I am a soon-to-graduate undergrad/grad student (it is complicated) and been to three different institutions (some in parallel), sometimes leaving for a while and returning afterwards. Meanwhile I was involved with 2 internships and some major projects that were sometimes also in parallel with my studies.

My idea, to avoid confusion and also for some graphical appeal, was to make two columns, the first with education and the second with internships / projects side by side making some kind of timeline, maybe with vertical lines indicating when stuff began and ended.

It is an early idea so I haven't put anything in paper, but would you think it is a good idea or unnecessary / excessively fancy? Any examples of people who successfully did this?

  • 2
    Do not go fancy. Put things in Chronological order. If things occur twice put one after another. People that look at CVs do not have much time
    – Ed Heal
    Jul 31, 2015 at 23:17
  • The goal would be precisely to be clearer because people do not have much time to understand what's happened. Wouldn't people appreciate the fact that I've put some effort about trying to be clear in a non-standard way or just prefer the normal stuff?
    – gsmafra
    Jul 31, 2015 at 23:40
  • Put work experience first (in chronological order). Add your universities to the education section. In my industry we don't really care where you went to University (just if you did and what degree you achieved). Aug 1, 2015 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


In general, getting creative with resume formats is a bad idea. It may be useful if the job you're applying for happens to involve designing printed materials but for the vast majority of jobs, you're going to cause more problems for yourself.

First off, a large number of people won't ever see your printed resume. Your resume will get scanned in to the system they use to do recruiting, that system will attempt to parse out things like education and job history, and then people will do searches on the information that the system parsed out. Computers generally don't deal well with non-obvious formatting.

Second, when a human does review a printed resume, particularly for the sort of entry-level position that a new graduate is likely to be applying for, they're going to spend something like 30-60 seconds. If you use a relatively standard format, it's pretty easy for a hiring manager to pick up your resume, find the information he or she is looking for, and move on. If you use a different format, even if someone that looks at it for 10 seconds agrees that it is clearer, you've spent up to a third of the hiring manager's time budget just in deciphering the format. If the hiring manager can't instantly find the information they're looking for, there is little downside to them to pass you over rather than spending more time to understand your resume.

Finally, it doesn't seem very likely that this information is all that important to the hiring manager. From an education standpoint, for example, 99% of the people that will ever review your resume just want to find out what degree you got, what institution you graduated from, and when you graduated (if it was recently). The fact that you took classes at a bunch of different universities over a bunch of years really doesn't matter that much. If you really want to list those institutions you can, particularly if you don't have a lot of other material to include, but that's probably going to be one of the first things that you remove from your resume as you get more professional experience that you want to include.

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