Before you start building your resume, you should understand the purpose of each different section in a resume and the reason for using a particular resume format for a job application.
What is a resume?
A resume is a paper that contains your professional information, with the purpose to demonstrate your ability and relevance to a hiring manager clearly. Most people know what to include in a resume but not how to list them clearly using specific formats for different purposes.
A resume, as previously mentioned, is a concise summary of your education, work history, and other accomplishments or skills. It’s the most common document requested for a job application to show your competency.
CV (curriculum vitae), on the other hand, is submitted for jobs or advanced studies in academia, scientific research, and medical fields. It provides a detailed list of comprehensive education, certifications, research papers, teaching experience, professional affiliations or memberships, to show your credentials. It’s typically lengthier than a resume and can take up to 3-5 pages.
This article will introduce the 3 resume formats you will need to know on your successful career path.
Check out these CV writing guides: 8 Outstanding CV Formats | Experienced Professionals & Freshers
The most used resume formats for a job are:
Each of them emphasizes different aspects with respective pros and cons. Choosing the right job resume format will affect your job search significantly!
A chronological resume format lists your work experience in reverse chronological order. Latest experiences and accomplishments would come first, so the hiring manager can quickly scan through your working history to have an idea of what you’ve been working on lately or ten years ago.
The reverse-chronological resume format is the most common resume format to show a steady work progression and career path. Insert keywords in the job description to make it an ATS-compliant resume.
View chronological resume example 🔍
A functional resume format categorizes your experience and details into different skills. It focuses on how your skills are related or transferable to a job title. The hiring manager will know your talents and expertise at a glance but not knowing your work history.
View functional resume example 🔍
It is the hybrid version of chronological and functional resume formats. It comes with a skill summary section known as “professional profile” or “qualifications summary” and includes a reverse-chronological work experience column.
View combination resume example 🔍
To create a standard and proper resume format, choose either reverse-chronological, functional, or combination resume format. Use less than 2 colors and black text with a white or gray background.
For a formal resume format, stick with reverse-chronological resume format and typical resume fonts like Helvetica or Times New Roman. It is suggested to keep it black and white without colors. Use only one column throughout the page to keep readers’ eyes focused.
A simple and basic resume format would appear like a formal one, while you can add columns with a dark background and white texts, or small icons to make it less bureaucratic.
A modern resume format might include stylish fonts for headings, small and unified icons, and 2 matching colors for design openness. Some modern resumes use progress bars to express skill level, but it’s somewhat subjective, and HR knows it.
Research regional requirements before you start writing an international resume/CV. For instance, European “CVs” are basically U.S. “resumes” with a bit of difference.
If you’re applying to a foreign country, be clear on your resume about your nationality, visa status, and language abilities. You might need to consider including or excluding specific personal details like a photo and birthdate, depending on the country.
If you want to stand out from countless other candidates, designing a resume format using patterns, colors, fonts, and infographics might work. However, keep subject matter easy to read and section columns clear.
Resume format for experienced or professionals should include thorough chronological work history, measured accomplishments, solid skills, and certificates. Leave hobbies or interests out to avoid looking too casual.
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If you’re not sure how to choose a suitable resume format, here are professional format guides categorized into 8 kinds of job seekers.
For freshers and students with limited or no work experience, a functional resume format would be the best first job resume format or resume format for internship.
💡 Functional resume format lists your skills by categories to showcase your ability and hide your lack of working experience.
If you have volunteer work, internship experience, or extracurricular activities, include them in your experience section by timeline (turning it into a simple combination resume format) to help recruiters get a sense of what you accomplished in the past and what you are capable of.
For those who are experienced and have a substantial work history, consider using a hybrid resume format.
A hybrid resume format can present your solid work experience by timeline and by expertise. A carefully crafted hybrid resume should be concise enough to deliver primary skills and abundant working experience altogether. Resume format for the experienced should emphasize strong skills with quantified achievements and make work experience explicit rather than repetitive.
For teachers or educators, your teacher resume format should be chronological resume format or hybrid resume format.
List educational institutes you’d worked for starting from the latest, and add bullet points to describe critical responsibilities and key quantified achievements. List your education such as majors and minors, master’s degree. Put relevant skills on your resume that match with the teacher’s job descriptions on the employment offer.
💡 If you’re applying for a teaching job abroad, it is suggested to utilize an international resume format.
A good IT resume format is usually formatted using a combination resume with a modern design. Apply quantified results and key accomplishments throughout, include a brief but strong summary and bullet-pointed work experience.
Specify your skills with a sentence instead of submitting a vocabulary like ”communication.” Organize your Github, personal website, and side projects. It should include the detailed process of your work.
If you apply for a nursing job, the best nursing resume format would be a hybrid resume format. List your nursing experience, such as a hospital nursing assistant, with quantified achievements. Listing your certified nursing license can mark your specialization and help you stand out. Highlight soft skills to communicate your value.
📝 Common skills for a nursing resume:
Use a simple layout with chronological or hybrid resume format to include your skills and certificates. In your work experience section, you should use bullet points to mark the most recent accomplishments at the front with quantified results.
A common & standard chronological resume format would not bring you any trouble. However, the resume format for engineers can also be functional or skill-based. You can divide sections into skills, work experiences, and projects to present reliability and problem-solving skills. Prioritize the skills that are specified in the job description.
A formal resume template is the best for a bank resume format. Since you’ll be competing against thousands of other applicants, a professional & ATS compliant resume format is more likely to get you an interview.
Check your contact information and LinkedIn profile to align with resume experience highlights. Unify your online presence to leave a positive impression.
💡 Use job descriptions and quantified results to prove you can meet both clients’ and the banks’ financial goals.
Suppose you are finishing your resume, congrats. There are only a few things left to check. See some FAQs below to refine your resume.
There are simply too many platforms to send your resume:
Are you applying directly through surveys on the companies' websites?
Perhaps you have to send your resume via email address?
Different channels affect your strategies to choose between .doc or .pdf.
It’s hard to say which is better since the scenario can vary. See the comparison to decide which file format you’ll use.
Send Resume Format in ms Word/.doc
When choosing your resume fonts, keep one thing in mind: It's all about making your application easy-to-read, relevant and noticeable by HR. If you're *not* applying for design roles, make sure your resume font size is clean and convenient for skimming.
A good resume layout decides the first glance of your hiring manager.
Font SizeLine Spacing
Most resume length should be 1 page -- especially for applicants with <7 years of working experience, freshers, and students. If your resume exceeds one page or even two pages, consider reviewing and removing irrelevant content, or avoid reiterating the same information.
The reason for a one-page resume format is to ensure your document is brief, condense, straight to the point, and easy to read. You have only 6 secs to catch their attention, so list only the essence.
A CV for job application could be longer than a resume -- but no more than 2 pages of A4 for most candidates.
Hit the title to see more about how to write each resume section!
Free Online Resume Builder - CakeResume
If you would like to build a more customized resume format using online resume maker, CakeResume provides rich choices of resume template-snippets segmented by sections. By dragging and dropping resume template-snippets, building a resume template/format on your own is just like a piece of cake 🍰
After choosing an awesome resume format, the next big step is to write a professional resume! If you're having difficulty in generating quality contents for your resume, feel free to refer to the Ultimate Resume Writing Guide and land your dream job with ease 🎉
--- Originally written by Wu Chao Min ---