Your Resume Format
What is the best resume format for you? A professional resume writer gives advice on formatting your resume for best effect.
Choosing a resume format is one of the things many people struggle with when they create a resume. And it's tough to know where to start. After all, no one teaches you how to write a resume and there are no hard and fast rules for resume formats.
There are 3 main resume formats you need to know about ...
Resume Format #1: The Chronological Resume
A chronological resume details your work history in chronological order, starting with the most recent position and working backwards. You show job title, company name, dates, give a brief outline of job responsibilities, and then describe any accomplishments in bullet point format.
The problem with this resume format is that it doesn't allow the job seeker to position him or herself very well, because the very first thing the reader sees is the job title and company name. Therefore, there is a tendency for hiring managers to focus on whether you have held the exact same job title as they are advertising.
Resume Format #2: The Functional Resume
A functional resume is sometimes used when a person doesn't benefit from showing their work history in strictly chronological order. Perhaps there are long gaps in work history, or the experience doesn't relate to the position sought. In this case, some job seekers create resumes that stress skills rather than positions held. They detail accomplishments under headers such as "Sales" or "Administration" rather than under the position title. Often a brief summary of positions held comes at the very end of such a resume.
The problem with this resume format is that it doesn't fool experienced recruiters and HR executives who know that the functional resume is usually used to hide something. For more information, read my article on The Functional Resume.
Resume Format #3: The Hybrid Resume
I'm going to show my bias here because I love this resume format! All our resume samples are hybrid resumes.
The hybrid resume gives the best of both possible worlds because it presents work history in chronological order AFTER a strong introduction that allows you to highlight your skills and key selling points.
To create a hybrid resume, start with an introduction that shows employers exactly what you bring to the table, then detail your work chronology, focusing mainly on your accomplishments.
(If you need help with your resume, sign up for my free resume writing course now. You'll get instant access and we'll never spam you or share your email address).
Resume Format - Design Considerations
Most people overlook design when creating their resume but it's vitally important to the impression you make.
Good design means people find the information they're looking for easily and quickly and dramatically increases your chances of being interviewed.
Good design means neat, with lots of white space and a font that's easy to read. Use selective formatting such as bolding and italics to highlight key information.
Check the resume samples for more ideas.
If you would like resume templates and set-by-step resume writing instructions, take a look at my course, The DIY Guide to Writing a Killer Resume. It comes with 20 Microsoft Word templates, so that you don't have to worry about formatting your resume - you can just type over what's there.
In my opinion, the best resume format is the hybrid resume, because it allows you to effectively position yourself while still showing a straightforward accounting of your work history in chronological format. But no matter what structure you decide upon, good design is key because that can be the deciding factor between your resume being read, or ignored.
Louise Fletcher is the President of Blue Sky Resumes. Louise is also Managing Editor and Co-founder of the preeminent careers blog, Career Hub. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and many of her resumes have been published in the JIST "Expert Resumes" series. She has contributed to many online publications including About.com, Monster.com, The Ladders, and Net Temps.