Resume Formats—With Examples and Formatting Tips

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The right resume format will grab the hiring manager’s attention immediately and make it clear that you’re the best candidate for the job, while de-emphasizing those aspects of your career that you’d prefer not to highlight.

Some resume formats will work better than others for your situation. For example, if you have a gap in your resume, or a history of job hopping, or a career path that’s taken some strange twists and turns, a functional resume might emphasize skills over linear job experience. On the other hand, if your recent career shows a clear progression toward the current job opportunity, a chronological or combination resume might be the best option.

Your choice will depend on your career level, work experience, and job history. The job description might also make a difference. For some jobs, you’ll want to highlight specific skills, while for others, you’ll need to demonstrate related experience.   

Wondering which resume format is best for you? We’ll break down the advantages of each type and offer detailed examples to help you make your decision.

Types of Resume Formats

The different types of resumes include chronological, functional, and combination resumes. You might choose a different resume type based on the job you’re applying for.

Chronological Resume Example

If you’ve never given much thought to different resume formats, chances are that your resume is currently in the chronological format (sample below). This is the most commonly used type. It lists your work history in reverse chronological order (with your most recent work history listed at the top).

Download the chronological resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

chronological resume example
 ©TheBalance 2018
Download the Word Template

Chronological Resume Example (Text Version)

Jennifer Elliot
1890 Grant Street
Cleveland, OH 44109
555-123-1234
j.elliot@email.com

Career Summary

Analytical and detail-oriented legal professional leveraging recent JD training and 6 years of law office experience to excel as a Junior Associate Attorney with an established law firm. Well-versed in federal, state, and municipal court filing processes, rules, and deadlines, with direct experience in commercial litigation and specialized training in e-Discovery methodologies. Unparalleled multitasking and time management skills, deftly managing heavy caseloads from initial client intake through all phases of discovery, drafting, pretrial, trial, and appeal.

Professional Experience

US District Court, Cleveland, OH
Law Clerk Intern, 2018-Present

  • Serve as Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
  • Perform legal research; draft bench orders, opinions, and memos, carefully verifying accuracy of all citations.
  • Communicate with counsel to confirm deadlines and address case management issues.
  • Use advanced verbal and written Spanish skills as court translator when warranted.

Hatchett, Garner, and Winn Attorneys, Cleveland, OH
Paralegal, 2012-2018

Skillfully managed caseload of ~70 ongoing cases for national law firm specializing in commercial litigation. Scheduled and facilitated client interviews, performed legal research, prepared documents and exhibits for trial, and ensured timely submission of all pleadings and court filings.

  • Proactively earned Certified E-Discovery Specialist certification from ACEDS.
  • Researched, acquired, and trained firm’s attorneys in use of Symantec eDiscovery Platform.
  • Entrusted by senior partners to prepare firm records for inspection during IT and cybersecurity audits.
  • Served as Vice President of regional paralegal association (2014 to 2016).

Education and Credentials

Juris Doctor (JD), anticipated 2019
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, OH

Associate of Applied Business in Paralegal-Legal Assisting, 2012
Rhodes State College, Lima, OH

Certified E-Discovery Specialist (ACEDS), 2016

Technical Proficiencies: Microsoft Office Suite, LexisNexis Concordance, Symantec eDiscovery Platform, Westlaw, MyCase Legal Practice Management Software, Clio, and Photoshop.

Functional Resume Example

Functional resumes focus on skills (sample below). They are organized by different types of skills or experiences, rather than by chronological work history. Functional resumes are good for people with gaps in employment history, or whose work history is not directly related to the job.

Download the functional resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

functional resume example
 ©TheBalance 2018
Download the Word Template

Functional Resume Example (Text Version)


Jennifer Elliot
1890 Grant Street
Cleveland, OH 44109
555-555-5555
j.elliot@email.com

Summary of Qualifications

Analytical and detail-oriented legal professional leveraging recent JD training and 6 years law office experience to excel as a Junior Associate Attorney with an established law firm.

  • Legal Affairs: Well-versed in federal, state, and municipal court filing processes, rules, and deadlines, with direct experience in commercial litigation and specialized training in e-Discovery methodologies.
  • Communications / Client Relations: Excellent verbal and written communications and legal drafting talents. Easily instill trust and confidence in clients stressed by challenging life events; handle private client data with 100% confidentiality and integrity. Fluent in Spanish.
  • Information Management[: Technical proficiencies include Microsoft Office Suite, LexisNexis Concordance, Symantec eDiscovery Platform, Westlaw, MyCase Legal Practice Management Software, Clio, and Photoshop.
  • Key Strengths: Finely-tuned analytical skills with a dedication to expanding subject knowledge and workplace competencies through continuing training. Unparalleled multitasking and time management skills, deftly managing heavy caseloads from initial client intake through all phases of discovery, drafting, pretrial, trial, and appeal.

Education and Credentials

Juris Doctor (JD), anticipated 2019 Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, OH

Associate of Applied Business in Paralegal-Legal Assisting, 2012 Rhodes State College, Lima, OH

Certified E-Discovery Specialist (ACEDS), 2016

Professional Experience

US District Court, Cleveland, OH
Law Clerk Intern, 2018-Present

Serve as Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Perform legal research; draft bench orders, opinions, and memos, carefully verifying accuracy of all citations. Communicate with counsel to confirm deadlines and address case management issues.

  • Utilized advanced verbal and written Spanish skills as court translator when warranted.

Hatchett, Garner, and Winn Attorneys, Cleveland, OH
Paralegal, 2012-2018

Skillfully managed caseload of ~70 ongoing cases for national law firm specializing in commercial litigation. Scheduled and facilitated client interviews, performed legal research, prepared documents and exhibits for trial, and ensured timely submission of all pleadings and court filings.

  • Proactively earned Certified E-Discovery Specialist certification from ACEDS.
  • Researched, acquired, and trained firm’s attorneys in use of Symantec e-Discovery Platform.
  • Entrusted by senior partners to ready firm records for inspection during IT and cybersecurity audits.
  • Served as Vice President of regional paralegal association (2014 to 2016).


Combination Resume Example

Combination resumes are a mix of the chronological and functional formats (sample below). They provide a chronological list of one’s work history, but they also have sections that focus on different types of skills.

Download the combination resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

combination resume example
©TheBalance 2018
Download the Word Template

Combination Resume Example (Text Version)

Jennifer Elliot
1890 Grant Street
Cleveland, OH 44109
555-555-5555
j.elliot@email.com

Summary

Analytical and detail-oriented legal professional leveraging recent JD training and 6 years law office experience to excel as a Junior Associate Attorney with an established law firm. Well-versed in federal, state, and municipal court filing processes, rules, and deadlines, with direct experience in commercial litigation and specialized training in e-Discovery methodologies. Unparalleled multitasking and time management skills, deftly managing heavy caseloads from initial client intake through all phases of discovery, drafting, pretrial, trial, and appeal.

Experience

E-Discovery

  • Proactively earned Certified E-Discovery Specialist certification from ACEDS.
  • Researched, acquired, and trained firm’s attorneys in use of Symantec eDiscovery Platform.

Technical Proficiencies

  • Microsoft Office Suite, LexisNexis Concordance, Symantec eDiscovery Platform, Westlaw, MyCase Legal Practice Management Software, Clio, and Photoshop.

Litigation and Records Management

  • Skillfully managed caseload of ~70 ongoing cases for national law firm specializing in commercial litigation. Scheduled and facilitated client interviews, prepared documents and exhibits for trial, and ensured timely submission of all pleadings and court filings.
  • Entrusted by senior partners to ready firm records for inspection during IT and cybersecurity audits.

Legal Research

  • As Law Clerk to the Chief Judge of the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, performed extensive legal research, carefully verifying accuracy of all citations.

Communications and Outreach

  • Utilized advanced verbal and written Spanish skills as court translator when warranted.
  • Served as Vice President of regional paralegal association (2014 to 2016).

Work History

Law Clerk Intern, US District Court, Cleveland, OH, 2018-Present

Paralegal, Hatchett, Garner, and Winn Attorneys, Cleveland, OH, 2012-2018

Education and Credentials

Juris Doctor (JD), anticipated 2019 Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, OH

Associate of Applied Business in Paralegal-Legal Assisting, 2012 Rhodes State College, Lima, OH

Certified E-Discovery Specialist (ACEDS), 2016

Review More Resume Examples

Want to see more of these resume formats in action? These example resumes can provide a starting point for your own resume. Use these as a jumping off place for your own customized resume. Remember to adapt your final version to each particular job opportunity, even if you’re applying for similar roles within the same industry. Employers want to hire candidates who are interested in their specific job opening, not just any job – customizing your resume every time will make sure that your resume is tailored appropriately.

Resume Formats With Headlines and Profiles

Studies have shown that recruiters spend as little as six seconds reviewing a resume before sorting it to the “yes” or “no” pile and moving on.

For this reason, many candidates choose to add a section highlighting their most relevant skills at the top of their resume. There are several ways to do this:

  • Resume With Headline. A resume headline (also known as a resume title) is a phrase that summarizes why you are an ideal candidate. Headlines can be used by candidates with lots of skills and experience, as well as candidates with less experience who want to highlight their best attributes.
  • Resume With Profile. A resume profile is a brief statement (often several sentences) that highlights the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate.
  • Resume With Headline and Profile. Including both a brief headline and a longer profile can provide the hiring manager with even more information about you.

    If you’re new to this type of format, it’s a good idea to review the required and optional parts of a resume, to make certain that your final product has everything you need to make a good impression. For example, resume objectives were once a requirement, but are now optional -- although they can work in your favor if used in the right way.

    More About Formatting a Resume

    In addition to choosing a type of resume, you will also need to select a font and font size and make style choices (such as when to use bullets, bold style, italics, etc.).

    It’s also important to be consistent in your choices. If you decide to bullet your experience, for example, you should make sure to do so throughout. Similarly, once you choose a font, you should stick with it for the whole resume.

    Keep in mind that the structure and content of your resume will vary depending on which type of resume you select. However, there is some information that is included in every resume, such as your contact information, education, and experience.

    Resume Format Example

    Use the following formatting example to generate a list of information to include on your resume. Then, you can revise your resume so that it’s in the format you want, and contains the information you choose.

    Remember that this is only one example of a resume format. You can add information not included here, including some of the introductory information listed above, and sections listed by theme (such as in a functional resume).

    If you have privacy concerns or are relocating, there are other options you can use to list your address.

    Your Contact Information

    First and Last Name

    Street Address

    City, State ZIP

    Phone (Cell/Home)

    Email Address

    Career Summary (optional)

    A customized section of your resume that lists key achievements, skills, traits, and experience relevant to the position for which you are applying can serve dual purposes. It highlights your relevant experience and lets the prospective employer know that you have taken the time to create a resume that shows how you are qualified for the specific job.

    Experience

    This section of your resume includes your work history. List the companies you worked for, dates of employment, the positions you held, and a bulleted list of responsibilities and achievements.

    Company #1

    City, State

    Dates Worked

    Job Title

    • Responsibilities / Achievements
    • Responsibilities / Achievements

    Company #2

    City, State

    Dates Worked

    Job Title

    • Responsibilities / Achievements
    • Responsibilities / Achievements

    Education


    In the education section of your resume, list the schools you attended, the degrees you attained, and any special awards and honors you earned.

    College, Degree

    Awards, Honors

    Skills

    Include skills related to the position/career field that you are applying for, such as computer skills or language skills.

    References

    There is no need to include references on your resume or even to mention that references are available. Rather, have a separate list of references to give to employers upon request.


    Be sure to confirm that your references are still available and interested in vouching for your abilities, and inform them about the job you’re considering. That way, they’ll be able to make a case for hiring you for that specific role, emphasizing the skills, experience, and abilities that make you an ideal candidate.