Formatting: Résumés and Hybrids

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As you are trying to decide on the best format for your résumé or hybrid résumé/C.V., think about which format best highlights your skills and accomplishments relevant to the position. It is very important to thoroughly understand the position you are applying to as this could give you clues regarding the best formatting method. For example, if the position you are applying to requires strong research and statistical background, you may want to ensure that early sections in your résumé primarily highlight your experience with research and statistics. This could be applied experiences in internships or your experience developed during research projects, your thesis, or dissertation, during your graduate program.

It is very important to pay attention to spelling, grammar, and formatting inconsistencies. You can refer to Penn State’s career resources information on “How to format a résumé” for more information on key considerations. They have also provided information on typical sections to include in a résumé. Although this information is geared towards undergraduate students at Penn State, it is still relevant to graduate students.

Types of Résumé or Hybrids

There are several methods of presenting your experience and each of these have their own benefits and drawbacks. It is best to choose the type based on what helps align your experience with the requirements for the position.

Chronological

This type lays out your experience in the form of a timeline, starting with the most recent position to the oldest, i.e. reverse chronological order. The benefit of this type is that it is most commonly used and employers are used to reading information in this format. However, in cases where the most relevant experience for a job occurred earlier, it could get buried among newer less relevant experiences.

Functional

This type allows you to group experiences by skills and experiences rather than a chronological order. It places lower emphasis on the chronological order of experiences. It can be helpful in cases where you have had several different types of jobs and they clearly fall within groups. However, it can be difficult for an employer to easily read and interpret.

Combination

This type can be a convenient mix of the chronological and functional types. You may group different work experiences by common skills you developed or used. Within each category, you can lay out work experiences in reverse chronological order. This type allows you to include the most relevant skill or experiences at the top followed by less relevant experiences.

For more information on each of these types, you can refer to the description of résumé types by America’s Job ExchangeKimmel & Associates, or The Balance Careers.

Résumé samples

Penn State’s career services page includes résumé examples and templates. You can also refer to résumé samples on the career development website of the University of Illinois to see examples that are geared towards graduate students.

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