Which Resume Format is Best for Me?

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

I don't know about you, but I was always taught there were 3 resume format types.

It almost makes me want to go dust off my old business writing book from college just to make sure there wasn't some hidden fine print.

Regardless of the fact that times are a'changin', there are not 3 basic types of resumes anymore...

There are now 4 resume formats!

Ugh, it was bad enough trying to figure out which resume type I should use before they added a new one to the mix, right?

You may be thinking:

"Errrrr, which resume format should I use?"

Or

"Which resume format is the most versatile?"

Don't worry! Picking a resume type doesn't have to be some big, huge ordeal...like trying to decide which flavor of ice cream and what mix-ins you want at the local Cold Stone Creamery.

So, exactly HOW do we make this decision easier?

Well, it all depends on where you are in the life-cycle of your career. 

Honestly, that's the main thing that dictates which format you should choose

One last to note about resumes and business in general:

What one manager loves, another manager hates. You can’t please ‘em all. So, just do the best you can and relax.
— Stephanie B.

Soooo....

You're basically playing Russian Roulette no matter WHAT you do.

That means it's probably a good idea not to stress too much over the formatting. The main thing is to make sure you have great content and the rest will follow.

That being said, if you're continually getting no response or have negative feedback about your resume you might want to seriously consider hiring a professional resume writer or make sure your online profiles aren't scaring them off!

Now, let's get to the good stuff:

Chronological Resume

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

This resume format is best if you've been in your field for awhile.

It lists your skills and work experience in reverse chronological order.

That means it starts with your most recent job and goes back from there.

Example

Downloadable Templates

Advantages

  • Highly scannable because information is arranged to be viewed easily
  • Flexible and easily updated because you usually only need to add your latest job at the top of the resume
  • A standardized, neat, and organized format that's accepted and recognized by every (US) employer

Disadvantages

  • Emphasizes large gaps in employment, short-term employment, or wildly different job titles
  • Not economical because you're often forced to include information that's not relevant to the position your applying for
  • The format most dependent upon past experience in the field you're applying for

 

Functional Resume

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

Functional resumes focus on the skills and personality traits specific to the position you're applying for.

It summarizes your experience and highlights a "particular set of skills" without focusing on the amount of time you spent at any one job.

It's the preferred choice for individuals changing careers, those who have a hodgepodge of unrelated jobs, or people with little to no formal experience.

Example

Downloadable Templates

 

Advantages

  • Great for those who change jobs a lot, are transitioning careers, or are just starting out
  • Useful for de-emphasizing employment gaps
  • Focuses on transferrable skills and those of us who haven't taken traditional career paths 

Disadvantages

  • Not easily scannable due to being an unfamiliar format
  • Some employers will automatically discount you for the position because they assume lack of practical experience
  • Downplays work experience and particular employers who might be more impressive in a different format

Combination/Hybrid Resume

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

This resume type is a combination of the Functional and Chronological resumes.

Typically, they begin with a list of job skills and personality traits specific to the position being applied for.

Then, they have a section which includes a reverse chronological list of past positions.

Example

Downloadable Templates

Advantages

  • Emphasizes/highlights your skills as well as provides relevant information in chronological format
  • Good for those changing careers or with little relevant work history
  • Can be particularly appealing due to it's eye-catching appeal as well as being highly informative.

Disadvantages

  • Can sometimes be longer than Functional or Chronological resumes
  • Is often repetitive when similar skills or jobs are listed in close succession
  • Chronological portion of the resume can highlight unrelated experience, gaps in employment, or unconventional career paths

Targeted 

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

Targeted resumes are similar to Combination/Hybrid resumes because they are also a fusion of both the Functional and Chronological resume formats.

Targeted resumes differ from Combination/Hybrid resumes because they also show the specific goals of the potential employer that you want to complete.

This means it's not the typical generic resume that can be sent off to many employers.

Instead, this resume type is specifically tailored to the job opening and company you are applying to. 

They're considerably more impressive and well-received than the other, more generic resumes, for obvious reasons. 

Plus, they include a reverse chronological list of past positions.

Example

Downloadable Templates*

*Format same as combination, it's just the wording of the resume itself is specifically tailored to the position you are applying for.

Advantages

  • Emphasizes/highlights your skills as well as provides relevant information in chronological format
  • Specifically tailored to the job you're applying for
  • Can be a show-stopper due to the eye-catching, yet informative, appeal

Disadvantages

  • Can sometimes be longer than Functional or Chronological resumes
  • Can be repetitive when similar skills or jobs are listed in close succession
  • Chronological portion of the resume can highlight unrelated experience, gaps in employment, or unconventional career paths

Here's a nifty chart I whipped up to help you choose which resume might be best for you:

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

Got your resume written but want to bump it up a notch?

Make sure to check out these 3 tips for an outstanding resume

 

Join the Facebook group #LevelUp Your Career for support from others looking to achieve career success.

Which Resume Type Do You Use and Why?

 
Which Resume Format is Best for Me - Career Makeover Academy
 

Stephanie Berchiolly

Career Makeover Academy, 1002 North Meridian Avenue STE 100-PMB 180, Puyallup, WA, 98372

Teaching you the skills to get a new job or change to a career that you love.