What is a Resume?

A resume is a document that provides a summary of your educational and professional qualifications. Resumes should be targeted toward the field and/or position for which you intend to apply. As such, it is possible to have more than one version of your resume, each version being more specifically targeted to specific positions.

Types of Resumes

There are four main types of resumes: Chronological, Functional, Combination, and Targeted.

  • Chronological: the most common type of resumes. It lists employment and educational experiences by date in reverse order, with the most recent education and work experience being listed first. This resume format is most commonly used by people who have no large employment gaps and whose experiences coincide chronologically with the position for which they are applying.
  • Functional: focuses on your skills and abilities instead of work history. It is often used by people with gaps in employment, students and recent graduates with limited work experience, and people who have changed careers or have varied work/industry work experiences.
  • Combination: combines skills and abilities with work experience in chronological order.
  • Targeted:  specifically tailored to the position for which you are applying. All details included on the resume will be directly related to the job description or requirements for the position.

Parts of a resume

An employer will typically review your resume between 30-45 seconds. Dividing your resume into sections trains the reader on how to read your resume quickly. Subheadings and formatting further facilitate this. Below is a list of common subheadings. A resume is a customized document and you may choose to use the examples below or create your own.

  • Header: Includes your name and contact information – mailing address (optional), email address, phone number, professional website link, Skype address etc. This section is very important as this provides information for an employer to contact you. Your name should stand out. The use of a larger font and bolding can facilitate this. Ensure that your email address is professional. It is recommended that you use a simple email address that includes your first and last name. Including an online portfolio link or LinkedIn profile address is also acceptable and may set you apart from other candidates. Be sure that you include your header on all documents submitted with an application packet. That allows your documents to be easily identified if they become separated.
  • Objective: A targeted sentence or two that states the position you’re applying for and the company to which you’re applying.
  • Professional Summary: an overview of your most valuable skills placed at the top of your resume for the purpose of attracting the employer’s attention and prompting him/her to continue to other sections of your resume.
  • Education: A listing of your educational accomplishments, including achievements acquired and those in progress. This section needs to detail degree(s) achieved (official degree title(s)), dates of completion or anticipated dates of completion, institution(s) from which they were obtained, and the location (city/state/country) of the institution. You may also add your GPA in this section if it is impressive, as well as industry-related certification, training, and licenses with expiration dates.  As a general rule, high school and elementary school education are not included on a traditional resume, especially if you have achieved or are pursuing a college degree.
  • Professional/Work experience: This section allows you to detail your professional work experiences. The title may be adjusted to reflect skills and abilities for functional resumes. It is important that this section includes four key pieces of information for all recorded work experiences: title of position held, company where position was held, location of the company (city/state/country), and dates when the position was held. It’s also important that this information is presented in a manner that makes it very easy for the employer to locate, especially the position, company, and dates. Please see the sample resume for reference. In addition, you will need to provide a description of the tasks and job functions exercised in each listed position. These descriptions are to be presented in bullet-point format. As a standard measure, at least three bullet points are needed (More may be used as necessary). Bullets points should be formulated using APR Statements (please see the APR Statements section of the document).
  • Skills: This section details measurable skills specific to the job description. These are not to be confused with character traits/softs skills. Other skills may be referenced in your cover letter or in your interview. Please see the sample resume for examples.
  • Awards/Achievements: Here you may list any academic, work-related, or community awards and accomplishments. Be sure to list the name of the award, the organization from which you received it, and the date it was received (a year alone is sufficient).

General formatting

  • Traditional resumes typically are formatted in Times New Roman, black, 10-12 pt. font.
  • Color is usually not used on a traditional resume.
  • Refrain from using the phrase, “references available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. Use a reference sheet instead.

Sample Resumes


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Download the Resume Guide