Resume formats: Which one suits you the Best

Most of the time, people get confused when they are about to start writing their resume. Especially when you have to choose one from so many different formats. They don’t realize that the format is one of the most important choices when writing a winning resume. If you go for a wrong format, you could effectively be hiding your own career highlights from the employer. There are so many resume formats, it is really difficult to choose a format. Maybe this isn’t as easy as you first thought…with all these choices, how will you ever make a decision about which style and resume format is best for you?

You only get few second’s attention from the person reviewing your resume, so you best make a good first impression. Deciding, which is the best resume format for you is not difficult if you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each. Complete details of the style and format you should choose and in what order the content should be in your resume is mentioned below. The following guidelines will help you make your choice.

Chronological format:

The chronological resume format is the most used out there and designed to highlight progressive career growth and advancement. It’s the employer’s favorite as it is very easy to read, and it’s hard to hide anything in it. It works brilliantly when you have stayed consistent in your career, it doesn’t work well when you have gaps or when you have shifted industries often. As long as the job you are applying for is in the same field, the full chronology will be relevant for the reader and therefore, the focus is on your experience.

Your employment history is actually in reverse chronological order, and your current position will be at the top of the list.

  • Objective
  • Summary
  • Experience
  • Education
  • References

It is most suitable, when:

  • You have a steady and consistent employment history with no major gaps in employment and have not changed career tracks recently.
  • Your employment history has been one of progressively responsible positions.
  • Your titles have been impressive and/or you have been recently employed at well-known companies.
  • Your major accomplishments have been achieved in your most-recent positions.
  • You are seeking a career in a field where this format is expected.

Functional format:

It should be used when you want to draw attention towards your skills, accomplishments, and qualifications at the top and away from your work experience due to job hopping, a very long career, a very short career, long gaps, re-entering the job market and so forth. The functional resume focuses on what you can do, what your achievements are and your core competence. It highlights keywords. In this way, it firmly places the focus on what you have done rather than where or when you did it.

Unfortunately, many hiring authorities don’t like this format, as it is generally believed that the functional format is used to hide some deficiency in your career history.

This format is used by graduates, people seeking to change their career completely and anyone with employment gaps that don’t add any value to their experience.

  • Objective
  • Accomplishments
  • Capabilities
  • Employment
  • History
  • Education
  • References

This format is most suitable, when:

  • Most of your achievements and accomplishments occurred in a past position.
  • You have recently graduated from high school or college. You have been out of the job market for some time and are trying to re-enter.
  • You have held a variety of unconnected positions.
  • You are changing career tracks.
  • You are returning to a previous line of work.

The combined format

The combination format combines the benefits of both the chronological and the functional formats. It allows you to use the features from the functional resume and chronological resume both. By beginning with a summary of your most impressive qualifications, skills, abilities, and accomplishments, it immediately places the emphasis where you want it. This is followed by an employment history section, written in the chronological format, that supports the statements made in your summary.

It can also be useful when someone wants to pack more skills in than the work experience section allows for or would not bring out adequately.

  • Objective
  • Summary
  • Accomplishments
  • Experience
  • Education
  • References

This format is most suitable, when:

  • You have a steady and progressive employment history.
  • You are applying for a position for which the chronological resume is expected, but you also want to highlight qualifications from earlier positions.
  • You are writing a targeted resume and need an effective way to match your skills to the job requirements.

Basic rules that apply to all formats:

  1. Put all your contact details on the top of the first page, make it easy for the employer to call you up for an interview.
  2. List all education and qualifications.
  3. Put correct dates against every employment and education.
  4. Select a pleasing layout on the eye and never distracting, allow for enough white space in between your text, boxes and bullet points.
  5. Make it a habit to use a spelling checker, as your intended audience will swiftly delete a resume that contains typos.
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