Types of Resumes

When you have drafted what you want to say in clear, concise, and dynamic wording (type directly into your own version of our downloadable Resume Worksheet), you will have to decide how to best organize it on the page. This will best be accomplished through trial and error, so do not hesitate to try several formats.

A note about sample resumes: while they can be a helpful for getting ideas about what format might work best for your, remember that many students are also referring to these same samples. It is important not to copy wording from these resumes (plagiarism is an infraction of Wesleyan's honor code). We encourage you to be original in the wording and design of your resume.

Chronological | Functional | Scannable

Chronological Resume

In this approach, you list your various experiences in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent position. However, it is important to find a layout in which dates do not dominate the page. Dates cannot sell your abilities and quite often take up room better devoted to a description of your experience. If you opt for a chronological format, be certain it is the best way of presenting your abilities.

Functional Resume

A functional resume emphasizes abilities or categories of skill or experience (rather than positions). Use headings which are most relevant to the job you are apply for. The following are some commonly used headings: Management; Marketing; Technology; Insurance; Administration; Advertising; Public Relations; Communications; Education; Writing/Editing; Teaching; Research, etc.

In a functional resume, the education and experience sections are arranged in order of importance, regardless of chronological sequence. The most important experience is described first and most fully. Less detail is needed as the significance of the experience diminishes. The strengths of the functional approach are many. It encourages you to prioritize your skills. If your most recent experience has been least meaningful or if you have spent several summers at similar jobs, you can control the way they appear on your resume. This format emphasizes skills and major accomplishments and allows you to organize them in an order that most supports your career objectives and interests (for example, see resume # 6).

The following are examples of when a functional resume is most suitable: - changing career paths - lack of direct experience for a job opening - possessing only seasonal or temporary work experience or having gaps between employment experiences - having a variety of unrelated work experiences.

Scannable Resume

Resume databases enable employers to identify candidates for their openings without spending hundreds of hours weeding through stacks of resumes. At many companies, technology has replaced humans in the initial screening; therefore, it may be necessary to design an additional resume that will not be screened out by the computer. Unlike people, who may be impressed by format, language, personal qualities, and the like, computers are strictly objective. Selection through a database is most often determined by skills and experience.

While paper resumes can seize the reader's attention with action verbs, nouns are emphasized in scannable resumes since nouns are most often used for keyword searches. The process is similar to keyword searches available on library systems. The more keywords you use, the more likely that your resume will be chosen. Often, resumes are ranked based on the number of matches.

When determining the format of your scannable resume, it's important to remember that people will be reading your resume after the initial screening. An effective scannable resume includes a summary of keywords near the beginning of the document. The remainder of the resume may be any format you choose.

To help you choose keywords, develop a list of job and industry jargon or buzzwords. When developing this list, read literature about the industry, job and organization; conduct informational interviews; and use words that appear in the job description.

Tips for writing scannable resumes:

  • Not all scanners read all fonts, so use a common font and a sans serif typeface such as Helvetica, Futura, Univers, Optima, or ITC Avante Garde Gothic.
  • Use font size 10 to 14 points.
  • Avoid italics, graphing, shading, horizontal and vertical lines.
  • Use a laser printer.
  • Always send originals.
  • Put your name on the first line, alone, with the address underneath.
  • Do not fold your resume.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Include a cover letter.