The Best Resume Format For Your Situation

© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Amazing Resume Creator"

When people talk about resume formats, they are usually referring to two types of resumes. You need to address which type you want to go with when writing yours. Which format will be effective at getting you the interview you need to get the job you want. The first aspect is simple. As defined by the spacing, margins, fonts, etc... which are used to convey the resume information in the most efficient, elegant, clear manner possible. This kind of resume format can consume as little or as much of your time and energy as you want it to. If you want to just get the job done, taking a look at some effective, clean samples should give you some good ideas about how to format your resume in the style that suits your needs.

If, however, you want to really obsess over these details, there is plenty of information for you to find and apply to your resume design. The fact is, graphic design elements can play a subtle, if powerful, role in how people evaluate your resume. Depending on the level of creativity, conservatism and individuality I your target industry, you might need to make your resume more or less distinct. In any event, hardly any industries will expect much more than a standard, clean resume so if that is as far as you take the resume format process, it's probably good enough.

Resume Format: Chronological or Functional?

The second meaning of resume formats is how that information is arranged and presented. In this sense, there are two main distinctions. The first is the chronological resume format. This is the most straightforward of the two, and considered the standard format to use unless you have good reason to deviate from it. This resume format lists your jobs and responsibilities, actions, results, in a reverse chronological order, the most recent first. The strength of this resume is that it highlights your strong performance in a single company or industry, and gives a clear sense of your continuous upward job progression. For those job seekers who may not have this kid of straightforward job progression to highlight, the other main type of resume format offers a way to highlight what they do have to offer employers.

The Functional resume format is grouped by key skills that the job seeker believes qualify him or her for the open position. In this format, a resume would have heading like "communication," "sales," "leadership" or the like, followed by bullet points which recount specific accomplishments in these areas. Next, the functional resume format lists the job history as a separate section, without elaboration beyond the what ad where of each job. Lastly, the functional resume ends with education, training, interests, etc... This format is especially valuable for job seekers who have picked up valuable job skills in one field which they hope to apply in a different field in their target job. Another group of job seekers who can use this format are people who are reentering the job market after a long absence.


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