- How to Format a Resume - 3 Common Job Resume Formats
- chronological, functional, combinational
- 8 Extra Resume Format Templates
- How to Choose the Right Resume Format
- freshers, experienced job seekers, 6+ professions
- FAQs about Resume Format
- Free Resume Templates & Formats ➡ Download
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
How to Format a Resume
- 3 Job Resume Formats
The most used resume formats for a job are:
- Chronological resume format
- Functional resume format
- Combination resume format
Each of them emphasizes different aspects with respective pros and cons. Choosing the right job resume format will affect your job search significantly!
◆ Chronological (“Reverse-Chronological”)
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.
- Preferred by most recruiters and employers.
- Highlights work history progress.
- Demonstrate career mobility and qualifications.
- Most recognized ATS(Applicant Tracking Systems)-compliant format resume.
- Career gaps are obvious.
- If your career path does not follow a regular progression, it may bring attention or question.
View chronological resume example 🔍
◆ Functional (“Skill-based”)
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.
- Covers limited, unstable, or interrupted work history.
- Highlights career expertise and specialization.
- Ideal for a career change like the military to civilian, or moving to a new area.
- Recruiters would be sensitive enough to know you are hiding something.
- Not suitable if you lack relevant skills for the job description.
- ATS system might have a problem scanning the document.
View functional resume example 🔍
◆ Combination (“Hybrid”)
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.
- Highlight strong work history along with skills and personal achievements.
- Ideal job resume format for the experienced or career changers with a substantial working background.
- Longer and less concise than chronological and functional resume format.
- Repetitive descriptions could cause negative impressions.
- ATS system might have a problem scanning the document.
View combination resume example 🔍
8 Extra Resume Format Templates
Standard resume format
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.
Formal resume format
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.
Simple resume format
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.
Modern resume format
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.
International resume format
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.
Attractive resume format
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.
Professional resume format
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.
New resume format
Check out the Latest Resume Templates from CakeResume that includes the most updated new resume format, such as below and more! Make an impressive resume in 15 minutes and download resume PDF for free using our featured online resume format editor.
CakeResume provides free online resume templates for job applications. Create a resume from scratch using our resume editor to build eye-catching resumes!
How to Choose the Right Resume Format
If you’re not sure how to choose a suitable resume format, here are professional format guides categorized into 8 kinds of job seekers.
1. Fresher & Student
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.
2. Experienced Job Seeker
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.
4. IT (Information Technology)
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:
- emergency response
- patient safety
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.
FAQs about Resume Format
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
- ATS (Applicant Tracking System) can read word documents nice and smoothly.
- It works better for a large company that runs ATS with an outdated computer system.
- Recruitment companies might want to edit or mark notes on your resume document.
- Older versions of Microsoft Word could destroy your neat layout (We all know how that feels).
- Stylish fonts could get lost and appear garbled.
- It leaves less creative flexibility for you to design.
Send Resume Format PDF file/.pdf
- PDF resumes are cross-platform friendly: accessible from mobiles, laptops, to computers.
- The layout and fonts stay exactly the same as you designed.
- Older versions of ATS may have problems scanning PDF files and miss texts in images, or skip graphics.
- PDFs created by Photoshop or Illustrator are often too big to send or upload.
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.
- Play safe by going for the usuals: Arial, Calibri, Helvetica, or Times New Roman.
- If you're sending a PDF file, variable ones offered by Google like Catamaran add a modern touch. Remember to avoid display fonts & never use handwriting styles.
- Assign clear paragraph styles to Headings and normal texts.
- Try Bold for Headings, italic for dates, and normal for texts.
- Keep your description texts between 10-12pt (≈13-16 px), and Heading text 12-14pt (≈16-19 px).
Font SizeLine Spacing
- Line Spacing is also crucial for skimming through the resume.
- Set it between 1.2-1.5, depending on fonts. Creating a comfortable reading experience for HR is a must.
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!
- Personal details
It is necessary to add 1. your full name, 2. primary phone number, 3. email address, 4.country and city you’re currently in, and 5.LinkedIn, Github, or personal website.
Remember to update them and provide the latest version of your profile.
- Resume Headline
It is a one-line phrase that briefly summarizes a candidate’s experience, strengths, and qualifications.
- Summary or Career Objective
3-5 sentences that define you as a professional individual. It has to be short, strong, and relevant to the position you're applying for.
- Professional Work Experience
It should include 1. organization, 2. job location, 3. role title, and 4.beginning and end dates. Quickly highlight a candidate's suitability for the role.
- Portfolios and Projects
It is vital if you are a designer, software engineer, or marketing professional. Adding projects and portfolios can make your resume more appealing and professional.
List your qualification requirement for the job position you’re applying for. That includes hard/soft skills, computer skills, or language skills.
Add 1.school title 2.the city and country, 3.duration of the study, 4.major and degree.
List GPA, relevant coursework, academic honors if you have an outstanding record.
- Certificates and Awards
It brings a positive impression. List online course certificates or competition awards by expertise or chronologically, depending on your needs.
- Hobbies or interests (Optional)
While it may not be a game-changer, the "Area of Interest" section is an opportunity to show off the personal side of you. Write specific achievements about your interests.
- References on resume (Optional)
It is not requested in most cases but can help employers further evaluate the candidate based on an objective perspective.
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 🍰
Free Resume Templates & Formats (downloadable PDF)
Hybrid / Combination resume
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 ---