Quiz: Which Resume Writing Format Should You Choose?

There is no one perfect resume writing format to use. You will likely have several resumes throughout your career, unless you stay in the same position with the same employer as long as you work.

Quiz: which resume writing format is right for you? With Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

As you set about to write or update your resume, one of the first decisions you will make is which resume writing format to choose.

A chronological resume organizes your experience by your work history, listed in reverse chronological order, and includes a job description and accomplishments in each position. Education and additional skills are listed afterwards. Employers like this format because it gives them a clear snapshot of your employment background.

While a purely functional resume organizes your experience according to your skill set (“functions”), it is rarely used. A combination resume has largely taken its place. This format mixes chronological and functional elements, with a list of your skills followed by your employment history and education. The combination resume is becoming increasingly favored by career changers, those with gaps in their employment history, and those who have held a number of different jobs during their careers.

(Learn more about the 3 main resume writing formats.)

When to Take This Quiz

This quick quiz will help make an informed decision about the best resume writing format for you to use at this stage in your career – chronological or combination.

When you assume different responsibilities, circumstances change, or you prepare to move into another job, take this quiz again. You may want to modify your current resume or build a new one to accommodate your newly-acquired experiences or to target a different position. (Use this resume worksheet to keep track of your experience.)

How to Take This Quiz

On a piece of paper, number a list from 1-16.

Read each of the above numbered statements. Record a yes or no answer for each one. In situations where you feel both answers apply, select the one which is most appropriate.

The Quiz

  1. You’re a recent graduate with experience in your chosen field.
  2. You’re a recent graduate with experience unrelated to your chosen field.
  3. Your work history relates directly to your targeted position.
  4. You’re changing careers (using a new skill set).
  5. Your work history shows present or recent employment relating to your targeted position.
  6. You’re changing fields (using same skill set in a different industry).
  7. Your work history shows increasing levels of responsibility or strong progression in your targeted career path.
  8. You have considerable volunteer experience in your targeted field.
  9. You’re seeking a position in a conservative field (medicine, law, accounting.)
  10. You’re re-entering the work force in a different field after a break.
  11. You’re seeking a management or executive position.
  12. You are overqualified and are looking for less responsibility.
  13. Your work history includes employers with strong name recognition, such as a Fortune 500 company, a well-known organization, or a government agency.
  14. You have a long or strong work history but are looking for less responsibility.
  15. You’re re-entering the work force in the same field after a break.
  16. You have a varied, changing, unstable, or shifting job history (frequent job changes, gaps in your employment, previous career chance, relocations due to spouse’s job).

Scoring the Quiz

  • On a second piece of paper, create two columns: one labeled “Chronological Resume” and one labeled “Functional/Combination Resume.”
  • For each odd number answered yes, give yourself one point in the Chronological Resume column. For each even number answered yes, give yourself one point in the Functional/Combination Resume column.
  • Add the numbers in each column. The column with the highest score indicates the best type of resume for you to build at this juncture in your career.


Get more resume writing tips on our Pinterest board.

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