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What resume format does one use?

Directions:

to assist you in choosing a format for your resume, each of the formats below will link you to an explanation of how it is used and samples of resumes done with that particular format. Do not use the exact phrasing from these sample resumes; your resume will be more effective if you choose your own wording appropriate to the job.

The Chronological Resume format is the most effective choice for individuals with a strong or continuous work history and increasing levels of responsibility in the occupational area stated in the resume objective. Dates should be placed on the resume in reverse chronological order (most recent jobs listed first) to highlight the continuous work history and increasing levels of responsibility. Job titles may be italicized, capitalized, underlined or printed in bold to emphasize increased responsibility. The resume should then list those skill qualifications or characteristics offered to an employer.

[Link above for a Chronological sample resume. There are numerous examples available in Career and Employment Services at Lansing Community College (LCC), Continental Building (CB). LCC students and alumni may make appointments to have resumes and cover letters critiqued.]


The Functional Resume is usually chosen by individuals without a strong work history or current work experience. It emphasizes skill areas and de-emphasizes work history and dates. The functional resume is for someone who would like to change careers, has no career history or desires a job in another field. It lists areas of expertise, skills and qualifications with the most extensive skills listed near the top of the resume. For example, this could include management, leadership, technical or communication skills which employers desire.

[Link above for a Functional sample resume. There are numerous examples available in Career and Employment Services at Lansing Community College (LCC), Continental Building (CB). Appointments may be made by LCC students and alumni to have resumes and cover letters critiqued.]


The Combination Resume combines the strongest elements of the chronological and functional formats to include both job-related qualifications and work experience. This provides strong support for the stated job objective. The combination resume may be useful for someone who wants to emphasize work history in addition to specific skill areas. This is a hybrid resume with the functional format at the top portion of the resume and the chronological format at the bottom.

[Link above for a Combination sample resume. There are numerous examples available in Career and Employment Services at Lansing Community College (LCC), Continental Building (CB). Appointments may be made by LCC students and alumni to have resumes and cover letters critiqued.]

Distinctive Documents also provides a selection of business related examples of resumes in sales, computers and management on-line.


The Scannable Resume uses key words and phrases to increase the likelihood that the resume will be selected in an electronic search. It may be useful for someone who is applying for a job with a large company. Larger companies utilize software to electronically scan resumes for sorting, reviewing, distributing and filing. The scanning process searches for key words which may be important to the field you have interest in or the job for which you are applying. In fact, the most important aspect of a good scannable resume is the use of key words. Instead of the action verbs used in the traditional resume, you will want specific phrases or words. Resumes can be sorted with all kinds of data bank keywords looking for such things as skills, knowledge of computer software packages, education and technical terms. To determine the key words in your field, first go to the job advertisement and use as many of those key words as possible or go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the O'Net or the Michigan Occupational Information System. It is important to know these key words or phrases but not to overuse them. The scanning process will then indicate which resumes could be reviewed in more depth. This process is referred to as having a certain number of "hits" (key words, phrases, etc.) identified.

[Link above for a Scannable sample resume.]

Tips for a Scannable Resume:

  • Use white or light-colored 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, printed on one side only.

  • Provide a laser or ink-jet printer original, if possible. A typewritten original or a high-quality photocopy is acceptable.

  • Use sans-serif typeface (century gothic, ccg omega, universe, avant-garde or helvetica).

  • Use a 10-point or 12-point type.

  • Leave space between your lines of copy.

  • Do not underline or use italics.

  • Do not use boldface type for your name, dates or the body of your resume.

  • Use boldface and/or all CAPITAL letters for section headings only.

  • Do not use graphics, logos or bullets. Avoid vertical and horizontal lines and boxes.

  • Use only commonly recognized abbreviations.

  • Place your heading on the upper left hand side of your paper.

  • Do not fold your resume.

For more information on scannable resumes refer to the websites below :

Center for Employment Services at Lansing Community College

Career and Employment Services
Continental Bldg (CB), Room 104
Phone: (517) 483-1172
Additional contact information »

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