Four resumes piled on top of each other

How to structure your resume

Employers judge your resume in 6 seconds. If your resume doesn’t hit the mark in those first few seconds, you’ve missed out. How you structure your resume can make a big difference in whether an employer will put your resume in the yes pile or in the bin. By emphasising your strong points and placing them at the top of your resume, you’ll immediately draw attention to why you’re right for the job.

Here’s our tips for how to structure your resume, so you land your next job.

Chronological resume

Chronological resumes are the most common type of resume. Employers usually like this type of resume because it highlights recent relevant experience and shows them if you’ll be able to hit the ground running. They can also easily scan your resume and look at previous roles you’ve done that are similar.

These resumes are set out in date order, starting with your most recent job or experience. By starting the resume with a career summary, you can also highlight your work history and skills at the top of your resume and immediately show the employer why you are right for their organisation.

It’s best to use a chronological resume when you have a consistent work history and experience similar to the job you are applying for.

Don’t use a chronological resume if you have large gaps in your employment history, you are starting your first job, or you have held many short-term jobs.

Text on paper reading skills required

Functional resume

A functional resume is structured around your skills and experience. This structure is good if you do not have much work experience, have had breaks in your employment, or you are changing careers. There is less focus on your work history and job titles and more focus on your actual skills and experience.

While this resume type is less common, it’s a good option if you’re going for your first job.

Start your resume by highlighting the key skills you have that are relevant for the job you are applying for. You might like to do this by writing a resume summary at the top of your resume to highlight the skills you have that are relevant for the job. Then structure your resume based on themes or keywords. These might include soft skills or technical skills.

Don’t forget to provide specific examples or projects that demonstrate your experience against each of the themes. These should directly relate to the role you are applying for.

Combination resume

A combination resume, as the name suggests, is a mixture of both types. A combination resume is usually structured with two parts – the first outlining your skills and qualifications (the functional part), the second a timeline of your work experience (the chronological part).

A combination resume could be useful when you have a varied employment history.

For example, you might have a lot of skills and experience but in very diverse industries and roles. Using the combination structure, you can highlight your skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and then follow up with more background on your work history.

Final tips

There are loads of resume templates on the internet. Just search for the type that suits your needs and use the template as a guide. If you have a jobactive.gov.au account, you can also export your career profile into a resume. Don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar carefully! No matter how good your resume structure, typos and misspelled names will send your resume straight to the no pile. Use spellcheck and get a friend or family member to proofread your resume.

Check your spelling

One final point of advice, make sure you tailor your resume for each job you apply for. What works for one job application won’t necessarily work for another. Read the job description and use the keywords to structure your resume and show the employer why you are right for their job.

Good luck!

Images: iStock

One comment

  1. * Here are our tips ✔ …as suggested ‘Don’t forget to check your spelling and grammar carefully!’

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