e.g., highlight your mathematics skills and attention to detail from an accountant job if you’re applying for a statistician position).
- Education: Present your top academic achievements (e.g., high school diploma or graduate degree) and additional training that has a bearing on the job you want (e.g., first aid and CPR training for a medical assistant job).
Resume formats FAQ
What should a resume look like?
Ideally, a resume should be one to two pages in length and contain details about your top skills and qualifications, achievements from current and previous jobs, and information about your educational background — all laid out in an easy-to-follow, organized document.
Just follow the resume examples on this page or use our Resume Builder to create a resume that not only looks like a resume should but also provides all the key information employers want.
What should I include in my skills section in my resume?
A resume skills section should display at least five abilities or attributes relevant to the job. Employers want to see hard skills and soft skills, so include a mix of both types. If you are applying for your first job, highlight your transferable skills, such as interpersonal and time management skills.
What is the correct resume format for a college student?
The functional resume format is a good choice for students and recent graduates with little to no work experience. However, if you’ve had part-time jobs, volunteer work or internships that apply to the job you want, or taken a relevant class, note these experiences in your work history or education sections. This also applies to high school students looking for their first job.
What is the best resume format for a job seeker with experience?
The chronological resume format is best for experienced job seekers. This format focuses on your work history, so you can use the bulk of the page to showcase your past duties and accomplishments. Hiring managers will be particularly interested in specific professional milestones you’ve achieved over the years, so make sure you have an updated resume format and include them in your work history section.
What is the best resume format for 2023?
The reverse-chronological job resume format is the most popular resume format in 2023. It’s very easy to read and skim through, as the information is organized in a single column. However, despite this format being the most common, it doesn’t mean it will be the best resume format for you.
The chronological resume places a big emphasis on work experience, so any gaps or lack of work experience will be very evident. Consider the functional resume format or the combination resume if they might help you better present your qualifications.
Which resume format is best for ATS systems?
Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes before humans read them; it’s estimated that at least 98% of Fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems, such as Workday and Taleo. In general, chronological and combination resume formats can be read by ATS with little difficulty.
However, ATS systems continue to grow more sophisticated and can parse resumes in any format — as long as you use the right template. All the examples and templates on our site are professionally designed with these systems in mind, so you don’t have to worry about your resume not making it to the recruiter’s hands.
What is the most common resume format?
The most common resume format is the chronological resume format. This format is also known as the reverse-chronological resume format because work history is written from most recent to backward. It emphasizes work history, so recruiters and hiring managers can see a job applicant’s career progression right away.
While the most popular, you might want to steer away from using the reverse-chronological resume format if you have no experience, are changing careers or have a significant gap between jobs. For these situations, there are other formats from which to choose.
What resume format do employers prefer?
Employers prefer resume formats that show a job applicant’s qualifications clearly, so use a format that highlights what you want them to see. For example, if you are applying for your first job, a functional resume format will showcase your skills and if you have been working in the same profession for more than 10 years or want to move up in your career, then a combination resume is a great choice.
Do resume formats work differently in different industries?
Not necessarily. A resume format establishes how your resume will be organized and what information will be highlighted. For example, the chronological resume format stresses career progression and work experience, so the work history section is front and center. On the other hand, a functional resume format focuses on skills and what you can do, so it’s ideal for first-time job seekers and people changing fields.
That being said, if you’re a candidate with years of experience in one industry, but your potential employer places a bigger emphasis on skills rather than work history, you might want to consider a functional or combination resume format. It all boils down to what you want the employer to know about you and your abilities.
Should I use a resume format or a CV format?
Some jobs in fields such as education, science or entertainment may prefer the CV format and they’ll usually state it in the job description. A CV or curriculum vitae is a comprehensive document that details your top skills and complete work history while providing more detail on your academic background and related accomplishments (such as awards and publications) that are relevant to the job.
How should I format my work experience on my resume?
No matter which resume format you choose, always format your work experience section in reverse-chronological order. That means start from your current or most recent job and work your way backwards up to 10 years. Include the name of the company you worked for, the location, years you worked there and your title. Our resume templates ensure your work history section is in the correct format.
Does resume format matter?
Yes, resume format definitely matters. A resume format determines the way your resume is organized and how your information is featured. Do you want your resume to focus on your work experience or do you want it to focus on your skills?
Resume formats aren’t one-size-fits-all. So use our handy guide to check which format will work best for your situation and choose accordingly to create the best resume.