Which Resume Format For My Resume?

On this page when we speak of a resume format we are referring to what information and which order it’s laid out on the resume, not t be confuse with resume distribution format which is the format you choose to send or share your resume.

Picking the correct resume format can definitely increase your odds of getting a response from your resume. In the United States the majority of all resumes are between 2 formats; the Chronological (reverse-chronological) and the Functional. In recent years another format has risen call the Hybrid. Along with the correct format you need to ensure you include the right information and rich with the correct key words.

Reverse Chronological Format

The reverse chronological format is pretty much the standard and preferred format by hiring managers and recruiters. With this format your experience in reverse chronological order is the main body of the resume.

The Layout

  • Header with name, address (city, state, zip) and phone number
  • Personal Portrait – a brief summary of your qualifications and attributes,
  • Listed for each job is your job title, company name, dates, a brief description of job responsibilities and then 3-5 bullet points of achievements/accomplishments.
  • Education and any specific skills or training

This format will show career growth and experience gained over a period of time which will give your career creditability. This format works very well for anyone that has been in the job market for several years with no major lapse in between employment (not counting open job search in current economy). This format might give your resume weakness if you have been job hopping (6 jobs in 3 years), returning to the work force after a long period of time off, recent grad or military going back in the work force.
At Career Thinker we will use the reverse chronological format for the majority of our resume unless we feel it decreases your odds for getting calls from employers.

The Functional Format

This format is used to highlight relevant skills to a specific type of position being targeted and its primary reason is to emphasize an applicant’s capabilities and experience. There is no employment history listed using the functional format. This format is sometimes used when a person doesn’t benefit from showing their work history for reasons such as; various types of experience not relevant to new career target, numerous jobs in a short period of time, many job gaps or returning to the work force after a long period of time.

The Layout

  • Header with name, address (city, state, zip) and phone number
  • Personal portrait – a brief summary of your qualifications and attributes
  • Experience highlights with bullet pointed accomplishments
  • Education and any specific skills or training

As you can see you don’t list any companies and dates from your employment history at all. Many recruiters and hiring managers don’t like this format because they assume it is hiding issues with past employment. At Career Thinker we agree with this, when we were hiring that was exactly what we thought and did not call on these resumes. So how do you handle this situation if you have work history issues or you are just looking for a complete career change, you then use a hybrid format.

The Hybrid Format

This format uses a combination of the functional format and the reverse chronological format and it is used in cases where your focus is on your skills and qualifications and not your work history. With the hybrid format you are still including you work history but it is kept separate which will bring less attention to employment history issue or if you are making a career change.

The Layout

  • Header with name, address (city, state, zip) and phone number
  • Personal portrait – a brief summary of your qualifications and attributes
  • Summary of Skills
  • Bullet points of accomplishments and achievements
  • Listed for each job and job title, company name, dates, a brief description of job responsibilities
  • Education and Training

At Career Thinker we believe this is a good format from the traditional reverse chronological format and will use it when we believe it benefits your needs and feel it will increase your odds of getting more responses from your resume