Before starting writing your resume, you need to decide which resume format you are going use. A good resume format must outline work experience and education in a systematic way. Use only one type of a resume format throughout the whole resume and be consistent with it. Never mix different layouts. Consistency will allow the reader an easy orientation in the text and get a quick overview. Your chosen resume format should exhibit your great assets such as your skills and professional experience.
There are three main types of a professional resume format:
1. Reverse Chronological Resume Format
One of the most used resume format. All work experience, education, or courses are ordered reverse chronologically. That means you put the most recent positions and education first, and past experiences afterwards. This layout is very natural, logical and easy to read. It might seem less creative and original, but that is not always needed for a resume. You can use bullets and different header formatting for easy reading e.g. you can write headers or position titles in capital letters. The most recent position should be the most relevant to the position you are applying for. This position also includes most information compared to other positions.
TIP: This is the most used and favourable resume format.
2. Skill-based Resume / Functional Resume Format
The second category is a skill-based resume. It is also known as a functional resume. This resume layout is used to list responsibilities and duties performed during candidate’s career. Hence the name skill-based and functional as the layout focuses on the performance rather than the companies. The name of the companies and dates are usually written at the bottom of the resume. Only little focus is given on the deeper explanation of each company. This resume layout can be used to omit unimportant job positions. This format also allows to show transferable skills in case of a career change and showcase the most relevant skills to the position.
TIP: Functional resume format is the least favourite resume format. Try to avoid if possible.
3. Combination / Hybrid Resume Format
The combination resumes format also know as a hybrid resume format is used to reveal your skills before you bring focus to your experience. This can be beneficial to applicants who want to change their career or high-level professionals. Your jobs are still ordered in the reverse chronological sequence. Below the job titles, your skills are outlined as subheadings e.g. communication, leadership etc. In this way, the skills can be explained by bullet points.
TIP: This resume format combines benefits of two resume format. Might be tricky to write.
Pros and cons of resume formats:
Reverse Chronological Resume
Clear and simple.
Emphasis on experiences and work history.
Natural and easy to understand.
Employers are familiar with this layout.
It can show periods of unemployment.
It can show unimportant jobs.
It can reveal inconstant career path.
Not original either creative.
Skill-based Resume / Functional resume
Good to present your transferable skills instead of your experience.
Demonstrate the most relevant areas to the employer.
Possible to omit some work history.
Might be suspicious to employers e.g. hiding something.
It can be sometimes unclear.
The resume might become too long.
Combination / Hybrid resume
Beneficial to somebody with a lot of skills.
Good for showing transferrable skills in a career change.
Not very often used.
Not suitable for fewer skills or entry-level job candidates.
Reverse chronological resume,skill-based resume/ functional resume, and combination / hybrid resume formats are 3 most used resume formats to outline your past experience, skills and education. The one you choose depends on your situation, career path and job application. Keep in mind – make it simple, consistent and natural for anybody who reads your resume! You will get more attention and interview invitations!