Resume Guidelines for Students

There are several resume formats. Each has advantages and disadvantages depending upon your purpose and audience. The basic resume types include chronological, functional, and combination types. Each will be explained below.

The Chronological Resume

The Chronological resume is the most traditional and standard format. The word *Chronology* means "time", and what you'll be doing in a chronological resume is summarizing your background by time period. Chronological resumes are relatively easy to write. You can simply and effectively highlight a stable employment history in a particular field. Employers find these resumes useful outlines for discussing your past employment record during the interview. The disadvantages of the chronological format are particularly evident for individuals changing or entering careers. Employment gaps stand out sharply. The format may emphasize too many unrelated job experiences. Your strongest competencies are not emphasized to your advantage. Overall, this format does not provide the best presentation of your background and abilities if you are trying to enter a new occupation. If you wish to highlight your skills and/or multi-faceted background, this resume style does offer the format.

Functional Resumes

The functional resume tends to be the logical opposite of the chronological resume. It de-emphasizes dates, positions and responsibilities and emphasizes qualifications, skills and related accomplishments. Beginning with a functional objective, it organizes skills and functional categories. You may wish to consider the functional version if:

  1. you have large gaps of employment in your work history.
  2. you have a history as a job hopper (never staying very long on one job).
  3. you have acquired skills and abilities that cannot be tied to any particular jobs you've had.
  4. you have skills in distinctly different areas.

A functional resume differs from the chronological only in the way your employment history is handled. Instead of describing each individual job you've had and telling exactly how long you held it, you will look at those jobs as a whole and tell an employer what you can do now.

Combination Resumes

The combination resume combines the best elements of the chronological and functional formats. Although similar to the functional resume in describing and explaining experience, this format includes a brief employment history section. Employment history is secondary to telling the employer what you can do now as in the functional resume, valuable experience garnered in many places may be consolidated and presented as one strong skill. Gaps of unemployment become much less prominent.

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