Deciding which format to use when writing your new resume is crucial to presenting yourself in the most professional and appropriate manner depending on your career goals, experience, and education. Here is a brief overview of each format and when to use each one.
Entry Level Format
For those just starting out, typically your resume will not extend past one page. This is perfectly normal. Make sure to include your name and contact information at the top followed by a clear objective description of what you are looking for in terms of a position. Generally, education is listed first as this is the bulk of your qualifications and then list experience in reverse chronological format. Each position can be followed by a brief job description as well as a few achievements. If your work experience does not necessarily line up with your current career focus, keep the job descriptions short and only include achievements that highlight abilities that would be transferrable to your new career.
Reverse Chronological Format
The reverse chronological resume format is the most traditional layout used, for good reason. When your resume is reviewed for only an average of 30 seconds by hiring managers it is essential to present the information simply and in an organized manner. This format outlines your most relevant work history and qualifications in reverse chronological order, hence the name, so that the reader can quickly catch your notable abilities. This format is most used if the professional has had consistent work history and a fairly direct career path in a similar or closely related field.
Read here for more information on writing an Executive Resume.
Functional Resume Format
For those with unique situations such as a gap in employment, a change of career direction, or any number of particulars, the functional format is for you. Listing qualifications, achievements, or accomplishments that could be transferred to your targeted position first gives the reader an idea of your capabilities without initially highlighting your unique situation. While your work experience is commonly still in reverse chronological format, the job descriptions are brief or not included at all. This allows for the majority of the focus to be placed on transferrable skills or previous accomplishments. It is necessary to stay honest with the information, however it is also possible to showcase your strengths first and minimize the attention given to your unique situation.
Combination Resume Format
There are some cases where unique situations lie in the recent past however, currently your position or qualifications are directly in line with your career focus. This would likely be a situation where a mix of both the reverse chronological and functional format would be best. Initially emphasizing qualifications, achievements, or accomplishments are often listed first but kept brief and to a minimum. Then work experience in reverse chronological order follows.
It is essential that you choose the best format for your career goals and current situation in order that your resume lands on the top of the pile. For more information on resume writing tips or why to use a professional resume writer, check out our other articles and helpful advice today!