Guest Post: Choosing a Resume Format

(Guest post by Resume Genius)

Before you write your resume, you need to pick an appropriate resume format. The best format for you personally will depend on your work experience, relevant skill set, and target industry.

There are three main resume formats for you to choose from, and they are the: 

  1. Chronological format 
  2. Functional format
  3. Combination format

Chronological Resume Format

A chronological resume emphasizes your work experience — listing your previous roles in order, beginning with the most recent. Your most relevant work responsibilities are listed under each role, along with the dates you began and left the position.

This resume format is recommended for the majority of job seekers, including people without work experience and those who’ve worked their way up in the same industry.

Functional Resume Format

Rather than focusing on your work experience, a functional resume instead highlights your skills and abilities. Under each skill, key achievements are listed that show these skills in action. 

On a functional resume, you don’t need to hash out every job you’ve held. However, if you choose to do so, only include the company name and role.

Functional resumes are best suited to people with a nontraditional work history. If you’ve switched industries or have gaps in your employment history for any reason, this is the resume format for you.

Combination Resume Format

A combination resume, as the name suggests, combines the features of the chronological and functional resume formats. Aside from your resume introduction, the space on the page is shared almost equally between the skills section and your work experience.

Use this resume format if your work history and skills are both vital to the job, or you work in a technical field that requires a broad range of abilities to perform.

How to Choose Your Format

Consider these three areas when choosing your resume format:

  1. How much total work experience you have
  2. How much experience you have in your target industry
  3. Whether you have special technical skills or expertise that can be used in your target role

Our infographic breaks down these three different resume formats, and also includes a flowchart to help you decide which format to use. Simply answer a few questions to discover which format is best for you. Here’s the Chronological format; find the other infographics here.

chronological resume format example, labeled sections

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