November 12, 2021 No Comments


Basically, our resume serves as an informer to the HR or employers. This is where you can tell what are your achievements, skills, and benefits as an employee and a person as well. One of the challenges you may face here is the choice of the format that will suit your personal story. In fact, people quite seldom consider the format selection for their resume. But there is no one single format that fits for everybody. The chosen variant should showcase your professional and personal specifications.

In this article, you will learn more about resume formats and how to make the best of your resume considering this aspect. Here’re the main points:

  • three basic resume formats;
  • the selection of the suitable format;
  • advantages and disadvantages of different resume formats;
  • format, suitable for student resume.

Here are there most frequently used formats for resume:

  • Chronological.
  • Functional.
  • Combined.

There is a difference between CV and resume, and with the resume, you have more opportunities to present yourself with the proper format. Here are some of the formats that usually can serve the best:

1. Reverse chronological resume

Most job seekers can choose this format without any hesitations. Here you should mention your working experience in the reversed order, starting with the recent job you have and going to the oldest ones. The section with previous jobs should be placed before skills an education.

Here’s what you should mention in your chronological resume:

  • contact info;
  • summary of the resume;
  • name of your profession;
  • working experience (this is the biggest section in your resume);
  • professional and personal skills;
  • education;
  • additional info.

2. Functional resume

This format is also known as a skill-based resume. But it is used today pretty seldom. Many recruiters do not know about it at all. The lack of popularity is resulted by the fact that it does not reflect the working experience of the job seekers, while this criterion if one of the crucial one’s today. But in any case, it exists and its layout is pretty convenient for describing relevant skills more detailed.

This format usually includes:

  • contact info;
  • summary of the resume;
  • name of your profession;
  • summary of skills (this is the biggest section in this resume);
  • extra skills;
  • working experience;
  • education.

3. Combined resume

As it is obvious from the name, this format includes elements of two previous ones. This is the best option for job seekers who want to showcase their skills more and HRs who want to see the working experience of the candidate. So this is a golden medium.

Two major sections about skills and experience require a lot of space that is why you have fewer opportunities to present other elements like interests, volunteer experience etc.

Pro-tip for resume creation:

  • In most cases, recruiters prefer working with one-page resume, in rare cases – with two pages in case you have an impressively long list for describing your working experience.

This format usually includes:

  • contact info;
  • summary of skills;
  • extra skills;
  • working experience;
  • education.

What resume format to choose?

We have prepared a short matrix that will guide you in choosing the format to showcase your specifications. Formatting is the basic aspect that allows you to adjust your resume to your purposes to make your personality more outstanding comparing to other candidates. You can use a chronological format in the following cases:

  • if you have all level of working experience;
  • if you look for a job in the industry that is relevant to your previous experience;
  • if you do not have big gaps in your working history;
  • if your target industry is pretty traditional (like finances, accounting etc.).

A functional resume will be suitable for cases:

  • when you have a lot of experience levels;
  • if you want to change your career path and look for a job in the new industry;
  • if you do not have big gaps in your working history;
  • if the position you apply for is more creative and skill-oriented.

Combined resume will be suitable for cases:

  • if you want to change your career path and look for a job in the new industry;
  • if you have some gaps in your working history;
  • if you have various skills and working experience;
  • if you apply for a position that requires both creative and traditional skills.

Advantages and disadvantages of resume formats

Format Advantages Disadvantages
Reverse Chronological Displays the career progress and showcase the relevant working experience Make any working gaps visible (if you have any)
Well-known among recruiters and understandable to them Looks standardized and less creative
Fits ATS (application tracking software) You need to have a decent level of working experience
Functional Does not point out working gaps You may look like you do not have any actual relevant working experience
Does not point out lack of experience in the target field (if you want to change the career path) This style may be unknown to some recruiters
Points out your personal and technical skills May not fit ATS (application tracking software)
Combined Can showcase both aspects of you as a candidate Less space for describing education
Fits for various levels of skills and experience You need to have some experience and skills to make a resume look complete
Hides any gaps in working experience Planning is crucial here in order not to forget pointing out important parts and avoid repetition.

According to this table, we can make some conclusions:

  • The chronological format is the classic option. It is pretty basic so it may be hard for you to make it outstanding. But if you have plenty of relevant working experience and you are confident about it, you can choose it to showcase your professional skills.
  • A skill-based resume is used more and more seldom nowadays. However, mostly for creative jobs, you may be asked for portfolio and it will serve as a proof for the skills described in this resume. This is a suitable option for those candidates who have a little working experience but for sure have the required skills and knowledge.
  • The combined format will be suitable for candidates with enough experience and required skills that he/she can mention in the resume. It allows showcasing both and presenting them in the combination that will persuade the recruiter that you are suitable for the position.

Resume Format for Students

According to the info above, we can consider that the chronological resume format suits student’s need the most. Your recruiters know that you probably do not have much experience.

This format allows describing the educational aspects and other activities that may be relevant to the target position.

But if you have any working experience despite your area graduate (maybe, the summer or part-time job) then you can choose the combined resume format.

The skill-based format may be challenging as you should work hard to persuade your recruiter that your skills are what they need in their candidate.

You may use some resume builders and adjust the standard structure to your needs. Use a flexible sample where you can alter or mix sections.

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