When writing your resume, there are three popular resume format types that are effective in producing job offers, but applicants should be aware that the first format listed below is likely the one that should be followed most often. The three types are chronological, functional and hybrid.
Chronological Format — The Most Popular Resume Format
Most standard resumes follow the chronological format, which lists jobs in reverse of the order you had them. Each job should list the job title, the name of each employer, the location of the employer, the dates of employment and your accomplishments in that job, in that order. This format is the one most preferred by employers and recruiters and is the most popular resume format on Internet job boards. It’s preferred because it is easily read and shows your job history with clear dates as well as your overall career path and proficiency growth. If you have a strong and clear career trajectory related to the job you’re applying for, go with the chronological format. The chronological organizational scheme similarly will apply to your education section, with your most recent educational attainments coming first.
Functional Format — An Alternative Format
The functional format is primarily recommended for job seekers whose resumes may present potential issues for employers, so formatting them in a functional resume is the best solution for masking such problems. Some of these problems could include long gaps in an employment history, drastic changes from a chosen career field and lack of any employment history. Instead of listing jobs as the focus of the document, this format highlights your skills whether they are job-related, transferable or adaptive skills. As much as possible, make the skills as relevant to the job you’re applying for. Functional formats may also highlight areas of expertise.
This type of resume may be useful for an applicant who is lacking related experience, but it’s far from the most popular resume format. One of the reasons for this is that many recruiters use databases that are only compatible with the chronological format. Functional resumes may also obscure your history, which could be a problem if a hiring manager wants a clearer picture of your overall trajectory.
If you’re going to use a functional format, try to give detailed support for each skill, ability or area of knowledge you provide. Think of skills that are most relevant to the job you’re applying to and add experiences under them that developed or demonstrate those skills.
Chrono-Functional Hybrid Format — A Combination Resume Format
The chrono-functional hybrid format commonly takes the functional format and adds in a barebones reverse chronology of the applicant’s employment history that typically incorporates the job title, the name of each employer, the location of each employer and the dates of employment for each job. It omits the accomplishments and other job details because that information should already be highlighted in the skills part of the resume or whatever you decided to name the main component of the functional resume. The hybrid tends to be the longest of the three formats described here. This format can be a happy medium because if you do it well, it will emphasize your strengths (e.g. your skills) while still coming across as a complete and thorough resume.
When formatting your document, you should stick with the most popular format, the chronological format, when your work history and previous experience strongly qualify you for the position. If you other resume formats, make sure they achieve their function and sell your qualifications in a clear and convincing way.
As you work on your resume, you may find the tips and other resources on LiveCareer to be useful.