Talent Knows No Limits
Young man with visual impairment
It’s helpful to think of the resume as a "personal advertisement"

Job Seeker's Toolkit



In this section:

Attention-Getting Resumes

Chronological and Functional Resumes

Cover Letters

Pre-Employment Testing

Interviewing Skills

Interview Accommodations


Chronological and Functional Resumes

Chronological Format

Functional Format

Information to be Included

Good format to present steady work history, with no big gaps and recent experience that’s relevant to target career/job.

Preferred format if:

  • gaps in work history
  • changing careers
  • relevant experience was over 5 years ago

Vital Statistics

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • e-mail address
  • web site address (optional; may disclose personal info employer doesn’t have right to know)

Same as Chronological format

Statement of Career Objective

  • Should capture reader’s attention
  • States specific career/job goal and what job seeker can offer employer
  • Avoid "self-serving" statements

Basically same but may also include a brief statement of background explaining why person is seeking this position, if a career change.


  • List chronologically starting with most recent
  • Include name of school, location, degree/certificate earned, and date.
  • Drop high school diploma after college degrees earned.

Same as chronological format, but omits dates of attendance and completion.

Work History & Experience

  • Recap experiences relevant to target job
  • List in reverse order: most recent first
  • List specific duties and accomplishments in each job.

Focus on:

  • Functions performed
  • Experience gained
  • Skills developed
  • Avoid listing dates

Military Experience

  • List: branch of service, dates, rank, assignments, type/date of discharge
  • Highlight skills gained that are relevant to job.

Same as Chronological format, but omit service dates if age is an issue.

Special Skills & Abilities

Special emphasis on skills that are relevant to job, and not addressed elsewhere on resume

Same as Chronological format


  • Can reflect important stills and attributes, e.g., leadership, motivation, commitment.
  • Caution: may disclose disability, e.g., participation in "Special Olympics".
  • May remove employer’s fear regarding physical capabilities

Same as Chronological format

Community Activities

  • Emphasize leadership positions
  • Highlight experience gained that would be useful to employer

Same as Chronological format

Honors & Awards

Academic, civic, business, or athletic honors that reflect valued attributes.

Same as Chronological format

Professional Associations

  • List those relevant to career field
  • Emphasize leadership positions

Same as Chronological format



  • List references on resume
  • List on separate sheet and attach if requested

Same as Chronological format

What should NOT go on a resume?

Some information should not go on a resume -- it’s best to omit anything that could potentially screen out the applicant from the hiring process:

Addressing Gaps in Work History

If a person (with or without disabilities) has significant periods of unemployment or gaps in their work history, those gaps may raise a "red flag" to employers. If a job seeker with a disability has had periods of unemployment, One-Stop staff should help the person develop strategies to address these gaps proactively and in a positive light.

The first question issue is timing – when is the best time to address it?

There is no single best approach for everyone; the timing should be based on what’s comfortable for the job seeker. Consider:

Writing a Resume to Minimize Impact of Employment Gaps

The traditional resume (organized chronologically) can call attention to such issues as gaps in work history or limited work experience. Consider other approaches that minimize the importance of gaps in experience and work history:

Another method is to write a personal profile, instead of a traditional resume, that presents a person’s abilities, skills and interests in a positive manner. This format can be particularly useful for individuals who have limited work experience.

Using a non-traditional resume format possibly implies that something is awry, but it at least allows the applicant to spotlight strengths, not deficits. A resume is a marketing tool, not a biography. It should get the employer’s attention quickly and move the job search forward. A personal profile can help the employer see past the disability and view the job seeker as an individual with various interests and abilities.

Explaining Gaps in Work History

It is important to develop appropriate ways to explain employment gaps, because the chances are that employer will ask about it. The answer should minimize the negative impact on a person’s job prospects, and must also feel comfortable to the job seeker.

The explanation must not be misleading, but should create as positive a perception as possible with the facts of what the person did when they weren’t working. The employer does not have a right to the job seeker’s complete life history, only to that information which is relevant to the individual’s ability to perform the essential functions of a position. Possible explanations of why a person has gaps in employment might include:

Job seekers vary significantly in their comfort level concerning providing information on work history gaps, or any other personal disclosure issue. However, even in cases where the job seeker decides to be fairly open, he/she should only provide the information that is truly necessary. There is no reason to provide extensive details; in fact, giving too much information could even make the employer uncomfortable.

Emphasize the Present, Not the Past

Ultimately, the most important strategy is to emphasize current activities. The job seeker needs to demonstrate that:

This is also where having done some temporary work assignments, short-term job tryouts, internships, etc., can be helpful, as they can help diminish any concerns the employer may have, and demonstrate an individual’s current capabilities.

Contacting Employers & Scheduling Interviews

When ready to begin contacting employers, consider these issues:

Consider the implications of applicable issues and various options for addressing them. The bottom line is that the strategies used must:

Next Go to next page

This information was developed in partnership with the EmployABILITY program of the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department, created in collaboration with the Los Angeles City Workforce Investment Board, to create career empowerment for persons with disabilities.

Employability Partnership       Workforce Investment Board       Work Source California Building Business and Careers