Resume Format

Tags: CDS


A winning resume is a marketing tool that clearly and concisely illustrates your skills, experiences, achievements and education. Our Career Development Services team can help you build a winning resume by following three steps:

Step One: Identify a Suitable Resume Format: Chronological, Functional, Combination or Hybrid

  • A chronological resume, the most common type, lists work experiences in reverse chronological order with dates, followed by job titles, the company name, and an explanation of job responsibilities. This type of resume is great if your work history relates closely to your career objectives. It is the perfect choice for you if you have experienced a steady career progression.
    Click here to view a sample chronological resume.

  • A functional resume focuses on your skills. Instead of drawing attention to the duration of each job you have held, it groups your accomplishments based on your skills. This is a great format if you have little or no experience or if there are gaps in your work history.
    Click here to view a sample functional resume.

  • A hybrid or combination resume blends elements of the chronological resume with those of the functional resume. This is a more creative resume that allows greater flexibility in format. You typically list your skills and then the jobs you have held.
    Click here to view a sample hybrid resume.

    Once you have identified a suitable resume you are ready for step two.

Step Two: Understand the Key Elements of a Resume

There are countless ways of building a resume. Your format should be unique so that your resume stands out, but there is essential information you need to include. The six components of a resume are heading, objective or summary of qualifications, education, work experience, skills/qualifications, and activities/organizations/honors.

  • Heading - Your heading provides the most important information to the employer -who you are and how you can be contacted! Your heading should include:
    • Your name (in larger and bolded font)
    • Your full address with the exception of your zip code (only the state should be abbreviated)
    • Your phone number
    • Your professional email (emails should be concise and should not be distracting in any way)

CDS TIP: Do not use Mr., Mrs., Ms. or Miss. Providing such information on your resume can lead to discrimination.

    • Objective vs. Summary of Skills or Summary of Qualifications An objective statement is one or two sentences about the specific job you want and what you can contribute to the employer in return for the job. A good objective should be specific and should give your resume direction. Use an objective when
      • You are pursuing a specific job goal
      • You know the exact title of the position for which you are applying
      • You have a diverse career background that needs direction
      • You are a new graduate and need to formalize your goals
CDS TIP: Your objective should be customized for the job you are trying to secure!
    • Bad objective: To obtain a job utilizing my skills and abilities
    • Good objective: Sales management position using expertise in motivating sales personnel in order to increase profit sharing

Summary of Skills or Qualifications

Since you typically submit a cover letter along with your resume, your cover letter should already outline your desired job objective. If this is the case, adding an objective in your resume may not be necessary and using a "summary of skills" or a "summary of qualifications" may be a better fit. This summary is usually written as a brief paragraph, a few bullets or a combination of both formats. A well written summary is a snapshot that underscores who you are and the skills you possess.

Strong summaries are clear, do not use personal pronouns and draw attention to relevant skills.

  • Example #1: Summary

    Senior Human Resources Professional with demonstrated strengths that include assessing organizational needs, setting strategic direction, and implementing initiatives that enhance corporate performance at an expanding company. Expertise includes: Staffing, Employee Relations, Succession Planning, Consulting, Union Avoidance, Negotiating, Problem Solving, Strategic Thinking, Management/Employee Development, Performance Coaching, Conflict Resolution, Team Building, Instructing - Workshop Facilitation. Trained in EEO/ADA Law, AAP Writing and Investigating Sexual Harassment complaints.

  • Example #2: Bulleted

    • Diverse sales and management experience and a willingness to improve
    • Track record of superior performance through above-quota results
    • Ability to create new and maximize existing accounts by analyzing company needs
    • Produce results in fast paced environments by adapting and implementing new strategies
    • Team oriented leader who motivates members to exceed expectations
  • Example #3 : Combination

    Experienced Leader with increasing domestic and international General Management accountability including Corporate Operations, Manufacturing, Marketing / Sales, and Engineering

    • A strong team builder and leader that enjoys the challenge of acquisitions and integrations, organizational restructuring and turnaround, product development or expansion, and taking projects from concept through to completion
    • Hands-on, customer oriented manager with strong capabilities in forming and implementing innovative and creative strategies, and dedicated to the principle of continuous improvement

Click here to view a sample summary of qualifications


Your education section should include the following:

  • Name of college or university
  • Location (city and state)
  • Date of graduation, or potential graduation
  • Degree awarded
  • Field of study
  • GPA (only if 3.0 or better)

When writing your education, be sure to list the degree you are most currently pursuing or have most recently completed first. For example:

B.S. Business Administration
Peirce College
May 2004 (Anticipated Graduation)
Philadelphia PA
B.S. Business Administration
Peirce College
May 2004
Philadelphia, PA
A.S. Business Administration
Community College of Philadelphia
May 2002
Philadelphia, PA

CDS Tip: If you have both an associate and bachelor's degree in the same field, it is not critical to list the associates degree in your resume.

Work Experience

Your work experience should include:

  • Name of company
  • Location of company (city and state)
  • Position held
  • Dates of employment (month and year)
  • Description of duties, responsibilities, etc.

Work experience should be more than your duties. You should also include accomplishments and special projects to inform the employer of how and what you have contributed to your past positions. Good descriptions of duties:

  • Use action verbs to demonstrate initiative and drive. Be sure to keep verbs in the correct tense. Positions you currently hold should be in the present tense, while previous positions should be in the past tense.
  • Are specific
  • Describe what you did and your successes
  • Are positive and market your skills
  • Relate your past skills and experiences to the job you seek

NEVER use complete sentences on your resume! Since the average employer takes 10 seconds to review your resume, it is important that it is concise and to the point.


Before writing your resume, it is important to recognize and identify valuable skills. Always be specific about what you know and be sure to relate it to the job you want. Avoid over generalized phrases, such as "communication skills" or "computer skills". You need to be specific in the skills that you possess, such as "Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Access."

Skills categories include:

  • Specialized skills (ie, certifications, computer software)
  • Computer skills
  • Office skills
  • Communications skills


Include hobbies and personal interests only if they are employment related, noncontroversial, and/or they demonstrate your skills and experiences. If you have held a relevant position in an organization, include it as well. Examples of appropriate organizations to include are:

  • Professional organizations
  • Honor/academic societies
  • Appropriate honors and awards

Step Three: Follow Resume Guidelines

Once you have identified the ideal resume format for your needs and you have identified the content you will use to populate it, it is important that you consider these basic resume guidelines:

do don't
Keep it brief: 1-2 pages Use a template
Include your name and contact information at the top of the first page Lie
Put your name and the page number at the top of the second page Misspell
Open with a strong objective and/or summary of qualifications Use colored paper or fancy fonts
Include a cover letter when mailing or emailing your resume Supply personal information (eg, family, marriage)
Use the right format for your skills and objective Include salary information. If the employer asks, this should be addressed in the cover letter
Be neat, organized and professional List discriminatory affiliations (eg, political campaigns, religious organizations)
Use the same font and appropriate verb tense Include the phrase "references available upon request"
Be creative Include hobbies or personal interests unless they relate to your objective

For help with resume writing, go to, the Peirce student portal , and use Peircelink for additional guidance from the CDS team, email us at, visit us in the Career Development Services center, sixth floor, College Hall or call us at 1.888.467.3472, ext. 9202.