Compare Our Products

Propel Your Career
Get to the next level faster with professional Resume Writing or Editing products.

Resume Formats—Which to Use?

RESUME WRITER: Dodie T.
CATEGORY: Build a Better Resume
POSTED: August 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm

 

It’s time to put together your resume. You’ve reviewed your work history, assessed your skills, abilities, and strengths, and compiled examples of your quantified accomplishments. The next question is, “what format do I use?”

While each person is unique and should have a resume tailored to their needs, there are three general formats that are commonly used.

The Reverse Chronological Resume

This format presents your work history from the present, then works backward. This is the most appropriate choice for most applicants. In addition, this is the format that most hiring managers and recruiters expect to see. The benefits are obvious: it’s logical in its presentation, and allows the reader to quickly scan your history. This works well for job seekers with a consistent work history in the same career field.

The Functional Resume

The functional resume allows you to present your work history by skill area, such as sales, administration, technical expertise, or consulting engagements. The functional areas should be chosen based on both your skills and qualifications, and the requirements listed in the job announcement. The bullets should be written in the same manner as a chronological format, with the action taken for a particular challenge, task, or project, and the quantified results. This format works well if you are making a major career change or if your skills were gained through a non-traditional work history. However, most interviewers will want to know when a particular skill was gained and used, so be prepared to answer those questions and provide a chronology.

The Combination Resume

Finally, the third commonly used format is the combination resume. Just as the name implies, this format combines the best of the chronological and functional formats. For example, you could compile your work history in reverse chronological order and use functional sub-headings within each job entry. However, this type of resume format should be tightly focused on the skills required in the job announcement or the document could easily become too long and unwieldy.

Focus first on the needs of the employer when you develop your bullets. Solidly written, quantified information that demonstrates how you can meet the employer’s talent gap will be more compelling than a beautifully formatted document filled with fluff. The format which is best for you and your situation will then be more obvious. If you need more help, contact a Certified Professional Resume Writer to guide you through the resume writing process.

Dodie T.

Dodie holds both the Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Employment Interview Professional and has written or edited more than 1,000 résumés and cover letters for clients at every career staged. She has also facilitated interview coaching sessions for entry-level through senior executive-level clients.

» Read Full Bio

Sign Up for the En Route Newsletter

Career articles, resume advice, and interview tips delivered every month!

ARTICLE CATEGORIES

» Build a Better Resume (22)

» Career Planning (4)

» Climb the Ladder at your Current Company (3)

» Cover Letters (5)

» Create Outstanding Cover Letters (6)

» Creative resumes (1)

» Employment Tips (10)

» Find the Right Job (19)

» Graduates (1)

» Grow Your Network (2)

» Hiring a Professional Resume Writer (1)

» Hot Skills (1)

» Information Technology Resumes (1)

» Interview Best Practices (7)

» Interview tips (6)

» Job Fairs (3)

» Job search in New Year (3)

» LinkedIn Profiles (7)

» online application (1)

» Professional Development (2)

» Recruiter Tips (5)

» Resume tips for Baby Boomers (1)

» taking charge of your career (4)

» Tips on Asking for a Raise (1)

» Tips on Entering a New Industry (6)

» Using Social Media (5)

Meet Our Resume Writers

ResumeEdge has more than 50 professional resume writers with personal experience in over 40 industries—including the one you want a job in. » Meet Our Writers

Propel Your Resume

Get to the next level faster with professional Resume Writing or Editing.

Compare Our Products

My writer took the time to get to know me and was able to provide input in areas I had not thought of. It was tough because I had to let go of some of my old identities to start in a new career, but she took me over the hump and captured who I am--and what I can give.

— Stephanie L.
Healthcare, Practitioner and Technician
New Jersey
» See All Testimonials

We're Busy Little Bees

354
Resumes Written This Month
100,000
Resumes Written Since 1998