A professionally written and formatted resume will open doors. Hiring managers can easily see your qualifications if your resume format is clean and simple. We’ll show you how to format a resume to submit with your job applications, and review examples of the best resume layouts, so you can create a resume that gets responses.

The 3 Main Resume Formats

The format of your resume structures the organization of your professional story. There are three main formats: chronological, functional, and hybrid. The resume format that will best showcase your accomplishments mostly depends on your background and industry. My Perfect Resume’s builder offers great options for each resume format.

Chronological Resume Format

A chronological resume is the standard resume format. It clearly shows off the companies you’ve worked for, and length of employment. To build it, list jobs in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current or most recent job, and then moving backward.

A chronological resume typically includes a summary, work history, skills and education section in that order. Consider choosing the chronological resume format if you’re looking to stay within the same industry throughout your career, for it provides a clear view of your progress.

BENEFITS:

  • Preferred format of recruiters and hiring managers
  • Provides a concise snapshot of your work history
  • It’s easy to see career progression

BEST FOR:

  • Job seekers with a solid work history
  • Applicant with a good story to tell
  • Applicant tracking system scans

Functional Resume Format

A functional resume, unlike the chronological resume, places skills and related achievements center stage. Work history is deemphasized — in fact, this section is typically listing of previous employers and dates.

A functional resume also typically includes a summary, skills or qualification section, work history and the education section in that order. The functional format is great for people new to the workforce, with gaps in their employment history, or embarking on a career change since the functional resume downplays work history and brings marketable skills to the forefront.

BENEFITS:

  • Skills are highlighted
  • Less emphasis is placed on work history
  • Can focus on your most important accomplishments

BEST FOR:

  • Job seekers with limited work experience
  • Individuals with gaps in their work history
  • Those who are changing careers

Combination or Hybrid Resume Format

A combination or hybrid resume features both chronological and functional styles. This format combines the skills focus of the functional resume with the chronological resume approach capturing your work history.

It’s a best-of-both-worlds approach to resume writing — a format that works nicely for recent college graduates and career changers, as well as seasoned professionals who have worked many similar positions.

BENEFITS:

  • Skills and work experience share the spotlight in this format
  • Less emphasis is placed on work history
  • Provides recruiters and hiring managers with chronology

BEST FOR:

  • Those with a diverse employment history
  • Students and recent college graduates
  • Those making career changes

The 3 Formats Contain 5 Parts of Your Resume

All resume formats consist of five sections. What differs is the order of the sections and how much space your resume layout allows for them. Our best-in-class resume templates and writing tips make it easy for you to create a perfect resume in any format and tailor it to each employer.

The 3 Formats Contain 5 Parts of Your Resume

1Contact and header

At the top of your resume, place a header that contains your name and contact information. Provide your current phone number and a professional email address so hiring managers can reach you. Our resume examples show you how to present your contact information distinctively and professionally.

2Summary statement

Introduce yourself with a concise, engaging summary that highlights your most relevant skills. Your summary alone can provide enough information to encourage a hiring manager to invite you for an interview. Check out our resume templates and examples to see how it’s done.

3Skills

Your skills section should list six to eight major qualifications. Customize this list according to the preferences and requirements you see in the job posting. Mirroring terms exactly will increase your resume’s chance of passing an applicant tracking system. See how My Perfect Resume examples help you craft this section.

4Work experience

Start each entry in your work history section with the organization’s name and location, your job title, and your dates of employment. Next, provide a bullet-pointed list of top job functions and outstanding contributions. Active language and specific metrics help this section stand out. Our resume builder will help you complete this section with job-specific pre-written text examples for you to include in your writing.

5Education

Most applicants, excluding law and finance job seekers, put their education section last. In this section, list your relevant education. Recent graduates may also list relevant classes and activities, as well as academic honors. View our samples to see how to properly format this section.

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Best Chronological Resume Format Example

Chronological resume formats are best for experienced workers in all professions. Here are a few examples based on popular searches.

Software Engineer

Software Engineer

An unlimited range of industries employ software engineers. Therefore, you should list all software that you use to develop and design IT systems. Your software engineer resume should include coding languages you know and specific projects you’ve managed. Don’t forget soft skills, like collaboration and approachability.

Start with this Template

Customer Service Representative

Customer Service Representative

Include metrics to quantify your experience n a customer service representative resume, such as the percentage of customers you’ve retained or the number of workers you’ve trained. Detail tough problems you effectively solved or ways in which you went above and beyond your job description that resulted in a positive outcome.

Start with this Template

Sales Manager

Sales Manager

A management job candidate’s work history should show a progression from entry-level to managerial roles. It’s also important to include metrics that highlight your sales skills. How much did you sell? How much did you beat your goals by? See our sales manager samples for more ideas.

Start with this Template

Top Functional Resume Format Examples

Consider using a functional resume format if you are an entry-level job seeker or if you have employment gaps. For ideas, see some of our most popular functional resumes below.

Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse

Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse

Emphasize your ability to monitor and assess patients in the ICU. Highlight practical intensive care experience. Other core skills for this job include multitasking, remaining calm under stress and empathy.

Start with this Template

Data Entry

Data Entry

Mention database systems you know, even if the employer uses a different system. Listing other systems shows your breadth of experience and that you can quickly adapt to similar platforms. Also include top qualities such as attention to detail, motivation and typing speed. Check out our samples for more help.

Start with this Template

Executive Assistant

Executive Assistant

Focus on general skills that will help you manage an office and your boss’s schedule: communication, organization, multitasking and flexibility. Tell employers you learn fast on the job, can maintain a good attitude under pressure and communicate effectively. List office software programs in which you’re trained.

Start with this Template

Top 5 Resume Format Writing Tips

Read the resume format below and click the show buttons in each section to understand our top 5 resume format writing tips for each part of your resume. Follow these proven tips to create your own world-class resume using our resume builder.

  • Sean McCallum
    San Francisco, CA
    seanmccallum@example.com | 415.867.5309
    Dear Executive Chef Angela Davaros,
    Length is Crucial

    Aim for a one-page resume, but if you’ve been in the professional work world for a while, you can extend to two pages. A general rule of thumb with resume length is one page for every decade of experience. Don’t squeeze 20 years of experience into a single page or you miss detailing critical information about your experience. Recent grads and those applying for entry-level roles should always keep it to one page.

    Format is Crucial Too

    This applicant’s name stands out nicely thanks to the use of color and a slightly larger font size. A splash of color is acceptable for most fields, but for more traditional or conservative roles, stick with black and white. When considering which font to use, aim for one that is easy to read. Times New Roman is always a safe bet

  • Summary

    Highly organized and driven creative professional with extensive experience in writing, editing, and content and team management. Seeking to combine superior wordsmith and project management skills to provide a unique, engaging multimedia experience.

    Sell Yourself Fast:

    You need to make the recruiter or hiring manager sit up and take notice instantly. And one of the best ways to do that is by writing a thoughtful yet concise summary statement. Think of it as your 30-second elevator pitch to a potential employer. Provide a succinct overview of your experience, two or three valuable skill sets, and some key soft skills.

  • Key Skills & Technologies:
    • Writing, Editing, and Research
    • Project Management
    • Customer Service & Client Relations
    • Employee Training and Development
    • Online Production
    • Adobe
    • WordPress

    Include skills that support the position you are applying for.

    Most Relevant Qualifications:

    The purpose of your skills section is to provide your most relevant qualifications in an easy-to-read way. Check out the job description and see what the employer needs. Here’s a secret: the roles’ most important skills are listed at the top, while the less important ones are at the bottom. Keep that in mind as you list your skills.

  • Experience:

    Top-Notch, Redwood City, CA (2017 – present)

    Content Development Manager

    • Delivers written scripts and benefits and training videos for the HR departments of enterprise and SMB clients through diligent organization and coordination of multiple, simultaneous projects
    • Creatively contributes to project work, including script writing and editing, as necessary
    • Utilizes leadership expertise for project management and collaborations on script quality, systems use, brand guidelines adherence, and design and client-facing best practices
    • Oversees all phases of project contributions, including direct oversight of a nine-member team of writers, designers, animators, and quality control specialists

    San Francisco Arts University / Online Campus, San Francisco, CA (2015 – 2017)

    Content Editor Supervisor

    • Provided leadership, training, and supervision of content editors throughout the lifecycle of online course creation, focusing on high quality deliverables and job satisfaction
    • Wrote and edited the supporting text for 37 multimedia-enhanced online arts courses over the course of 10 semesters
    • Collaborated with Online Campus management, department directors, content editors, and designers for successful delivery of deadline-driven content and technical solutions
    • Developed comprehensive training materials for the online teaching of previously onsite-only sculpture courses, delivering all materials one month ahead of schedule
    • Assisted in the hiring of editorial staff
    Note Your Areas of Expertise

    Here’s your chance to pack your resume with the keywords and phrases that tie to the particular job you’re after, as well as the industry you’re looking to work in. You stand a better chance of getting you resume past an ATS and into the hands of a human if you zero in on the keywords that are most relevant to the job at hand.

    Make Your Experience Pack a Punch

    Your experience section needs to be concise, yet comprehensive. Master that balancing act by using five to eight bullet points in place of paragraphs to your tasks and responsibilities in each position. Include specifics on successful projects and actions you took that resulted in positive outcomes and include data wherever possible

    Use Action Verbs

    Remember, your goal is to capture the attention of a hiring manager or a recruiter. Start every bullet point with an action verb, just like this jobseeker did. You’ll sound very non-action-oriented if you start off every bullet point with something robotic like “responsible for” or “accountable for.”

  • Education

    Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing

    San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA (2015)

    Go Back to School

    In your education section, start with your most recent degree, and then go back from there. Unless it is recent, you don’t have to include graduation dates. If you’re still in school, note your anticipated graduation date. Don’t include a GPA, unless it was excellent and you are a recent graduate. Finally, only list high school/GED if it’s your only education—if you have a college degree, then it’s assumed you graduated high school.

As you can see, this resume fits the bill of a well-formatted, well-organized resume. It contains over 6 years of experience on one page, as well as all of the most important and necessary resume components all listed in the proper order:

  • name/contact information,
  • a summary statement,
  • a key skills section (also known as an ‘areas of expertise’ section),
  • a work experience section,
  • and an education section

Time to create your resume now, let My Perfect Resume help you from start to finish!

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ATS and Your Resume Format

Did you know that the average amount of time that recruiters and hiring managers spend looking at a resume is six seconds? Even more alarming: many large companies employ applicant tracking systems (ATS) to pre-filter—and in many cases, reject—resumes before they even reach human hands.

What does this disturbing news mean to a job seeker in the 21st century? Well for one, it means your resume needs to be in pristine, tip-top shape. And a big part of making your resume shine is a proper resume format. Luckily, we’ve got you covered in. Explore our vast collection of formats and then we can help you pick one that will work best for your needs.

Resume Format FAQs

  • 1. Which resume format do employers prefer?

    Employers prefer an organized resume format that is easy to read. You can choose a chronological, functional, or combination/hybrid resume format. Whichever you pick, make sure it does the best job of highlighting your achievements and skill level. Use our builder to ensure a high-quality resume format.

  • 2. How do I format a resume in Microsoft Word?

    Our resume builder lets you create your resume, then download it as a Microsoft Word doc. This makes it easy for you to quickly make a professionally formatted resume.

  • 3. What is the best resume format for a college student?

    Functional or resume formats are good choices for a college student. These formats are great for students and recent graduates, who usually have little to no relevant work experience. However, you may have had a part-time job, a volunteer position, an internship, or taken a relevant class. With our builder, you can easily showcase each qualification you bring to the job.

  • 4. What is the best resume format for an experienced jobseeker?

    The chronological resume format is best for experienced job seekers. This format focuses on your work history, so you can use the bulk of the page discussing your duties and accomplishments. You can also mention specific professional milestones you’ve achieved over the years. Hiring managers like seeing your entire job history at a glance. Create the perfect chronological resume with our useful builder.

  • 5. What is the best resume format for someone who has had the same job for over 20 years?

    A hybrid resume format is best for someone who has had the same job for over 20 years. You can emphasize the skill range you have acquired and cover your job history. You also want to let employers know how you developed professionally over this timespan, even if you kept the same job title. Our builder provides phrasing suggestions and other tools to polish your resume to perfection.

Use Our Resume Builder

My Perfect Resume is the best place for job seekers to make customized work documents. With our builder, you can build the perfect resume and easily make customized resumes for each job you apply for.

  • Our our employer-tested templates are easy to customize for every job.
  • For a stellar appearance, build each section with our pre-written examples.
  • If you have resume questions, we’ll be there for you every step of the way.
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