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Best Resume Formats

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 jobseeker 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 proper resume format. Luckily, we’ve got you covered in this department. Explore our vast collection of formats and get the guidance you need to choose a design and layout that’s perfect for you.

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Chronological, Functional, or Hybrid Resume Format?

Understanding the type of format that will work best for your employment needs is of critical importance. While you might think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to resumes and their formats, that’s not the truth. There are options. Let’s define the three most common resume formats, and explain how—and why—you might choose to use one.

PS: It’s easy to go the standard (translation: best-known) route and create a chronological resume in our builder. You can also find ways to turn your chronological resume into a functional one, or a hybrid.

Chronological

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A chronological resume is the standard resume format. To build it, list jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent job, and then moving backward.

The reason this format is so common is that it provides a concise snapshot of your work history. It allows recruiters and hiring managers to quickly and easily check the job titles an applicant has held, as well as the companies they’ve worked for, and the periods of time they were employed
with companies.

A chronological resume also typically includes a summary (before the work history), as well as an education section and a skills section (both following work history). 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 ascension.

Also, consider using it for this one very simple reason—as mentioned already, it’s the format that recruiters and hiring managers are most accustomed to!

Functional

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A functional resume is a less-common format. In this format, you group jobs by type, and not necessarily in the order in which the jobseeker held them.

Unlike the chronological resume, skills—and achievements tied to skills—take center stage in the functional resume. You place less emphasis on work history—in fact, this section will typically appear towards the bottom of the resume. A functional resume also typically includes a summary (before the skills section) and an education section (following the skills section).

Consider choosing the functional format if you’re a jobseeker who’s new to the workforce (a college graduate, for example), or if you have gaps in your employment history, or if you’re embarking on a career change path. The reason for this is simple—as already mentioned, the functional resume downplays your work history and brings all of your marketable, desirable skills to the forefront.

Hybrid

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A hybrid resume is a combination of both resume formats. You mix elements, tying the skills focus of the functional resume to the work history fixation of the chronological resume. It’s a best-of-both-worlds approach to a resume—a format that works nicely for recent college graduates and career changers, as well as seasoned professionals who have worked many similar positions.


More Professional Resume Format Examples

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Resume Format in Word

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MyPerfectResume can assist you with creating a top-notch resume that shows you’re ready to take the work world by storm, like this professional resume format!

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MyPerfectResume’s standard resume format allows you to start basic, and then build and customize. Put yourself on the path to your dream job, starting now!

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Launch yourself—with confidence and poise—into an exciting and rewarding career using My Perfect Resume’s student resume format!


Best Resume Format: Writing Tips

1. Length is Crucial

Aim for a one-page resume, but if you’ve been in the professional work world for a while, you’ll likely need to extend to two pages. And there’s nothing wrong with that! A general rule of thumb with resume length—1 page for every 10 years of experience. Do not attempt to force 20 years of experience into a single page. If you go this route, you’ll likely end up deleting a lot of attractive information about your experiences in various roles. And word to recent grads, or those applying for entry-level roles—your resume should definitely only be one page.

2. Format is Crucial, Too

This applicant’s name stands out nicely due to the use of color, and
the fact that it’s in a slightly larger font size than the rest of the resume. A splash of color across your name or resume sub-headings is acceptable, but if you’re applying for a more traditional or conservative job (such as a financial analyst), then stick with black and white. When considering what font to use, aim for reading easiness (meaning, make sure the font is an easily digestible one to read). Times New Roman is always a safe bet.

3. 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.

You can make this section using our resume builder.

4. 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!

You can make this section using our resume builder.

5. Make Your Experience Pack a Punch

Your experience section needs to be as comprehensive as possible. Yet, it also needs to be to-the-point. You can master that tricky act by using—in place of paragraphs—five to eight bullet points to describe the tasks you carried out in each position, as well as your noteworthy accomplishments. Include specifics on successful projects and actions you took that resulted in positive outcomes (see the fourth bullet point under the content editor supervisor position on this jobseeker’s resume).

PS: there’s no need to include periods at the end of bullets. Also: use the present tense when describing a role you’re currently in, and the past tense for previous ones. And always list dates of employment and business locations for each role.

You can make this section using our resume builder.

6. Use Action Verbs

Remember, your goal is to capture the attention of a hiring manager ora 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.”

7. Go Back to School

When typing out your education section, start with your most recent degree, and then go back from there. It’s fine to not include the date of graduation if it goes back a bit far, or if putting the date would cause a gap on your resume. If you’re in progress with a degree, write “in progress” or “anticipated graduation 20xx.” GPA?

Do not include it, unless you are a recent graduate. You are free to include cum laude, summa cum laude, or magna cum laude next to each degree obtained, if you’d like. If you finished coursework toward a degree at one university but obtained the actual degree from another university, only list the university from which you graduated.

Finally, you only need to list high school/GED if it’s your only education—if you have a college degree, then it’s assumed you graduated high school.

You can make this section using our resume builder.

As you can see, this resume fits the bill of a well-formatted, well-organized resume. It contains 10 years of experience on one page, as well as all of the most important and necessary resume components, including 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, all listed in the proper order. Buckle down and create your resume now, and let MyPerfectResume help you from start to finish!

Be sure to check more Resume Formatting Tips for Your Specific Job Industry!


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