Which Resume Format Should I Use?

What is the Best Resume Format

As we continue to progress towards a fully automated driven recruiting process for employers and candidates, resume formats will become more uniform and resume page length more standardized.

However, there are still several traditional resume formats used that will probably remain for some time.

Most professionally written resumes, regardless of what style or template incorporated, will fall under five general types: 1) chronological, 2) functional, 3) combined, 4) skills, and 5) performance resumes.

Chronological Resume Format

The chronological resume is the most common format that most candidates use. The chronological format’s main feature is that it presents a candidate’s work history in a detailed, chronological order that will start with the most recent employment and work backwards from there.

The typical layout is professional resume summary, work experience, and education. The chronological resume works particularly well for people whose careers have proceeded in a steady and progressive fashion without unemployment gaps.

Chronological resumes showcase that a candidate is focused and underlies a person’s motivation to grow in their career.

Although chronological resumes work best for most people, they are not for everyone. A person who is re-entering the workforce after an extended period of unemployment for any reason (school, raising children, health issues, etc.) should use another format since the chronological resume will only draw attention to the employment gap.

Functional Resume Format

Functional resumes are great for clients reentering the workforce or for a person who has experience in different industries. The typical functional format is professional summary, accomplishments, skills/capabilities, employment, and education.

Immediately highlighting your achievements focuses the recruiter’s attention on the value you can bring regardless of the industries you’ve worked in.

After presenting your achievements, you can then include a curtailed version of your work experience since that is not what you wish to emphasize.

Functional resume formats are best to accentuate your most marketable information.

Combined Resume Format

What is the Best Resume Format

The combined resumes integrate the features of a chronological and functional resume format and are typically presented with an opening summary, accomplishments, work experience, education, and certifications.

The combined resume format looks very similar to a chronological format but also includes the accomplishments before the candidate’s work experience.

The combined resume format has been proven to be one of the strongest resume styles since it will show a candidate’s achievements that are supported by a strong and progressive work history.  

Skills Resume Format

The skills format is great for people who have extensive experience in one particular field and would apply for one specific job title. The skills format will feature a candidate’s skills and unique qualifications that closely match the job description with a work history to substantiate it.

The skills format will include a professional summary that adheres to the job description with the targeted title, directly relevant skills, key qualifications, employment, and education. The skills format is highly applicable for IT professionals or those trying to get a job in IT who typically specialize in one area.

Performance Resume Format

Just as the skills resume is a more robust version of a chronological resume, the performance resume is a heightened version of a functional resume.

The performance format stresses a person’s extensive background while de-emphasizing their work experience, which is applicable for people who are less specialized and may have worked in more than one industry.

The typical performance format includes an opening summary, accomplishments, qualifications, skills, history, optional sections, and education.

Although technology is rapidly expanding and changing the foundation of applying for jobs, the five resume formats (chronological, functions, combines, skills, and performance) still reign supreme.

Knowing which format is best suited to your particular situation will greatly enhance your chances for getting an interview.    

Maria Gold is a Content Manager/Writer for Empire Resume. She is dedicated to helping educate and motivate people with the latest career articles and job search advice. Her interests range from writing to programming and design. She is also passionate about innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.

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