12.2 Resume Formats

The purpose of a résumé is twofold:

  • A résumé is an overview of your skills, experience, and education as they relate to your career objective, and
  • A résumé is a marketing tool that conveys your “personal brand.”

All of us want our résumés to stand out from the stack. However, the best way to create an eye-catching résumé is not through gimmicks or flash, but rather through substance and customization.

Formats: Chronological Résumé vs. Functional (Skills) Résumé

Work histories come in a variety of forms; so do résumés. Although career experts enjoy debating which style is the best, ultimately you must consider which fits your current situation. Which style will allow you to best package your work history, and convey your unique qualifications?

The chronological résumé is a traditional format whose principal section is the “Employment Experience” section. In the chronological résumé’s “Employment Experience” section, jobs are listed in reverse chronological order, and achievements/skills are detailed underneath each position.

In contrast, a functional (skills) résumé, features a well-developed “Skills & Achievements” section, in which skills are organized into categories. The functional resume still includes an “Employment Experience” section, but it is streamlined to include only the basic information about each position held.

A hybrid (or combination) résumé includes a well-developed “Skills & Achievements” section that highlights the candidate’s most important and relevant skills, but it also includes select bullets under each job in the “Employment Experience” section.

The following pages contain examples of chronological, functional (skills), and hybrid résumé formats.

Example of the chronological résumé format


123 Address | City, State 01234

10.1234.5678 | me@gmail.com


AAS:    Portland Community College 2010 | Sign Language Interpreting

BA:       University of Colorado, Boulder 2007 | Psychology

Certifications: Certificate of Interpretation, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf | Certificate of Transliteration, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf



Staff Sign Language Interpreter | St. Joseph’s, Boulder CO | September 2014 – present

Provide Sign Language Interpreting to approximately 15 Deaf adults with pervasive mental illnesses in a Partial Hospitalization setting. Provide interpreting for staff meetings, therapeutic groups, psychiatry sessions, and medication monitoring.

Educational Sign Language Interpreter | Boulder High, Boulder CO | August 2011 – June 2014

Provided Sign Language Interpreting for Deaf and Hard of Hearing High School students in day-to-day activities including academic classes, assemblies, after-school clubs, varsity sports, class trips, and more.

Interpreter Intern | Portland Community College, Portland OR | January 2010 – June 2010

Provided Sign Language Interpreting services for one deaf college student for all of her day-to-day activities including academic classes, after-school clubs, advising sessions, and more.

Customer Service | Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center, Clackamas OR | 2008 – 2010

Provided members with information pertaining to benefits, enrollment, and coverage. Assisted members with benefits-related questions and concerns, resolving problems and supporting members with special needs.



Volunteer | Denver Homeless Family Solutions | January 2016 – present

Prepare and serve meals, collect and sort donations, overnight host.



National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf

National Association of the Deaf

Note that the chronological résumé:

  • Lists both work and education in reverse chronological order (starting with the most recent positions/schools and working backward)
  • Lists job achievements and skills under each position
  • Presents experience under headings by job title, company, location, and dates of employment
  • Allows employers to easily determine work performed at each company

Example of the functional (skills) résumé format


Portland, Oregon



Personal Résumé

M 971.123.4567




Graphic Design major with about 10 years full-service agency experience, from creative marketing material design to print management and coordination with a wide range of clients. A passionate and dedicated designer, capable of handling a large workload and tight deadlines. Working toward B.A degree in Graphic Design.
Print Management Managed 5000 copies MTT company calendar printing process, from finalizing artwork to output file check, paper stock selection, color proofing, print finishing, and delivery deadline coordination.
Event Management Designed and organized a company anniversary cocktail event for a new client – INSTINET Hong Kong, receiving positive feedback from client’s guest and resulting in 3years event management contract with Pink Tiger Media.
Editorial Design with Collaborative Designed and collaborated with Prince of Wales Island International School on production of 16pp program book, received positive feedback from every division of the school and resulted in more business to Priority Resources design team.
Portland State University

Portland Community College

Equator Academy of Art

B.A Degree Graphic Design – Expected enrollment 2018

Associate Transfer Degree – 2016-present

Diploma in Graphic and Multimedia Design – 2004-2006

Senior Graphic Designer
2013 – 2015
Priority Resources – Penang, Malaysia
Editorial design, Web interface design, vendor coordination
Jr. Art Director
Pink Tiger Media – Penang, Malaysia
Team management, Event management, Marketing campaign, Visual communication, vendor coordination
Graphic Designer
Moonlight Media & Design – Penang, Malaysia
Exhibition design, Branding & Identity design, Print design, Product branding, Typography, Event management
Trainee Graphic Designer
Dolphin Printing – Penang, Malaysia
Print production, Packaging, Customer service
Honors Awarded $3,000 tuition scholarships from Portland State University (2017-2018)
Languages English, Bahasa Malay, Chinese: Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkian, Hakka

This resume is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Note that the functional (skills) résumé:

  • Focuses on skills and experience, rather than on chronological work history
  • Groups functions or skills under categories
  • Describes responsibilities, accomplishments, and quantifiable achievements under categories in the skills section
  • Typically opens with a brief summary/profile detailing strengths (one-three sentences)
  • Demonstrates how you match the requirements of your potential job by including relevant achievements and accomplishments

Example of the hybrid résumé format

Anthony Swift

1234 Happy Lane, Hillsboro, Oregon 97006 · anthony.swift@gmail.com ·   971-555-1212



Electrical engineering major with experience in testing, analyzing and developing digital systems. Strong written communication skills and experience working with diverse cultural backgrounds.


Skills and Abilities

Technical Skills

  • Designed and built a pulse and breathing monitor which required over 40 hours of troubleshooting. Involved circuit design and building, and circuit analysis. Required a good knowledge of reading electrical component schematics and basic programming with an Arduino.
  • Proficient in Windows, Mac, Office Suite: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access.

Organization and Professional Development Skills

  • Coordinated finals study sessions with staff of ten math instructors and more than 100 students in attendance.
  • Organized and planned community clean-up events while delegating tasks to a team of 15 students.
  • Planned S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) panel consisting of six professionals from various industries, providing students the opportunity to learn about different career paths.

Instruction Skills

  • Managed foreign teacher organization, communications, and hiring. Introduced innovative teaching methods to staff and created exciting classroom environments for Chinese students.
  • Maintained communications between management and foreign staff using Mandarin Chinese while ensuring high teaching standards were maintained. Trained new foreign teachers as well as overseeing three education centers to verify quality of teaching.



Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, Oregon Tech, (2016 – 2019)
Associates of Science Degree, Portland Community College, GPA: 3.8 President’s list – 7 quarters (2013-2016)
Chinese Language, Beijing Language University, Beijing, China (2009-2010)


Work Experience

Math Tutor, Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon (2014 – 2016)
Gave special instruction to students to help simplify difficult math concepts and walk students through critical thinking process to solve difficult problems. Instructed students working on advanced mathematics courses.

Math Club President, Portland Community College, Portland, Oregon (2014 – 2016)
Organized finals study sessions for the college with over 100 students attending each session. Facilitated events with panels of working professionals giving students access to vital information about pursuing specific majors. Hosted weekly study sessions to help struggling students successfully pass math exams.

Data Entry Specialist, Seamless Systems, Portland, Oregon (2013 – 2014)
Maintained national database of legal documentation with extensive use of Microsoft Access.

Head Foreign Teacher and Trainer, KidsCan!, Beijing, China (2010 – 2012)
Worked with Chinese investors and management to create a training curriculum for the Hubei Province region. Instructed foreign teachers and developed fun team-building activities that created strong bonds between the staff. Mediated between foreign and Chinese staff when language barriers were present.

Anthony Swift Resume is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

There are many reasons to choose one format over another. In brief, the chronological résumé serves candidates with a long/uninterrupted work history, in fields where the company worked for is of paramount importance. On the other hand, the functional résumé serves candidates who are transitioning between fields, candidates shifting from a military to a civilian career, or candidates who have gained skills in a variety of different settings (workplace, academic, volunteer). The hybrid resume offers the best of both worlds.

Because functional (skills) and hybrid résumé formats are the easiest to customize for a number of different potential employers, the following section of this chapter (Key Sections of a Résumé) will emphasize those formats.


This chapter was written by Megan Savage, Portland Community College, and is licensed CC-BY 4.0.


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Technical Writing Copyright © 2017 by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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