There are three resume formats you can use for your resume: chronological, functional and hybrid. Each format serves up a different purpose which makes it important to know which of these formats will best advertise your unique professional experience. We wrote a short guide to help you decide which format is most fitting for you – each format is defined and provides the resume templates that best compliment it.
Choose a Resume Format
The 3 Resume Formats
Why use a chronological resume format? The chronological resume format emphasizes strong work experience by focusing on consistent employment. This format is ideal for jobseekers who have worked in occupations relevant to the job they are applying for. This is the most popular format because it is versatile and appropriate for many industries.
Why use a functional resume format? The functional format highlights your achievements and skills without calling your work history to attention. It is ideal for those who have little relevant employment experience. This group can include recent college graduates, those without a steady career direction, or anyone changing industries.
Why use a hybrid resume format? Hybrid resume formats allow you to show recruiters a detailed look at your work experience. They combine the previous two styles, demonstrating your consistent employment and the skills you gained in your various jobs. This format is great for giving employers a fuller picture of who you are as an employee.
5 Things To Keep in Mind When Choosing a Format
“Resume format” does not refer to the design of your resume but rather to the way in which you organize and highlight your work history and work experience. There are three different resume formats from which you can choose to impress hiring managers: a reverse chronological resume, a functional resume, or a hybrid of both. Below are five key things to keep in mind when choosing the resume format that works best for your goals.
Amount of Job Experience
Before writing your resume, think about your job experience. If you have minimal job experience, use a functional format to illuminate your strengths as opposed to your work experience. If you have some job experience in various fields, a hybrid format may be the best way to appeal to recruiters.
If you have a significant amount of job experience in the same field, use a reverse chronological resume to showcase your employment and education, beginning with the most recent and working backward. However, if you have diverse job experience or are new to the workforce, you may want to consider creating a functional or hybrid resume.
Do you have significant job history gaps? If so, a chronological document may not be the best format for you, as it may unwittingly draw attention to those gaps. Functional and hybrid resume formats work well to showcase skills and talents above experience and help jobseekers appeal to recruiters.
Chronological Is Best
If you look up resume format examples, you may notice that most resume templates utilize a reverse chronological format. This is because the average recruiter prefers this template over all others, as it’s easy to scan, read, and understand. The only instance in which functional or hybrid formats may be best is if you are new to the workforce or are transitioning into a new career.
Simple Resume Format Is Better
The most professional resume format is a simple format. Make sure your document has plenty of white space, has clear and bold headings, and is easily scannable. For a better idea of what makes for a strong resume, peruse our site for resume example documents and templates.
Best Resume Formats
Format for easy scanning. The first time recruiters read through your resume, they won't do anything more than scan for your best information. Choose a format that makes this easy.
Focus on accomplishments Show employers your worth by drawing attention to accomplishments, examples of problem-solving, and specific ways you saved your employers money.
Proofread and improve. Misspellings and grammatical mistakes make a bad impression on potential employers. Outdated email addresses and incomplete contact information can also put you out of the running.
A resume format fit for any situation. The chronological resume format is one of the most familiar ways to communicate your skills and experience and can be effective in any field.
Communicate your experience clearly. When applying to jobs, one of your goals is to communicate your prior work experience. This layout is a great way to explain that history.
Highlight impressive prior positions. For jobseekers who have worked at well-known organizations or held impressive job titles, this template is great at emphasizing those high points.
Emphasize your best experiences. The functional resume focuses on shining a light on the best of your accomplishments from your work and education.
Ideal for non-chronological and entry-level resumes. If you have some gaps in your work history or are just starting your career, a functional format allows you to focus on accomplishments rather than timeline.
Highlight what you can do. This resume format is all about your capabilities, so it is great if you want to communicate what you can do more than your career history.
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Show off your best information. A hybrid resume format puts your top qualifications front and center to grab employers' attention and follows up with a clear timeline of your experience.
Create two distinct sections. The first section of a hybrid includes your most impressive skills and accomplishments. A work experience timeline makes up the second section.
Flexibility of the hybrid. A hybrid is appropriate for any jobseeker and is especially helpful for older and very young applicants, candidates with an employment gap, and those reentering the job market.
5 Components That All Job-Winning Resumes Have
Smart jobseekers follow a formula to make resume writing fast and simple. The trick is to use one of the many top resume formats when putting together your own form. Our resume formats let jobseekers easily place all their skills and achievements into an easy-to-read document. An effective resume format has five key parts. Include a section for your contact details, a summary statement, a list of skills, your work history, and your educational credentials.
Select resume section:
Avoid making careless mistakes on your contact information at the top of your resume. Make sure the employer can easily contact you by putting this vital information at the top of your resume. List your full name, your phone number, your email address, and your professional social media contacts.
Write an attention-grabbing summary statement that speaks to the employer. Create a written version of an elevator pitch. Describe your top selling points that make you a good hire to get the employer’s interest. Write two or three ideas and take away pronouns to make it more compelling to the reader.
List your most marketable talents in the skills section. Focus on the most important skills for the job and helpful soft skills. Write your skills section in a simple-to-digest bulleted list. Create your skills list for the exact position and pay attention to details from the job description.
Write a chronological history of your job and industry-specific work experiences. Your work history section helps you showcase your accomplishments in your professional life. Use a variety of strong action verbs and specific numbers and details to make this section paint a picture of your success.
Include your academic and training background, starting with the most recent credentials.Include brief details about college degrees, trade schools, certifications, and other classes you have taken that relate to the job or industry. List the degree or credential title, program name, educational institution, and year you completed each item.
How We Help You Build Your Resume
The key to writing a great resume begins with selecting the right resume format. Search our database of resume formats to find the best template for you, and then use our resume builder to craft a compelling document that gets recruiters’ attention. Below are step-by-step instructions for how to do so.
Resume Samples Help with Creativity
Viewing sample resumes is a good start to help jobseekers create their own resumes.Our collection features several resume templates from which applicants can choose.
Choose a Format To Build Your Own Resume
Though our sample chronological resume formats are ready for you to plug in your work history and other accomplishments, each of our resume templates is customizable. If you can’t find the ideal resume example, use the tool’s drag and drop feature to add and remove sections as you please.
Error Free Resumes
There isn’t a recruiter out there who won’t immediately discard a resume riddled with errors. Fortunately, the resume builder offers thorough guidance designed to prevent obvious and not-so-obvious errors. The result is often a document worthy of becoming a resume example.
Use Proven Phrases To Add to Your Resume
Not sure exactly how to highlight an accomplishment, or maybe you don’t know how to discuss a particular qualification that may interest a recruiter? Our resume builder doesn’t just come with thousands of professional resume formats, but it’s also fully equipped with just as many pre-written, proven phrases tailored to particular positions.
Download and Send
Once you’ve completed your resume, download the finished document directly to your computer for easy printing. You can send it via PDF or Microsoft Word format.
For access to proven resume formats and resume templates, and for step-by-step assistance creating a winning resume, use our free resume builder.
Resume Formats FAQs
What is a functional resume format like?
A functional resume is more skills-based than chronological. To create this type of resume, you typically start with a skills section. Follow each entry with a bullet point list of accomplishments that backs up your claim. If you have work experience to report, list it at the bottom in reverse-chronological order.
What is a chronological resume format like?
You format a chronological resume in reverse-chronological order, meaning you begin with your most recent position and work backward. This way, your prospective employer can see what you’ve done lately before digging into the jobs you had when you were less experienced.
What is the standard resume format?
Chronological style is usually considered the standard resume format. Recruiters are used to reviewing chronological resumes, so using this format may increase the likelihood that the hiring manager will read your document instead of passing it over.
What kind of resume format should I use?
The type of resume format you choose depends on your goals and where you are in your career. You usually can’t go wrong with a classic, chronological resume, but if you’re changing careers, you may want to consider a functional or hybrid format.
Which resume format is most versatile?
The hybrid resume is the most versatile. You may want to use it if you are changing careers or don’t have a lot of experience in the field yet. The advantage of the hybrid format is that it highlights your relevant skills while preserving the familiar chronological layout.
What resume is best for an entry-level position?
It’s best to use a chronological resume for an entry-level position, although it’s tempting to use a functional or skills-based resume to hide the fact that you don’t have much experience. Remember, though, that you can include volunteer work, internships and other unpaid experience in your employment history section.