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Resume-Writing Assistance

Your resume is a one to two page document that identifies your professional strengths, experiences, and skills. Throughout your search for employment, your resume can serve many purposes:

  • If you are applying for an advertised vacancy, the purpose of your resume is to advance you past the screening stage to the interview stage of the hiring process.
  • If you are pursuing an unadvertised employment opportunity, or trying to persuade an employer to hire you based on your talents even if a position is not currently "available," the purpose of your resume is to convince a hiring decision maker to meet with you for a formal or informal job interview.
  • If you are networking, the purpose of your resume is to persuade one of your network contacts to connect you with or recommend you to a hiring decision maker.

Types of resumes

As demonstrated, a resume can serve many purposes in your search for employment. Therefore, it is important to choose a resume type that best meets your needs.

The two most common types of resumes are the Chronological Resume and the Functional Resume. A chronological resume lists the jobs you've held, starting with your current or most recent position and proceeding in reverse-chronological order to your first position. Your experiences and accomplishments are then listed under each position held. The chronological resume is the most common type of resume and is preferred by most employers. A functional resume emphasizes your skills by grouping specific skills under general skill categories. For example, if "technical expertise" is your general skill, you might list "Microsoft Office Suite" as a specific skill under that skill category. Functional resumes are often used by people who are changing careers, as they highlight transferable skills, or by people with gaps in employment history, as they deemphasize the chronology of one’s employment history.

When applying for positions with the federal government, it is wise to use a Federal Resume. This type of resume is more detailed and contains information not found in chronological or functional resumes.

Resume Writing Tips


Resume heading Skills summary section General content of a resume Experience and summary of qualifications sections
Education and training section Should you include an objective statement on your resume? Resume formatting tips Federal resume tips