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What is the Best Resume Format

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The purpose of your resume is to tell a (short) story about who you are, what you have done and what you can do.

And your personal story should impress the recruiters better, otherwise, no work for you.

Part of developing an effective resume is choosing the right format to tell your personal story. But very few people plan to format their resumes in a way that highlights their specific skills and experiences.

Don't assume that only one resume format is suitable for everyone.

In this guide, we will give you some simple tips on the format of your resume that you can use to update and improve your resume.

The 3 main resume formats are as follows:

  • Chronological format of the curriculum vitae
  • Functional resume format
  • Combined resume format

No, a resume isn't a resume. And that means there is more flexibility in choosing the format that best emphasizes your qualifications. Here are the three most common resume formats that recruiters expect to see.

1. Inverted chronological resume format

This is the choice of bread and butter for most job seekers. It's also the simplest CV format and the one that recruiters see the most, which can make an "ordinary" reverse chronological resume.

With this resume format, the work experience section gets the most attention, with the items sorted in order, from the most recent to the oldest. The resume presentation places the section on work experience ahead of skills and education.

What to include in the chronological resume format:

  • Contact information
  • Summary of the summary
  • Professional title
  • Work experience (essential content)
  • skills
  • education
  • Additional sections

2. Functional resume format

This resume format has also been called a competency-based resume format. This is the least popular format for a resume used today. And many recruiters aren't familiar with this format because the emphasis isn't on professional experience. Instead, the layout devotes more space to the skills that are relevant to the role being pursued.

What to include in the functional resume format:

  • Contact information
  • Summary of the summary
  • Professional title
  • Summary of competencies (essential content)
  • Additional skills
  • Work experience
  • Education

3. Combined resume format

You guessed it, this resume format combines both chronological and functional resume formats. Call it the best of both worlds, or a middle ground, this format puts as much emphasis on skills and work experience.

Because you want to pay a lot of attention to both, you may not have much room for other sections, such as résumé resume, volunteer work, interests, etc.

Reminder of CV best practices

Most recruiters want your full resume to be on one page, but a maximum of two pages is acceptable for those with long professional experience.

What to include in the combined resume format:

  • Contact information
  • Summary of skills*
  • Additional Skills *
  • Work experience*
  • Education

* The layout of this type of resume is flexible, so you can choose the order of the section of skills and work experience. But "Additional Skills" should always follow "Summary Skills".

How to choose the best CV format

Now that we have covered the different types of resume formats, it's time to help you choose the one that suits your situation.

As already mentioned, you want to choose a CV format that fits your personal profile.

Remember that work experience isn't the only factor to consider when choosing a format. You should also consider the position, company and industry you're looking for.

Formatting is just one way to tailor your resume to a particular job or business, and an attractive layout can highlight your application from hundreds of others. So, if you're applying for a job in a more creative industry, such as marketing or design, then you probably don't want to use a traditional resume format.

An inverted chronological resume format is good for:

  • People of all levels of professional experience
  • People looking for a job in a field similar to their professional experience
  • People with no major gaps in their work history
  • People applying for a job in a more traditional sector (accounting, finance, engineering, etc.)

A functional resume format is good for:

  • People with a high level of professional experience
  • People who change careers in a field that's not related to their work experience.
  • Persons with unusually large differences in their work history
  • People applying for more creative or skills-based positions (design, computer programming, etc.).

A combined CV format is good for:

  • People who change careers and whose skills or work experience apply to all sectors of activity
  • Persons with certain employment gaps
  • People with varied skills and experiences
  • People applying for creative or traditional roles

You'll notice some overlap in the descriptions above for choosing a resume. The fact is that it's difficult to place an individual in a definitive category. To help you choose what's right for you, let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each resume format.

See also: CV Resume Format

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