William and Mary

Choose a Résumé Format

The Career Center encourages undergraduates to utilize the resume builder in TribeCareers, which includes a nice variety of formats. 


When you select a format for a resume, it is important to show yourself off to the best advantage.

For most students, the Chronological and Functional styles are the most popular formats, though, some students choose a more Creative style. Each approach has its selling points and drawbacks; a lot will depend on how comfortable you feel with a format and how receptive a prospective employer will be to how you present your qualifications. A résumé that will work wonders in an advertising agency may be entirely inappropriate for a bank or large corporation, and vice versa.

The Chronological Résumé
This type lists your background in chronological time sequence, starting with the most recent experience First and working backwards. This is the most common format.

The Functional Résumé
This type can be eye-catching, but if you're thinking about using this style you should know that it is not an easy type of resume to put together and tends to be lengthier than the standard chronological resume format. In the functional resume, work experience and abilities are listed by skill areas. The functional resume allows you to do some things that a chronological resume would never permit. For one, you can choose headings that are featured in the job description you are applying for. Also, instead of repeating the things you have done in similar work settings, this approach allows you to group responsibilities from a variety of experiences. The emphasis is on what you have done rather than on when and where you did it. Another advantage of this approach is that you can play up your strengths and put them up front.