Resume Format Guide – Which Format to Use

We help you pick the right resume format to get hired

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Best Resume Formats

Table of Contents

  1. Chronological, Functional, or Hybrid Resume Format?
  2. More Professional Resume Format Examples
  3. Best Resume Format: Writing Tips

Did you know that the average amount of time that recruiters and hiring managers spend looking at a resume is six seconds? Even more alarming: many large companies employ applicant tracking systems (ATS) to pre-filter—and in many cases, reject—resumes before they even reach human hands.

What does this disturbing news mean to a jobseeker in the 21st century? Well for one, it means your resume needs to be in pristine, tip-top shape. And a big part of making your resume shine is a proper resume format. Luckily, we’ve got you covered in. Explore our vast collection of formats and then we can help you pick one that will work best for your needs.


Chronological, Functional, or Hybrid Resume Format?

Understanding the type of format that will work best for your employment needs is of critical importance. While you might think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to resumes and their formats, that’s not the truth. There are options. Let’s define the three most common resume formats, and explain how—and why—you might choose to use one.

Tip: It’s easy to go the standard (translation: best-known) route and create a chronological resume in our builder. You can also find ways to turn your chronological resume into a functional one, or a hybrid.

Chronological Resume

A chronological resume is the standard resume format. To build it, list jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent job, and then moving backward.A chronological resume typically includes a summary (before the work history), as well as an education section and a skills section (both following work history). Consider choosing the chronological resume format if you’re looking to stay within the same industry throughout your career, for it provides a clear view of your progress.

Benefits:

•Preferred format of recruiters and hiring managers who can quickly and easily check an applicant’s job titles and work history
•Clearly shows off the companies you’ve worked for, and length of employment
•Provides a concise snapshot of your work history

Best for:

•Jobseekers with a solid work history
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Functional Resume

A functional resume is a less-common format. In this format, you group jobs by type, and not necessarily in chronological order. Unlike the chronological resume, skills and related achievements take center stage in the functional resume. You place less emphasis on work history—in fact, this section will typically appear towards the bottom of the resume.A functional resume also typically includes a summary (before the skills section) and an education section (following the skills section).The functional format is great for people new to the workforce, with gaps in their employment history, or those embarking on a career change since the functional resume downplays work history and brings marketable skills to the forefront.

Benefits:

•Skills are highlighted
•Less emphasis is placed on work history

Best for:

•Jobseekers with limited work experience, those who are changing careers, or individuals with gaps in their work history
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Hybrid Resume

A hybrid resume is a combination of both resume formats. A hybrid resume combines the skills focus of the functional resume with the work history fixation of the chronological resume. It’s a best-of-both-worlds approach to resume writing—a format that works nicely for recent college graduates and career changers, as well as seasoned professionals who have worked many similar positions.

Benefits:

•Skills and work experience share the spotlight in this format
•Less emphasis is placed on work history

Best for:

•Recent college graduates and those making career changes
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Best Resume Format: Writing Tips

Read the resume format below and click the show buttons in each section to understand the best resume format writing tips for each part of your resume. Follow these tips to create your own world-class resume using our resume builder.

Length is CrucialAim for a one-page resume, but if you’ve been in the professional work world for a while, you can extend to two pages. A general rule of thumb with resume length is one page for every decade of experience. Don’t squeeze 20 years of experience into a single page or you miss detailing critical information about your experience. Recent grads and those applying for entry-level roles should always keep it to one page.Format is Crucial, TooThis applicant’s name stands out nicely thanks to the use of color and a slightly larger font size. A splash of color is acceptable for most fields, but for more traditional or conservative roles, stick with black and white. When considering which font to use, aim for one that is easy to read. Times New Roman is always a safe bet
Sell Yourself FastYou need to make the recruiter or hiring manager sit up and take notice instantly. And one of the best ways to do that is by writing a thoughtful yet concise summary statement. Think of it as your 30-second elevator pitch to a potential employer. Provide a succinct overview of your experience, two or three valuable skill sets, and some key soft skills.
Note Your Areas of ExpertiseHere’s your chance to pack your resume with the keywords and phrases that tie to the particular job you’re after, as well as the industry you’re looking to work in. You stand a better chance of getting you resume past an ATS and into the hands of a human if you zero in on the keywords that are most relevant to the job at hand.

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Make Your Experience Pack a PunchYour experience section needs to be concise, yet comprehensive. Master that balancing act by using five to eight bullet points in place of paragraphs to your tasks and responsibilities in each position. Include specifics on successful projects and actions you took that resulted in positive outcomes and include data wherever possible 

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Use Action VerbsRemember, your goal is to capture the attention of a hiring manager or a recruiter. Start every bullet point with an action verb, just like this jobseeker did. You’ll sound very non-action-oriented if you start off every bullet point with something robotic like “responsible for” or “accountable for.”
Go Back to SchoolIn your education section, start with your most recent degree, and then go back from there. Don’t include graduation dates. If you’re still in school, note your anticipated graduation date. Don’t include a GPA, unless it was excellent and you are a recent graduate. Finally, only list high school/GED if it’s your only education—if you have a college degree, then it’s assumed you graduated high school. 

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As you can see, this resume fits the bill of a well-formatted, well-organized resume. It contains 10 years of experience on one page, as well as all of the most important and necessary resume components all listed in the proper order:
  • name/contact information,
  • a summary statement,
  • a key skills section (also known as an areas of expertise section),
  • a work experience section,
  • and an education section
Time to create your resume now, let MyPerfectResume help you from start to finish!

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