People talk a lot about what a resume should say, but it can get confusing when you need to know what order to put your resume items in. Each section does something different and sometimes you just don’t know what to put your emphasis on. Should it be your skills? Or maybe your work experience is more important? As the saying goes, there’s more than one way to order a resume.
This quick guide will go through how to order your resume, step by step, so you’ll have your resume in running and working order in no time.
One of our users, Nikos, had this to say:
[I used] a nice template I found on Zety. My resume is now
one page long, not three. With the same stuff.
Here are some other guides that you can check out about getting your resume in proper, working order:
How to Organize a Resume
Before we begin, let’s do a short recap of what the
sections of your resume are before we start to put them in order.
For the majority of candidates, the popular resume items are:
Now it’s time to organize your resume into the correct order.
Let’s start off with making one distinction clear—
There are three different types of ways to order your resume and that, of course, causes lots of candidates to go all Avril Lavigne by shouting “why did you have to go and make things so complicated?”
What order should work experience be listed on a resume?
Work experience should always be listed on a resume in reverse chronological order. Your work history should go back in time from top to bottom: your current or most recent job on top, then the previous one below, all the way to the odest, but still relevant job.
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will score your resume and tell you Zety’s resume builder exactly how to make it better. Three Ways of Ordering Your Resume
It may sound complicated, but let’s break it down and you’ll see that it’s actually relatively simple.
1. The Reverse-Chronological Order
This resume order is by far the most common among candidates and most recognized by recruiters. It also goes by the name of chronological order. So as confusing as it may be, the reverse-chronological resume and the chronological resume are the same thing.
This order focuses on your skills and professional work experience, so it’s the best for candidates with at least some job experience under their belt.
The name comes from the fact that you start with your most recent job position and goes backwards in time.
This is what a reverse-chronological resume order looks like:
Contact Infromation Resume Objective/Summary Work Experience Education Skills Additional Sections
The Reverse-Chronological Resume (Template and Examples) 2. The Functional/Skill-Based Resume Order
The functional resume, also called the
skills-based resume, puts more emphasis on your skills than anything else. It’s perfect for candidates that switched jobs a lot, did a lot of freelancing or who have a lot of career gaps in their work history. It’s a good creative resume format for non-traditional industries, too.
This is what the functional resume order looks like:
Contact Information Resume Summary/Objective Skills Section Work Experience Education Additional Sections
Functional Resume: Template
3. The Combination Resume Order
The combination resume order is a combination of the reverse-chronological and functional resume orders. It focuses on the
summary of your qualifications, so it’s best for career changer resumes or for more experienced candidates.
This is how the combination resume order breaks down:
Contact Information Skills Summary Work Experience Education Additional Sections
The Combination Resume: Template and Examples
See, wasn’t all that complicated, was it?
Now that that’s clear, let’s take closer look at how to order the different, individual items of your resume:
Resume Order of Items
Resume objective or resume summary: This is a short blurb about your experience and skill set and should be no longer than 2-3 sentences. It goes at the top of your resume. Resume experience order: no matter which type of resume order you choose, you should always order your jobs reverse-chronologically on your resume. Start from the most recent position and work your way backwards. Job skills: there’s no right way to order your skills, just simply list them. If you have a lot of them, you can think of putting them into subgroups to make them easier to read. Remember to include a good mix of soft skills, hard skills as well as technical skills. Education: when listing your education on a resume, the simplest and most common order is listing the name of your school, the school’s location, the dates you attended, and the degree you earned. Listing unfinished college on a resume is similar, you just leave out the degree and potentially add relevant college courses. Remember to start your education section with your most recent degree level. Additional sections: here you can list things like projects, achievements and accomplishments, licenses and certificates, volunteering, hobbies and interests, and languages. These are often overlooked and that’s a shame as they can be a key factor in finding certain types of jobs. Pro Tip: No matter how you order your resume, remember to stick to the truth. Recruiters do background checks and will ask for proof of education or skills if checks come up empty.
How to Write a Resume
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our
Here's what it may look like: cover letter builder here.
cover letter templates and start writing.
That’s all there is to it! Get the parts of your resume in working order and watch it zoom down the road of success!
Thanks for reading. Is there anything that you still would like to know about resume order? Let us know in the comments below!