What is the best resume format for you?

To begin, there is no single format to use when creating a resume, just as there is no single tool that can tackle all jobs around the house. The resume format chosen depends on the circumstances, but before we delve further into that statement, we need to understand the types of formats that are known to hiring managers.

The most common resume format is the chronological resume. This format lists off your past work and education experience in reverse chronological order. Each entry contains your last held or currently held position (work) or course program taken (education), followed by the company / post-secondary institution name, starting and ending dates and so on.

The functional resume focuses more on experiences and skills under categorical groupings instead of listing all the companies and positions you held in reverse sequential order. Under each of these groupings you would mention all relevant work experiences, skills, and accomplishments, while omitting the dates worked and sometimes even the company and immediate supervisor names.

Another format is what is known as the chrono-functional, hybrid, or combination resume. This is much like a functional resume format except it has an additional section that lists in reverse chronological order all the companies and positions held or the post-secondary institution programs taken. The details about each position held or the post-secondary program taken are not mentioned in this section, since that should have been done in the categorical groupings portion of the resume.

There are other formats that are available, but are not as commonly used as the first three formats mentioned earlier. They are mentioned here strictly for informational purposes.

  • the mini-resume, which is a brief summary of your employment and educational milestones reached that would pertain to the position are applying for.
  • the non-traditional resume that uses infographics, video, and other multi-media content to showcase your past experiences and accomplishments.

Your past employment and educational history will determine what type of resume format to use. If your past record is consistently solid, steady, with few gaps of inactivity and is mostly relevant to the position you are applying for, the chronological resume is ideal. It should be noted that online resume databanks store jobseeker resumes in this format.

If you are someone who works part-time or has suffered one or more incidences of unemployment, are a recent graduate who is just starting out, or a jack-of-all trades that has worked more than one career, the functional resume format is ideal, since it will hide the all the gaps by omitting the dates. Bear in mind that some hiring managers may not accept this format, preferring the chronological format instead.

The combination or hybrid format has the bonus of satisfying any hiring manager’s resume format preference, but it is not as easily stored in an online resume database.

As for the lesser known formats, the mini-resume is used strictly for networking purposes and the non-traditional format should be used in career paths and industries that allow creativity and originality when applying for a position, thus making a candidate stand out in a crowd for interviewing considerations.

Regardless of the format chosen, job seekers must ensure the following are addressed when creating any resume:

Ensure your home address, telephone number, email address, website and social media information are not only accurate but will not damage your professional image.

Any educational experience must contain your degrees and name of the post-secondary institution.

Your work experience must be accurate and truthful.

Use proper heading, footing, margin settings and font style and pitch to prevent overcrowding and improve readability, leaving adequate white space to clearly separate your resume sections.

Always check for grammar and spelling mistakes.

Tailor your resume content to fit the position you are applying for, placing emphasis on and removing focus away on specific employment and educational background where appropriate.

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