fbpx

Three primary resume formats exist: reverse chronological, functional, and combination. While one is generally favored by recruiters, the decision on which to choose can still be time-consuming. This article aims to eliminate any uncertainties and highlight the distinctions among them. Continue reading to discover the ideal resume format for you.

This guide will show you:

1.What Are the Three Main Resume Formats?

  – Reverse-Chronological Resume Format
  – Functional Resume Format
   – Combination Resume Format

2.What Is the Best Resume Format?
3.How to Format a Resume?
4.Resume Format Templates
5.Key Takeaway
6.Frequently Asked Questions About Resume Format

What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.

What Are the Three Main Resume Formats?

These are the available types of resume formats to consider:

Reverse-chronological resume format, which focuses on your work experience. 
Functional resume format, which focuses on your skills.
Combination resume format, which focuses on both your experience and skills.

Although the reverse-chronological format is, in my view, the most effective for a resume (and also favored by the majority of recruiters!), you have the flexibility to choose the format that aligns with your career history. But how do you determine the best resume format for you? First, let’s delve into each one of them.

1. Reverse-Chronological Resume Format

The reverse-chronological resume stands as the most widely adopted resume format. With this approach, you detail your pertinent work experience, beginning with the most recent role. The progression involves listing positions and achievements in reverse chronological order, moving backward.

This format is ideal for candidates with extensive professional experience, particularly those who have advanced consistently within a single industry. It is also well-suited for individuals without significant employment gaps.

Reverse-Chronological Resume Format Example

Here is a sample of a chronological resume generated using our online resume builder.

This resume format places emphasis on your work experience, but it’s not the sole section you should keep in mind.

Let’s find out how to structure a reverse-chronological resume:

  1. Resume Header
  2. Resume Profile 
  3. Work Experience
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Additional Information

These six sections constitute a comprehensive document that streamlines recruiters’ tasks. They are accustomed to this resume layout, allowing them to identify all pertinent information within 7.4 seconds of reviewing a resume. However, you should invest additional effort to ensure your resume stands out among other candidates.

Let’s see some simple resume tips to help you get noticed and impress recruiters even more: 

  • In your work experience section, document your significant achievements, not solely your responsibilities, to showcase both your career advancement and unique contributions.
  • Similarly, maintain a reverse chronological order in your education section, listing only the highest level of schooling if you possess several years of relevant work experience.
  • Emphasize your key skills by going beyond a mere listing; instead, align them with quantifiable work achievements and tailor them to the job advertisement.
  • Consider incorporating additional sections that could serve as evidence of your skills, providing context to demonstrate the value you would bring to the company.
  • Draft your resume profile last, but position it at the top of your document. Cherry-pick 2–3 accomplishments and skills from your resume that are most pertinent to the job advertisement.

Time for a quick summary.

 

Reverse-Chronological Resume Format Pros & Cons

 

Pros

Cons

Reverse-Chronological Resume Format

  • Recruiters are familiar with and prefer this format.
  • Assured to pass through an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) resume screening.
  • Showcases the pinnacle of your career.
  • Demands additional effort to capture the recruiter’s attention.
  • Recruiters will observe any notable gaps in your employment history.
  • Not the most suitable format for individuals transitioning careers.

Are you C1 Advanced English?

Get your C1 Advanced English certificate now!

Add your certificate to your resume

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

2. Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format, also known as a skill-based resume, emphasizes transferable skills rather than a detailed work history. It aims to downplay limited experience. In this format, you highlight your pertinent skills, emphasizing practical applications in your past experiences.

This format is particularly suitable for creative roles where a portfolio holds significant weight, individuals transitioning from the military, and candidates aiming to avoid appearing overqualified.

Functional Resume Format Example

Let’s examine an example of a functional resume crafted using our online resume builder.

Let’s look at how to structure a functional resume:

  1. Resume Header
  2. Resume Objective
  3. Skills Summary
  4. Additional Skills
  5. Work Experience
  6. Education

As evident, these sections deviate from those found in the reverse-chronological resume format.

The transferable skills listed are categorized and elaborated upon, providing recruiters with an insight into how these skills can be beneficial for the specific job opening.

Take a look at these tips to improve your functional resume: 

  • Craft a career objective outlining your professional aspirations, incorporating your skills and qualifications, and providing a link to your online portfolio, blog, or personal website.
  • Select 4 to 5 hard and soft skills pertinent to the desired job, offering examples of their application with either bullet points or clear paragraphs.
  • Enumerate additional skills, encompassing language proficiency, software expertise, and familiarity with tools, among others.
  • Provide a concise list of your work experience, including job titles, dates, and company locations.
  • Integrate an education section featuring your alma mater’s name and graduation date; if applicable, include relevant coursework.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of opting for this resume format for the job you are aiming to secure.

Functional Resume Format Pros & Cons

 

Pros

Cons

Functional Resume Format

  • Shifts the emphasis away from your work history to highlight your skills.
  • An excellent creative resume format for non-traditional industries, overqualified candidates, veterans, recent graduates, or first-time job seekers.
  • Ideal for showcasing numerous qualifications that may not always be directly connected.
  • Not easy to scan; might suggest you’re trying to hide something.
  • Might lower your chances of getting hired if the position you’re trying to land is targeted at an experienced candidate.
  • Most likely to fail the ATS resume scan.

Now, let’s explore the features of our final resume format.

3. Combination Resume Format

The combination resume format merges components of both a chronological resume and a skills-based resume, giving equal weight to both skills and work experience. The skills summary section outlines pertinent skills, while the experience section substantiates them with examples of past achievements.

This format is well-suited for seasoned professionals aiming for a specific position, individuals transitioning to a new career, and candidates with employment gaps.

Combination Resume Format Example

Let’s explore how to structure a combination resume:

  1. Resume Header
  2. Skills Summary
  3. Work Experience
  4. Additional Skills
  5. Education

One element absent in the combination format is a resume profile. Providing details about your skills and experience will offer your recruiter sufficient information while maintaining a concise and readable document.

Take a look at these tips to improve your functional resume: 

  • Construct the skill summary section by incorporating both hard and soft skills.
  • Include up to four bullet points outlining professional achievements that substantiate these skills.
  • Develop the work experience section in alignment with the skills summary, mirroring the approach used in a chronological resume.
  • List additional skills, similar to the functional resume format.
  • Integrate the education section and detail relevant coursework or other academic achievements, such as cum laude or Phi Beta Kappa.

Combination Resume Format Pros & Cons

 

Pros

Cons

Combination Resume Format

  • Effectively combines the strengths of both chronological and functional resumes, highlighting essential skills and supporting them with relevant work experience.
  • Ideal for individuals with employment gaps but substantial relevant work experience.
  • Aligns skills seamlessly with work history.
  • Best suited for individuals with extensive work experience targeting a specific position.
  • Challenging to create and optimize for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)
  • Dependent on the alignment of work accomplishments with the skills summary, making it less effective if not well-coordinated.

The guidelines for a resume header remain consistent across all three formats:

  • Ensure it is prominent to grab the recruiter’s attention.
  • Include your name, job title, and contact information for quick reference.
  • Incorporate a link to your LinkedIn profile to facilitate the recruiter’s assessment of your online presence.

Now that you are acquainted with all three resume formats, let’s determine which one is most suitable for your needs.

What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.

What Is the Best Resume Format?

The top choice for the best resume format in 2024 is the reverse-chronological format. This format is not only the most common but also widely preferred by recruiters. It suits most candidates and aligns with professional preferences.

However, the suitability of a resume format depends on your individual professional history. As a job seeker, it’s crucial to select a format that best aligns with your background. While tailoring your resume to specific job offers is essential, it’s advisable to stick to a consistent format for all applications.

If you’re still unsure about the ideal format for you, here’s a straightforward method to help you decide:

Simple Resume Format Comparison

  Reverse Chronological  Functional  Combination 
Perfect if:
  • If you are seeking a job within your industry and possess extensive experience,
  • Your career progression has been consistent within a single field,
  • You have no employment gaps, the reverse-chronological resume format is the ideal choice.
  • This format is not only the most common but is also preferred by recruiters across various industries.
  • If you’re seeking a creative position where your portfolio and diverse skill set take precedence over your work history, aiming to transition to a new industry, emphasizing specific skills, or lacking relevant work experience, the functional resume format is a suitable choice.
  • This format is particularly beneficial for creative professionals, overqualified candidates, veterans, freelancers, or individuals entering the job market for the first time.
  • If you are pursuing a highly specialized role targeted at seasoned senior professionals, undergoing a career change, or dealing with multiple gaps in your employment history, the combination resume format is a fitting choice.

How to Format a Resume

Regardless of the chosen resume format or whether you’re crafting a CV or a resume, ensure that it exudes professionalism, readability, and consistency. Incorporate these 12 straightforward resume tips into your document to create a job-winning, flawless resume.

Resume Formatting Tips

1. Set one-inch margins on all sides.
2. Choose an 11 or 12-point resume font.
3. Format a proper resume header with your contact information.
4. Organize your resume into clear sections.
5. Utilize bullet points for readability.
6. Maintain consistency in date format.
7. Opt for single or 1.15 line spacing.
8. Include an extra space before and after each section heading.
9. Aim for a one-page resume, or consider two pages for extensive experience.
10. Avoid using photos unless specified in the job description.
11. Name your resume file appropriately (YourName_JobTitle_Resume).
12. Save your resume as a PDF unless otherwise instructed in the job description.

You now have insight into selecting the right resume format and formatting your resume. The next step is choosing an ideal template.

Resume Format Templates

No matter the job you’re pursuing, you can’t go wrong with our selection of professional resume templates. Here, you’ll find examples from our builder that you can create with just a few clicks. These templates are suitable for all three resume formats, are ATS-friendly, and can be easily customized to meet your specific needs.

1. Nanica

Nanica is one of the all-time favorites among our users despite being a super simple resume format. The best thing about it? It has a very universal design with lots of white space. Highly recommended modern resume template for job applications in conservative fields: law, finance, and general business.

 

2. Primo

Primo is a straightforward, sophisticated, yet distinctive resume template featuring a timeline on the left side for easy tracking of your work experience and education dates. With a sidebar dedicated to your skills and additional sections, it allows you to conserve space while accommodating more information on a single page.

3. Cubic

Cubic stands out as the most aesthetically pleasing resume format in our builder. It strikes a perfect balance between classical elegance and modern creativity. Subtle shading is incorporated to seamlessly guide the reader’s eyes through various sections. The inclusion of a side column for contact details and skills introduces a dynamic twist to the design. This visually appealing resume template is particularly well-suited for individuals seeking positions in IT, marketing, or sales.

4. Diamond

True to its name, the Diamonds resume template accentuates critical areas such as section headings, skill levels, and bullet points within the work history section. The absence of a side column allows for a full-width presentation from top to bottom, facilitating a chronological review of your work history. This visually striking template is particularly well-suited for candidates with extensive years of experience.

5. Newcast

Newcast offers a classic and understated resume template with subtle details that elevate your application, such as refined icons for section headings and bar charts illustrating skill levels. This template is an excellent choice when applying to companies with a more traditional and conservative culture.

What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.