Are you one of many job seekers who hope to find the perfect new resume format? Choosing the proper format can determine whether recruiters on LinkedIn (and elsewhere) decide to reach out to you. In addition, the way you lay out the resume determines what part of your history gets the most attention.
As such, there are three major resume formats to choose from. But, even after choosing one, there are other things to consider. We'll help you choose the suitable format and give you tips, examples, and templates to make creating your new resume simpler than you ever expected.
What Are the 3 Most Common Professional Resume Formats?
There are three specific standard resume formats that most people use. You can choose between reverse-chronological, functional, or combination as your basic resume format. The important thing is to choose one of the standard resume formats that best shows off your skills and work experience.
While popular resume formats come and go, you can count on these three options to be timeless. Learn more about each type and decide which works for your job application needs.
The reverse-chronological format is the most familiar to hiring managers. It's primarily focused on years of experience in similar positions to the one you are applying for. It includes a contact section, a professional summary, and information on work experience. For instance, job title, location, and role are included, along with your responsibilities.
This type of resume format is ideal when a company uses applicant tracking systems. You have lots of space to include keywords to peg you as an excellent potential employee. Skills and education are included but in a less prominent location.
When to Use the Reverse-Chronological Resume Format
Using reverse-chronological order is the best resume layout to show your work history. It's also highly ATS-friendly. This is the most common resume format and is the default if the other options do not work for you.
There are three specific situations where chronological resume format is the top choice:
1. If you are a job seeker who has been working in the same industry for many years.
2. If you are an applicant who wishes to show off their excellent career progression.
3. If you are a person looking to apply for an executive position.
The functional format puts a lot of emphasis on the skills section rather than work experience. This means showing off transferable skills for a career change or moving into a first job out of college, especially if you have done internships. Therefore, the summary statement and skills are the most essential parts of this resume.
You'll still include contact information and employment history, but the work experience has a lower priority than relevant skills, especially for career changers. A comprehensive list of skills is helpful here, similar to the work experience on a chronological resume.
When to Use the Functional Resume Format
As with the reverse-chronological resume, the functional (or skills-based) resume can be applied in various situations. However, it works best for certain potential employees applying for a position.
Some of the reasons you might choose a functional resume include:
1. If you are a job seeker who has little to no work experience.
2. If you are an applicant who wants to showcase their education and skills.
3. If you are an applicant who has several gaps in their work history.
Finally, we want to talk about the combination resume format. This is a hybrid resume that works well for those who have a combination of work experience and relevant skills. The experience section is highlighted, but so are skills and achievements. You can think of it as a combination of a reverse-chronological and functional resume.
This gives you the chance to focus equally on work experience, an education section, and skills that make you stand out during a job search.
When to Use the Combined Resume Format
The combined resume format falls in between the two, making it suitable for someone who isn’t a high school graduate or someone with decades of experience. As a result, it's not as commonly used but still has its place in some situations.
Below are a few of the reasons you might choose a hybrid resume format:
1. If you are someone who is a job seeker that has worked in at least two jobs in the field.
2. If you are an applicant who has a well-rounded combination of experience and skills.
3. If you are someone seeking a job in a field where you have experience, but it was in the distant past.
Good Resume Format Examples
Now that you know the typical formats for a resume, you might be wondering how to make a resume yourself. Below, we'll share a few resume layout examples that you can use to create your own professional document. Then, you can look them over, download them for your own use, and find some inspiration to build the resume of your dreams.
Example #1: The Hybrid Resume
As a student, a simple resume format will be best. However, make sure to consider the job description to ensure you add any skills that you have from past jobs or hobbies you have had. Look here for more skills to put on a resume. This resume is in chronological order, but it also includes a lot of information on education and activities, so it acts as an excellent example of a hybrid resume.
The resume gives out all the needed information and delves deeper into some areas. This shows that the applicant is thoughtful and detail-oriented, which might stand out to a hiring manager. If you are new to work or moving into a different industry, this example gives an idea of what a great resume might look like.
Why Example #1 is Well-Formatted
The type of resume format is easy for a recruiter to read. The resume has a large header on top with the applicant's name. In addition, it has a left sidebar with extra information that is useful, especially for a younger applicant or someone just leaving school. For instance, it lists interests and languages to give an employer a better idea of the person applying.
In addition, this resume is well-formatted in terms of the main blocks of information. Therefore, the resume objective can provide a lot of information without being overly long. For example, job experience is included along with bullet points to explain regular tasks done. The resume also caps off with extracurricular activities, education, and references.
All in all, this is a well-rounded resume that would work for many people. Even non-students can use it to ensure they share all aspects of themselves, rather than focusing on past job experience.
Example #2: The Reverse-Chronological Resume
The following example is a resume for an automation tester, but it could easily be used for any career path. It has clear headings, provides plenty of information about the things hiring managers are interested in, and has a pop of color that might make it more eye-catching than monochromatic resumes or those with soft hues.
This resume is more along the traditional reverse-chronological lines with a contact section, resume objective, lots of work history information, followed by education, skills, and references. While the work experience is highlighted, the resume has a variety of information that gives more information about the applicant.
Why Example #2 is Well-Formatted
For a job application, this resume has a fantastic format. It's beneficial for sharing relevant experience for a position. It has all the information about past employers and utilizes a variety of bullet points that speak to what the applicant has done in the past. It's to the point and shows the person's skills and why they should get the job.
Since a reverse-chronological resume is the most common, this gives an idea of how to create your own. Whether using this template or something similar, it will get attention and make an employer more interested in you. That can often be enough to get you into an interview.
Example #3: The Hybrid Resume
As a hybrid resume, the last example delves into an applicant's skill sets. You can see information about their recent job and past education, but it has a large section for hard and soft skills, unique qualifications, and more. In situations where skills and employment are equally important, this type of resume can work exceptionally well.
Instead of placing the work experience front and center, the skills and qualifications come first. This ensures that a hiring manager reads those things and understands what you have to offer before your experience is used to supplement that. Likewise, hybrid or combination resumes work well when reverse-chronological and functional are too limiting.
Why Example #3 is Well-Formatted
Now that you have an image of the third resume example, you can see how professional experience and specific skills are in the mix. This resume starts out with a robust resume objective followed by qualifications. Along the side are personal details and a list of skills. The professional experience is farther down the resume but still informative.
These resumes are well formatted and ready to send to an employer. The only definite decision for you is which format looks best to you while showcasing your achievements. The following section will go into a bit more detail about that so you can make a decision and have an excellent start to your own resume.
How to Choose the Right Format for Your Resume
If you're asking, "What is the best resume format?" it depends on your experiences, skills, and education. The best format for a resume will vary by individual. Luckily, there are several resume styles you can choose from to show yourself in the best light.
First, be aware that most resumes have several of the same sections. In most cases, they will include the following:
· Your name and contact information
· A resume headline specific to the job
· Information about your past work history
· A list of some of your top skills
· Educational information such as your highest degree
· And a list of references the employer can contact.
Since all of these things are on every resume format, it might seem like it doesn't matter which you choose. However, that is not entirely true. It's crucial to select a resume format that matches your strengths and downplays any of your weaknesses.
It's not always easy to choose a resume format, so we want to offer some tips that might make the process easier.
· If you are seeking your first job or otherwise applying for an entry-level position, a functional resume is likely the top choice.
· If you have five or more years of experience, have worked in the industry at two positions, and are applying within that field, you will want to choose a reverse-chronological resume format.
· If you're leaving one career field and want to move into something new, there are two choices. The first is to choose a reverse-chronological resume format assuming you already have skills and experience. A hybrid or combination resume will be the top resume format if you do not.
Now that you understand resume formats, what great resumes look like, and which format suits your needs – it's time to get into some specifics. The following section is all about formatting tips you can use while creating your resume.
How to Format a Resume Properly? 5 Resume Formatting Tips
Something else to consider when you’re formatting your resume are which tips can make your document look even better. Even if you chose the ideal resume format for your experience level and the industry of the position, a few tips could make it even better. Whether you're going for a traditional or modern resume format, the resume tips below will ensure it looks great when a human looks at it.
Tip #1: Use Appropriate Margins
When it comes to resume writing, you need to consider the details. Along with getting writing tips, you also need to consider how the resume looks across the page. The readable space should fit all of your information within one to two pages. If you need more space, make the margins smaller. If there's too much space, make the margins larger.
It's a simple tip that can add a sense of elegance to your resume format.
Tip #2: Choose a Professional and Legible Font
When a hiring manager at your potential new job reads your resume summary, you want the words to flow well. That starts with selecting a professional and easy-to-read font. This can also be helpful if the resume goes through an applicant tracking system. However, thin or light fonts may be harder to read on paper or a screen, so they are best avoided.
Sans serif fonts, such as Calibri, Georgia, Helvetica, Avenir, and Corbel, are all excellent choices with clean lines.
Tip #3: Use the Right Font Size
In addition to font face, font size is also essential to consider. You'll want to choose a 10 to 12 point font in most cases. For short resumes, go with 12 points, while 10 points is great for longer resumes. Going larger can seem unprofessional, so you should avoid it if possible.
If the resume is still too long in 10 point font, it might be helpful to look for ways to streamline your information.
Tip #4: Add Headers
Using headers is a must. By making the font larger, bolder, or underlined, a hiring manager can easily find the information they want. There are several ways to do this. You can use the underline feature, make the headers 12 or 14 points, or bold the headers. In some cases, you can combine two or more of these to highlight sections and essential information.
These same tips can also be used for your contact information, so it's evident on the page.
Tip #5: Make Use of Bullet Points
Bullet points under your experience, education, and skills can make it easier to read the resume. Use them to list all your achievements, but avoid using only one or two if that's all you have to add. Simply list things with less than three parts in a sentence instead. But bullet points make things cleaner and more straightforward for a hiring manager to understand you. It also beats a long paragraph and is more likely to be read.
So use bullet points, at least in the work experience section, to break things up and make it easier to read.
Best Resume Formats: 9 Editable Templates to Download
Rather than creating a resume by hand, it can be quicker and easier to use a resume template. These already contain a professional resume format that you can apply your information to. Then, all you do is make a few edits, and your resume is ready to send out. It takes some guesswork out, requires you to do less formatting on your own, and makes the process streamlined so you can move on to other things.
There are tons of templates you can choose from, but we'd like to share a few well above average. You can use any of the resume examples below to ensure you are using professional resume layouts that will impact your application status.
Simple Resume Formats
A simple resume can be used for all sorts of purposes. It doesn't matter what industry you are in or what role you are applying for. These resumes are easy to read, simple to create, and provide all the information in clear terms. A few of the best resume formats for a simple resume are linked below:
Modern Resume Formats
Modern resumes are designed to have the same information as a simple resume, but it might be provided differently. A modern resume is a good option for high-tech jobs or positions that require knowledge of the latest practices. This kind of resume will be visually appealing and use the latest trends. You can see a few resumes that are modern in appearance and format below.
Creative Resume Formats
Creative resumes can run the gamut from being a bit more colorful to including obscure information and sections. These resumes can be a bit of a risk but offer a big reward if the hiring manager appreciates the work. Choosing an unusual color scheme, adding a photo to your resume, or talking about your interests can elevate your resume to something more creative, like the options below.
Final Points About Job Resume Formats
The right resume format is the key to being noticed. It's the first thing you can do to ensure a hiring manager or recruiter has their interest piqued. In addition, it might make them interested in learning more about you – which could lead to getting the exact job you have been hoping for. When you use our resume builder, the process is simple, quick, and avoids a significant time investment.
Just remember that a resume is only part of the puzzle. Even the best resume format and structure has to be held up by other application documents, like a cover letter and references. However, once you have a great format, a cover letter, and have filled in your details, you can move closer to the job you want!
Which format do most employers prefer for resumes?
A reverse-chronological job resume format is the most common. This is because employers are used to and comfortable with it. However, functional and hybrid resumes are also standard and won't seem out of place. Any of the three will look just fine to the average hiring manager.
How do employers look at resumes?
Many employers skim resumes for keywords based on the job description. Therefore, it's essential to include education, experience, and skills that fit the job you want. Only after seeing that you're qualified will a recruiter read more deeply. Remember, your resume is only read for 60 seconds or so in most cases.
What is the best layout for a resume with no or little experience?
A functional resume is your best bet when you have little to no experience. This resume format lets you talk about skills and education more than work experience. Listing all your skills and sharing your education can show that you are qualified for a job.
What are the most common mistakes in resume formatting?
Spelling errors, bad grammar, making the resume too long, or being unoriginal are common resume formatting mistakes. After making a resume, it should be read to ensure everything looks perfect. Editing mistakes and being thorough shows you care about your image and are serious about the position you're applying for.
Should you have a picture on your resume?
It depends on the type of resume, but usually, a picture is not required. A photo often offers no benefits. In addition, it can introduce bias in the job application process. Unless a photo is asked for and makes sense for the job, it's better not to include one.