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Résumé styles and templates

Résumé styles and templates

There are three basic types of résumés: chronological, modified chronological, and functional. The decision to use a particular style depends upon your past work experience and your current objective.

The following template styles are suggestions only: adapt your document to reflect your personality and the type of work you are seeking. Include content that is relevant to the jobs you are applying to – using keywords from the industry or actual job posting as much as possible. Be sure to refer to the Effective résumés content sections for complete advice on helping you develop a top-notch document.


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  1. The chronological style is the most common. Since employers are most comfortable with this format, choose another format only if the chronological résumé does not allow you to demonstrate your skills effectively
  2. Organize jobs in reverse chronological order, stating:
    1. Job Title: create an accurate one if you had none
    2. Name of company or organization and location (city/province). Do not include supervisor’s name or employer’s street address or telephone number
    3. Dates, beginning and terminating (for full-time, on-going positions of at least one year, it is not necessary to include the months)
  3. For jobs you want to include but not in detail, add a sub-section at the end of Work Experience called Other Work Experience (dates if you wish, e.g., 20__ - __) with job titles, or job titles and type of work environment if helpful (e.g., camp counsellor, waiter in fast-paced truck stop restaurant, stock clerk in automotive store)
  4. If you started or ran your own business, refer to it by its proper name and your official title. For example, you could write:
    1. Owner/Manager, ABC Window Cleaning, Toronto, Ontario or
    2. Proprietor, Residential Window Cleaning Service, Toronto, Ontario
  1. The difference between this type of résumé and the chronological one is the section on work experience
  2. The modified chronological résumé enables you to feature related experience, or to move to the top of the section those jobs that would ordinarily be listed after less relevant ones
  3. Replace the words “Work Experience” with a description about the type of experience; be consistent — use either all nouns or all adjectives; see Sample experience headings (Appendix B) for examples
  4. Collect in one section all jobs of similar type and list them in reverse chronological order
  5. Be sure that the theme word you use to describe each Experience section is descriptive of aspects of the job you stated in your objective
  1. The difference between this type of résumé and the chronological one is the section on work experience
  2. A functional format may be useful for individuals who have:
    1. Little or no related experience, but do have relevant qualifications for the job
    2. Relevant experience, but these positions would be lost among the other jobs in a chronological résumé and the modified chronological format would not be suitable
    3. A number of similar work experiences, which would require repeating the same points under several job listings
    4. So much material to say that it would take more than two pages to do it
  3. It is essential that you have a good chronological résumé from which to work because it is difficult to think creatively and evaluate information at the same time
  4. Identify three to six major skill areas related to your objective; be consistent — use either all nouns or all adjectives; see Sample experience headings for examples
  5. Make sure there is no overlap in meaning when selecting the names for your skill sections; as you take each point from your chronological résumé, you will then find that it clearly fits in only one section
  6. Take each point in the job description section of Work Experience from your chronological résumé and include it under one of the skill headings you created; ensure that each point starts with an appropriate action verb
  7. Since the points are removed from the employers they were associated with, you may have to add some generic information on setting, population, etc.; example: under ABC Parks and Recreation Department in your chronological résumé you have “organized Friday afternoon drop-in leisure activities for seniors”; in your functional résumé, add “in a recreational setting” so that the reader will not wonder in what context (medical, psychological, etc.)
  8. Try to combine points whenever possible to make clear, concise entries; the number of points for each function/skill should range from three to seven
  9. In formulating the points for each thematic qualification, you can also draw upon your academics (projects, papers, etc.), extracurricular activities, and volunteer work as long as the reader knows the setting and does not think you have done the work in one of your paid positions
  10. The Work History section comprises, in reverse chronological order, a listing of your employment: Job title, Company/Organization, Location, and Date. There are no job description details in this section
University of Waterloo

Centre for Career Development