3 Resume Types
Choosing a Resume Format that is best for you.
There are 3 resume types or formats, they are;
- Chronological Format
- Functional Format (this is also sometimes referred to as the creative or skills format) and
- Combined Format
Chronological resume format:
What is the chronological format?.
- This is the first and most common of the 3 resume types or outlines.
- This format lists your education and experience in REVERSE chronological order - in other words you list the most recent dates and work experience first.
- This is also often the best way to start writing a resume from scratch because it is easy to do.
Points in favor of using this resume format.
- This type of resume is easy to read, it is also easy for employers to scan this type of resume outline to get a sense of your career history.
- This is by far the most accepted format - estimates vary but best indications are that it is preferred by around 80-85% of surveyed corporate Human Resources professionals.
- This format is also preferred (and often enforced) by most Internet job boards (it may be hard to enter online job application questionnaires non-chronologically).
- This format is great if you have a steady employment history with no major gaps or changes of career direction.
- It is great if you have good organization names as ex-employers.
- It effectively highlights recent experience, so it is good if your best achievements have been recent.
- Best for international job seeking as it is a universal format.
Points against using this format.
- It may not be the best way of presenting a career history which is:
- Has gaps
- Is very long
- Not relevant (i.e. when you are looking for a career change)
Functional resume format:
What is the functional format?
- This is a resume outline or format that presents your skills and experience without putting them in a sequential date order.
- Instead, you group your skills and experience by types or functions, hence the name.
- The career history can be either reduced to a list of dates and company names as well as job titles towards the end of the resume, or no detail can be given at all - supposedly since this has all been stated functionally.
Points in favor?
- Combines skills gained in a number of areas and groups them so they appear stronger. Includes:
- Paid employment
- Volunteer work
- Student activities
- Work experience
- Classroom work
- Project work
- Social organization e.g. club or team activities
- Great for when the required skills are something you have, but a traditional chronological resume doesn't highlight them sufficiently.
- Good for a poor career history with good skills - as the history is minimized at the bottom of the resume.
- Emphasizes what you have done and can do, rather than where or when you did it.
- This format is good for starters with little or no career history such as recent graduates.
- It is also good for people who have been out of the job market and are re-entering after a break.
- It can be good for older workers who wish to de-emphasize the time span of their experience.
- This is especially suited to applicants looking for a career change - change of field, sector or direction.
- Unfortunately this format is not always well received by employers.
- Many employers believe that this resume format/outline is designed to "hide something"! This is an important point, so you should be careful of using this format.
- Many internet application systems ask for dated information, so it can be hard or impossible to make online applications in this format.
Combination resume format:
What is the combination format?
- A resume that begins with a functional summary of:
- Your most relevant qualifications
- Your key skills
- Your key abilities
- Your relevant experience
- Then gives a chronological career history which is shorter than it would be in a chronological format resume, but which supports the summary.
- This resume outline is a great compromise if you'd like to use a functional format, but are wary of employers disliking them.
Points in favor?
- This format, if done properly is well accepted by employers.
- It is great for giving a chronological resume but highlighting your particular skills and experience etc for the position.
- This format is also very useful where your relevant experience was gained some time ago and therefore needs highlighting.
- This format can result in well-targeted resumes, as you can tailor the functional section to the employer's requirements shown in the job posting.
- Great where your career history is not straightforward or has gaps.
- Very good for justifying a career change.
- Some employers still don't like it - they want to see what you did in each job in detail. If you are considering a career change this format is strongly recommended, it this case your resume may exceed the typical two pages...
- It can be hard to input on some online applications.