When crafting your resume, you want to highlight your accomplishments, not just rattle off job descriptions. There are different ways to do this depending on the type of format you choose. The most common resume formats are chronological, functional, or a combination of the two. Mastering these basic formats and knowing when to use them will help you make sure your resume catches the eye of any employer.
This tends to be the most commonly used resume format, but that doesn’t make it the best. Knowing when and how to use it is important. A chronological resume usually starts out with an objective or a summary followed by a reverse chronological listing of your employment history with the most recent at the top. This is followed by any related accomplishments, as well as education and certificates. This type of resume highlights work history rather than specific skills, and so it is very useful for people with a lot of experience in a particular field. This type of resume does not work as well for someone who has little or no work experience, has gaps in their work history, or who is looking for work in a different field. In these cases, it simply highlights a lack of experience, and should be avoided. If you are submitting a chronological resume, you need to submit a cover letter with it!
A functional resume is going be to be more challenging to put together, but can be worth the extra effort in some cases. In a functional resume the emphasis is on your skills and abilities. Rather than listing job titles and employers, it focuses on skill sets and transferable experience. This type of resume might begin with a section highlighting your qualifications followed by an in-depth skills section. It will still have a chronological work history component but this should be near the end. A functional resume is going to be useful for people who have gaps in their work history or are reentering the workforce, people who have frequently changed positions or are looking to enter a new field, and people who might not be conventionally what the employer is looking for. Because a functional resume is often longer and can appear more cluttered than a chronological resume, not all employers will appreciate this type of resume.
Combination (Hybrid) Resume
For the majority of job applicants, the combination resume is the way to go. It takes the best aspects of each of the above resume types and combines them into one hybrid super resume! A combination resume leads with a career summary highlighting your strongest skills and credentials. This gives employers a clear idea of your strengths. Follow this with a reverse chronological listing of your employment history, highlighting your experience and accomplishments. Avoid focusing on job descriptions and duties that are unrelated to the job you are applying for. Education, training and certificates, and other miscellaneous experience should also be included in a combination resume. This type of resume still benefits from a cover letter personalized to the position you are applying for.
Other Types of Resumes
There are other types of resume formats that can be used in specific scenarios. Some professional or business resumes can be 3 to 5 pages long, with information carefully targeted to a specific position. An academic resume is known as a CV (curriculum vitae) and can be up to 10 pages detailing your professional background. Something as extensive as a CV should only be used when necessary. Positions that involve art, marketing, or writing can use a portfolio-based resume containing samples of your work presented either in a digital or hard copy format.
For more detailed information about making the layout of your resume look its best, check out Part 1 of this blog post!