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Résumé Writing

Which Type of Résumé Is Best?

Will a chronological, functional or a combination style résumé fit your needs?

Skill A
Accomplishment 1
Accomplishment 2
Skill B
Accomplishment 1
Accomplishment 2
Skill C
Accomplishment 1
Accomplishment 2

For an outreach job with your local senior center, you could choose “Community Organizing” as one of your functional areas. An accomplishment might be:

"Initiated a neighborhood watch program covering a seven-block area. Recruited over 50 volunteers, scheduled shifts, and publicized the effort to the local paper. Crime dropped over 20 percent in the first six months."

It is very important to include your job history. Following the list of skill areas and accomplishments, include a brief job history. Include name of employer, position held, and dates by year.

Combination Résumés

A “combination” résumé is not so much a separate format as a way to use elements of both chronological and functional résumés. First, list your jobs chronologically. Then for each job, list the main functional (skill) areas as you would in a functional résumé, followed by specific accomplishments. There might be different skill areas depending on the job.

Here is a template for a Combination Résumé:

Current or most recent job
Skill A
Accomplishment 1
Accomplishment 2
Skill B
Accomplishment 1
Accomplishment 2
Previous job
Skill A
Accomplishment 1
Skill B, etc. (continue as above)

Tips for Success

Whichever type of résumé you use, some common guidelines apply:

  • Tailor each resume: Always create a fresh résumé for each job application.
  • Use keywords: Speak the employer's language by using all relevant keywords from the job posting to show that your skills are a good match.
  • Use dates: Always cite dates of employment. Employers tend to dislike résumés that give few or no dates, which is a danger in a functional résumé.
  • Focus on results: Stress your actual accomplishments, not job duties or character traits. For example, instead of just saying you are a team player, describe something you accomplished on the job by using your team skills.
  • When sending an online résumé, pay attention to requirements. For example, some sites may accept only a chronological format.

More Resources

You can find more free information and resume examples at career websites such as or Susan Ireland's Résumé Site. Susan Ireland also has a useful free tutorial on how to upload and email your resume. Need help writing accomplishments? Read the article, “To Refresh Your Résumé, Point to Accomplishments.”

You may also like: How to get noticed with your cover letter. >>


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