Tips for Choosing the Best Resume Type

Your resume is a self-marketing tool that outlines your skills and experiences so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to their organization. The goal of an effective resume is to highlight and summarize your qualifications. When crafting a resume, it is important to decide what you want to emphasize so you can choose the best resume type to fit your needs. Continue below for explanations of each resume type.

Chronological Resume
This is the most popular and recognizable type and is generally preferred by employers. The chronological resume is experience-focused with jobs listed in reverse chronological order. The advantages of this resume type are that it’s a widely used format, it has a logical flow, it’s easy to prepare and read, and it showcases growth and responsibility. This type of resume is best if you have a steady work history. However, some disadvantages of the chronological resume include emphasis in employment gaps, lack of work history, frequent job changes, and lack of related experience and career changes. It will emphasize your employment history but not necessarily your skill development.

Functional Resume
A functional resume emphasizes your skills, capabilities, and accomplishments in terms of skillsets over employment history. The functional resume helps to shift the emphasis away from positions and titles that do not support your job goal and is often used by career changers and re-entry or entry-level job seekers. Some advantages of this type include that is organizes a variety of experience, and it disguises gaps in employment history and short-term jobs. However, it can be viewed with suspicion by employers because of the lack of information about specific employers and dates.

Combination Resume
This type of resume highlights your most relevant skills and accomplishments, downplays employment history in less relevant jobs, combines the skills developed in a variety of jobs and activities, and minimizes drawbacks like employment gaps and absences of directly related experiences. The combination resume is best suited for career changers, individuals reentering the job market after an absence, those who have grown in their skillset, or someone pursuing the same or similar work as they have in the past. However, this type of resume can be confusing if it is not organized well. Other disadvantages of this type of resume include an understatement of job tasks and responsibilities, and it requires more effort and creativity to prepare.

Federal Resume
This is distinctly different from a private sector resume. The federal resume is highly detailed, chronological, and usually requires more personal information than the chronological resume. Your federal resume must be in the USAJOBs.gov format, and it must demonstrate that you have one year of specialized experience at the lower grade level plus the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the position.

As you can see, there are a number of resume types, but once you identify the one that’s right for you and your job search, you can get started putting together a document that will set you up for success! As always, keep in mind that UMUC Career Services is available to help you plan and achieve your career goals. Visit CareerQuest to get started using the career tools available to you, or to set up an appointment with a UMUC Career Advising Specialist.

Rhoda Smackum is a career advising specialist for Career Services and Alumni Relations at University of Maryland University College. She has approximately 28,000 hours of work experience in the field of career development. Ms. Smackum enjoys working collaboratively, in partnership with students and alumni to identify career issues, match values with career choices and obtain meaningful work. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Bowie State University and a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the University of Maryland College Park. She is a Certified Master of Career Services (CMCS) and an Associate Certified Career Coach.