Choosing the Right Layout for Your Resume
Print this page.Print
Resume Resources

Chronological Resume Layout

The chronological resume is designed to highlight progressive career growth and advancement. It is easy to read and can be quickly scanned for employment history. For these reasons, it is the most accepted layout among hiring authorities. In fact, many even prefer and/or expect it.

The chronological resume is most suitable when:

  • You have a steady and consistent employment history with no major gaps in employment and have not changed career tracks recently.
  • Your employment history has been one of progressively responsible positions.
  • Your titles have been impressive and/or you have been recently employed at well-known companies.
  • Your major accomplishments have been achieved in your most recent positions.
  • You are seeking a career in a field where this layout is expected.

Resume Sample - Chronological Layout 

Functional Resume Layout

The functional resume highlights key skills, accomplishments, and qualifications at the top of the resume, regardless of where they have occurred in your career. Your employment history is de-emphasized by placing it toward the bottom of your resume and by documenting a simple listing rather than details of each position. In this way, the functional resume firmly places the focus on what you have accomplished rather than when or where it was achieved.
Unfortunately, many hiring authorities don’t like this layout, as it is generally believed that the functional resume is used to hide some deficiency in your career history.

Despite this, the functional layout can be very effective when:

  • Most of your achievements and accomplishments occurred in a past position.
  • You have recently graduated from high school or college.
  • You have been out of the job market for some time and are trying to re-enter.
  • You are an older worker and want to de-emphasize age.
  • You have held a variety of unconnected positions.
  • You are changing career tracks.
  • You are returning to a previous line of work.

Resume Sample - Functional Layout

Combination Resume Layout

The combination layout combines the benefits of both the chronological and the functional layouts. By beginning with a summary (functional layout) of your most impressive qualifications, skills, abilities, and accomplishments, it immediately places the emphasis where you want it. This is followed by an employment history section (chronological layout) which supports the statements made in your summary.

The combination layout is accepted by hiring authorities and should be used when:

  • You have a steady and progressive employment history.
  • You are applying for a position for which the chronological resume is expected but you also want to highlight qualifications from earlier positions.
  • You are writing a targeted resume and need an effective way to match your skills to the job requirements.

Resume Sample - Combination Layout

Targeted Resume Layout

A targeted resume is used to focus your resume toward a specific career objective, performed in a specific industry, and for a specific company. The content of a targeted resume is written to highlight the skills, qualifications, and experience that match the requirements of your job target.

You may want to consider writing a targeted resume when:

  • You know the title of the position you are interested in and have a good idea of the qualifications that will be required for entry into this position.
  • You are sending your resume in response to an employment advertisement.
  • You are writing or revising your resume to apply to a specific company.
  • You have several different specific career objectives and want a different resume for each one.