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What is a Resume?

  • A resume is a written compilation of your education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that is used to apply for jobs.
  • In many cases, your resume is the first document a hiring manager will look at when reviewing your application, and therefore is a true “first impression.”
  • The resume's primary function is to showcase your talents and skills to an employer—clearly, convincingly and quickly.

Why is a resume so important?

  • A resume tells employers what you have accomplished in the past and what you can do for their company now.
  • The resume is a tool that you can use to get an interview. During an interview, in most cases, a resume operates as a guide for you and the employer.

Three Types of Resumes

Choosing the best resume format is extremely important because there are many factors to take into account. These include the length of your resume and your accomplishments, as well as possible shortcomings. Whichever resume format you choose, make sure to include examples of accomplishments that benefited your previous employers. Three common types of resumes are chronological, functional and combination (skills based). Keep in mind that businesses prefer either a chronological resume or a combination resume.


Chronological resumes highlight consistency. This format stresses what you accomplished in each of the positions you held. A chronological resume focuses primarily on the history of your work experience and education. It also shows your progress and advancements in your career. This resume format is popular among businesses.


A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, without including chronological time and job titles. It presents a profile of your experience based on professional strengths or groups of skills. Your employment history usually follows, but in less detail than in a chronological resume. It is used most often by people with gaps in their work history, those who are changing careers and individuals with limited work experience. Employers generally do not prefer to receive functional resumes as they do not show your work history or career progress.


A combination (or combined) resume combines the best features of the traditional chronological (where the dates are in reverse order) and functional (where skills are listed in the beginning) resumes. A combination resume can also be referred to as a skills based resume. A combination resume works for entry level candidates as well as for those who have many years experience and need a better resume.

Resume selection chart

If you are...then use a...
Chronological ResumeCombination ResumeFunctional Resume
A younger worker and/or have limited work experience Possible Recommended Possible
An older worker with a continuous work history Recommended Recommended Not Suggested
Returning to the workforce after a gap in employment for a variety of reasons (Example: incarceration, parenting, illness, care giving) Not Suggested Recommended Possible
Changing careers or your area of focus Not Suggested Recommended Possible
Someone who has changed jobs frequently or has had a wide variety of jobs Not Suggested Recommended Possible
Veteran entering a civilian job Possible Recommended Possible

How to Prepare a Chronological Resume

  • List your most recent jobs first
  • Give dates for each job
  • Briefly describe the main duties and accomplishments in each job
  • Emphasize duties and accomplishments that relate to the job you seek

For more help with your resume, please visit your local New York State Career Center.

Sample Chronological Resume

Chronological Resume Template

Chronological Resume Sample

How to Prepare a Combination Resume

  • Use when changing careers
  • Highlight your skills and education over experience

For more help with your resume, please visit your local New York State Career Center.

Sample Combination Resume

Combination Resume Template

Combination Resume Sample


How to Prepare a Functional Resume

  • Use if you; have gaps in your employment, have changed jobs frequently, or are changing careers
  • Highlight your professional strengths
  • Highlight your transferable skills
  • Do not include dates of employment

For more help with your resume, please visit the NYS Career Center Locator

Functional Resume Example

Functional Resume Template

Functional Resume Sample

Below you will find a list of action verbs that could be used on a resume. For a longer list, here are some additional Action Verbs


Conducted, coordinated, developed, directed, established, evaluated, facilitated, formulated, guided, improved, presided, scheduled, supervised, trained


Addressed, clarified, conferred, drafted, explained, formulated, motivated, negotiated, persuaded, presented, promoted, translated, wrote


Analyzed, assembled, built, consulted, designed, examined, identified, interpreted, operated, overhauled, remodeled, repaired, researched, revised


Advised, arranged, coached, counseled, diagnosed, facilitated, instructed, oriented, represented


Conceptualized, created, designed, fashioned, illustrated, initiated, invented, originated, performed


Assessed, designed, evaluated, identified, inspected, researched, summarized


Administered, analyzed, balanced, budgeted, calculated, contracted, forecast, marketed, planned, projected, recommended


Revised, collected, catalogued, classified, compiled clarified, indexed, organized, prepared, processed, simplified, systemized


Consolidated, distributed, expedited, generated, increased, marketed, obtained, penetrated, promoted, recruited, stimulated

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