There are 3 types of resume formats. The resume format that you choose should be based on your work experience and the optimal strategy to make that experience relevant to the job that you are applying to. When choosing what resume format to use, keep the following considerations in mind:
- What resume format will shed light on your strengths and draw attention away from your weaknesses?
- What “statement” do you want to make and what resume format will allow you to best make that statement?
- The typical resume format that most people use is the chronological resume format. Is there a good reason to depart from that format?
Following are the three main types of resume formats:
Reverse Chronological Resume Format
Reverse chronological resumes list the candidate’s work experience starting from the most recent one based on the premise that it is also the most relevant to the job. That is often true for career-oriented people looking for another job in the same field. A reverse chronological resume has the advantage of showing a natural progression. Some employers like to see where you come from and how you progressed over the years. The reverse chronological resume is the most commonly used resume format.
Advantages of this resume format:
- It showcases your most recent work experience first. If your current position or your most recent position is in line with the position you are seeking, this format is ideal because it shows that you have recent and relevant experience.
- It shows your career progression. If you’ve been working since graduation and have been steadily climbing the ladder, this format should give a good overview of what you have achieved.
Disadvantages of this format:
- If you have a gap in your career, this format will make it obvious. People who stayed home to raise their children will usually face this problem.
- If you intend to change career, the most recent position that you held may not be relevant to the position that you are seeking.
- You may feel that the positions that you have held in the past do not accurately reflect your true potential or all that you have to offer.
The above are only some of the considerations that you should keep in mind when deciding whether or not to use a reverse chronological resume format. If you don’t feel this resume format is right for you, consider the functional resume format or the hybrid resume format.
Functional Resume Format
Functional resumes list a candidate’s experience by skills set. This resume format is used most often when a person decides to switch career, when a person has held many different types of jobs during his career, or when there has been a prolonged period of absence from the workforce. The focus is therefore no longer on “career progression,” but instead on “transferable skills.”
The typical functional resume will discuss your qualifications and your work history under separate headings. The qualifications section will go in detail about your skills set, but need not reference where you acquired those skills. The emphasis is on what you can offer. Within the qualifications section, you can have subheadings each targeted at a specific skill that you have. For instance, if you are applying for a position as a proprietary trader, you can have two headings, one for technical analysis and one for fundamental analysis.
Typically, after the qualifications section, you will have the work experience section. In this section, you can list your career progression, but you don’t need to specify what you did for each job. You only need to list your previous places of employment.
Whatever your reasons may be to stray away from the chronological resume format, make sure that you structure your functional resume in a way that makes sense, as opposed to hinting that there is something wrong that you want to hide. The functional resume format can be very powerful. It’s up to you to leverage its strength.
Hybrid Resume Format
The hybrid resume format is a combination of the reverse chronological resume format and the functional resume format. In the hybrid resume format, there are typically two sections. One section dealing with your skills set and one section dealing with your work experience.
The section dealing with your skills set will discuss your qualifications. The section dealing with your work experience will list your previous places of employment. However, as opposed to the functional resume format, the work experience section can be more descriptive.
More Resources on Resume Formats
If you want to read up more on resume formats, following are additional resources:
- Functional Resume — Friend or Foe?
- The Hybrid Resume
- The Accomplishment Based Resume
- Resume Formats: Choosing the Right One is the Key to Success
- The Federal Resume