Career Profile

The combination resume has the advantages of both the chronological and functional formats rolled into one. One way to do this is to create a career profile (the functional section) that is placed before your work experiences (the chronological section). The career profile also appears before the education section. If you do not want to create a combination resume, you may still find some of the tips here useful.

Sometimes a section labelled professional or career profile, or simply profile, is used. This section is different from the Career Objective or Summary. It conveys much more detail and contains selected highlights from your work, education, and volunteer-related experiences. You should place it directly underneath your Objective or Summary.

This section tells the employer about your best accomplishments and the benefits you offer an employer. You do not need to list the company you worked for or the dates (though for emphasis you may wish to); these details should be placed instead in your work experience section. Generally speaking, listing more than six items is too much.

This section, in combination with your work experience, is the most important part of your resume, so tell the employer the best things about yourself here. Whenever describing accomplishments, be precise. If possible, quantify your results. For example, you could write "Reorganized order processing procedures to reduce time required by 30%."

Sample Phrases

Here are some things you may want to include somewhere in your career profile and work experience sections:


Here is an example career profile of someone applying for an office position.

Career Profile

Chronological Format

The chronological form is useful when:

If you have gaps in time between jobs or in your education, this may not be the most suitable format for you. However, if you do choose this format, be prepared to account for the gaps during the interview.

For combination and chronological format resumes, this is the section on which employers generally place the most value.

The first thing that you should decide is whether you want to group paid and unpaid experience together or have separate sections. If you do not have very much paid experience, then you should group them together. If you are grouping them together then appropriate headings might be: "Experience" or "Professional & Volunteer Experience." However, many have held both paid and unpaid positions simultaneously. Listing these in the same section in reverse chronological order may confuse the employer.

If you have at least three paid positions, devote a separate section to them. You might call this section "Work Experience." If you include a volunteer experience section, have it follow the work experience section and use the same guidelines provided below.

How far back should you go? If you do not have a lot of work experience it is a good idea to include all of it. On the other hand, if you have 20 years of experience, then you do not need to include all of it, unless you have a good reason for doing so. Our suggestion is to include only those positions that are relevant to the position you are applying to.

Information requirements for this section include: the employer’s name, location (city & province), dates of employment, position/job title, summary of responsibilities and accomplishments. You do not need to include the full address, supervisor’s name and contact number unless the employer specifically requests it. It's a good idea to leave out the months, not only because this is an easy area to make mistakes in, but also because it will help cover any gaps you may have in your employment history.

State the full name of the corporation rather than using acronyms that may not be familiar to a prospective employer. For dates of employment include the start and end dates. The month and year are sufficient. Do not embellish your job title to make it sound more glamorous than it really was. Unless the job title given to you by the company was unusual stick to that one. In the case that it may be unusual, for example "group leader," you may use something more common, such as "supervisor."

When describing duties and accomplishments, in general the more recent the job the more detail you should provide. However, if a previous work experience is more relevant to the type of work you are seeking now, then more detail on that experience should be conveyed. When providing details of the positions you held, include three pieces of information:

1. Basic responsibilities, industry or company specific information.

2. Specific skills required.

3. Accomplishments/achievements

Try and keep responsibilities brief. Devote more space to your accomplishments. If your job title is relatively explanatory you do not need to go into detail on the specifics. For instance if you were a "Customer Service Representative", you need not explain what a customer service representative does.

Whenever describing accomplishments be precise. If possible, quantify your results. For example, "reorganized order processing procedures to reduce time required by 30%."

Chronological Format Examples

Here is an example for someone involved in software sales:

Software Consultant: Aerosoft Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia (1999-present).


Promotions are something you should be proud to communicate, but they are often not conveyed clearly. One way to display that you have been with a company for a long time and received promotions is to first list the company name, location, and when you first started with the company. Then list your most recent position and how long you’ve held that position, along with your responsibilities and accomplishments. Following this should be the position you held before and so on.

Promotion Example

Bigstar Development Corporation - Toronto, Ont., 1984 – present

Marketing Director – 1992 - present

Oversee regional marketing departments.

Developed marketing plans for 4 regional campaigns.

Increased total sales by 15% annually.

Western Marketing Manager – 1988 – 1992

Oversaw implementation of marketing plans.

Supervised 14 sales executives.

Increased western market share from 16% in 1989 to 35% in 1991.


Marketing & Sales Executive – 1984 – 1988

Managed total of 16 sales accounts, 8 of which were among firm’s top 15 high volume customers.

Achieved highest sales in 1996 and 1997.

You can use the sledgehammer approach and add "Promoted to..." in the titles if you feel they will miss the hint.

Functional Format

The functional form is useful when:

Generally employers dislike this format because they assume you have something to hide.

How is a functional resume different from a chronological resume?

Most parts of a functional resume are similar to those in the chronological resume except for work experience and accomplishments. In a functional resume experiences are divided into general areas of skill. The experience, qualifications, and accomplishments related to each skill are listed in these separate skill sections.

To determine skill areas, think of skills that you wish to highlight and those that the employer is seeking. Under each skill category you should list four or five of your most impressive accomplishments or abilities. Depending on the position you may wish highlight anywhere from two to five skills.


Here is an example of one person who is applying for a technical-oriented position:

Programming Skills

Three years experience as Oracle DBA.

Developed and maintained 20 projects running on VM/CMS and MVS mainframe platform, coded in COBOL.

Network Administration Skills

Three years experience as Network Administrator.
Exceeded hard deadlines to set up company network of forty-five computers.

Able to work without direction and identify areas to improve efficiency.


Use acronyms only if you're sure the employer will understand them.

Education of the  Resume

As stated in the overview, in general educational information follows the job experience section. However, put your greatest asset first – whether that be education or experience.

Unless education is your only selling point, only include the basic details: name and location of school, graduation date, degree and major area of study, and relevant/noteworthy awards and accomplishments. The order in which you present this material depends upon what you want to emphasize the most. If you graduated from a well known school, place that first, followed by the degree that you attained.

If you didn’t graduate from the program, and aren’t planning on completing it, you can still include what you did complete. Simply state the school and program, duration of attendance, and the total number of credits you completed. However, if you have attended several institutions without completing a program at any of them, then listing all of these will suggest that you do not finish what you start and will work against you.

Include high school only if you haven’t attended a post secondary institution. Include your GPA if it is greater than a B+ average. If you ranked in the top 10% of your class or better or received honours then it may be useful to include that. However, you can also mention awards in a separate "Awards & Honours" section, as detailed in the Accessories section. If you have had unique educational experiences such as a foreign exchange, a seminar with a famous professor, a research assistant position, etc., include them to demonstrate that you go beyond the ordinary and welcome challenges.

You should also include any licenses, special training, or certifications you have received. If you have several of these to list, you may wish to include a separate section called "Training & Certification", "Special Training", or "Professional Licenses", etc. Licenses should include the name and type of license, where it is valid (if appropriate), and date acquired. Special training should include the name of the course, name & location of institution, and completion date.



Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Graduated with honours, BA 1998


BA: Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (1998)

Certificate: Dale Carnegie Public Speaking (1996)

Resume Accessories

Your resume can stand out if you go beyond your skills and experiences. Remember however, that skills and experiences are still the meat of your resume, so don't overdo it with these extras.

Awards and Honours

Honours and recognitions can be written in the body of a resume, along with a professional history. Include only those awards and honours that will show the appropriate character for the job you are applying towards. It is tempting to include awards from only the most prestigious donors. It is more important to include awards that relate to the job opening. A position in sales will be complimented by awards with public involvement rather than academic awards.

Professional and Social Affiliations

Often when you have been working in your field for several years you may belong to a professional association. Membership in professional associations conveys to the employer that not only that you are currently a contributing member of your profession, but also that you have a desire to enhance your knowledge and skills for your own future, and that you are committed to the future of your vocation. Its good to list the associations which you have contributed your time and effort. Avoid including associations in which you have had very little involvement as this will take away from your other associations

Avoid mentioning controversial causes that you are involved with unless you only want to work with people who sympathize with your beliefs. Outlier social groups are not often looked upon favorably by employers and should be included with due consideration.\

Technical Expertise/Computer Skills

It is especially useful to include computer skills when applying for positions that require such knowledge. If you have technical skills that haven't been used in a job yet, you might wish to place them here.

Hobbies & Outside Interests

This section is often combined with other sections such as Memberships and Activities. If you include this section, keep it short. One or two lines should be sufficient. Include items that complement the position you are applying for. For instance if you are applying to be a physical education instructor, listing that you enjoy sports is a good idea. Be careful not to tell everything about yourself - save something for the interview.

Teaching Assignments

If you have conducted, facilitated, or taught any courses, seminars, workshops, etc, you should include them on your resume. These experiences illustrate leadership, confidence and interpersonal skills.


Unless Military service or other activities are directly related to the position, you should keep them brief (one or two lines at the most). Ensure that you translate experience related jargon to plain English so that the prospective employer can understand it.


Many of these facts can be placed in one section, like this:

If you've read this far, congratulations! Your resume is well on its way to helping you in your job search. We have more tips for you in the following sections to tidy up your resume, as well as sample resumes that you can compare your own resume to.