Which resume format will help me stand out?

When you’re applying for a position with a resume, you don’t usually get a chance to shake the hiring manager’s hand. You can’t throw on your flashiest smile and tell them why they should hire you, right? A resume is just that - a flashy smile and a clear, confident way to let them know why you’re “The One.” If your resume format is too ordinary or too all over the place, you’re going to be in for a bumpy ride no matter where you apply. Unsure which resume format is right for you? Trying to sort out which format will help your resume really shine and get you that interview? Well, you’ve got options!

Applicants have three most used and most effective types of resume formats. Designed with specific things in mind, the formats are; Chronological, Functional and Combination.

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First up, is The Chronological Resume Format.

This one is the one we’re all used to seeing and know to be “the resume format.” This is the format that starts with your resume objective at the top of the list. It’s easy to think that because this is the one we grew up with, it makes it the best. Unfortunately, it certainly can send you in the opposite direction of where you want to go with employment if you aren’t careful. This format is used to highlight your previous work experience, education and hobbies in a list form. This is a great format for someone who doesn’t have big gaps in their work history or is hoping to advance careers in the same field.

The chronological resume format allows you to clearly list what skills you’ve gained from previous workplace and educational environments. This resume format is also great at showing what you were responsible for. This helps your future employers know what they can expect from you. If you have some unemployment gaps or are applying for a position in a field brand new to you, this may not be the resume format for you. Luckily, there’s more! Next we have The Functional Resume Format.

Applicants use this format far less but it definitely holds true to its name. This resume format downplays workplace experience. Instead, it places your skills, accomplishments and responsibilities as the stars of the show. If you’re fresh out of college or don’t have much work experience, a functional resume format may be the one for you. This resume format gives the ability to really showcase the skills that you bring to the table, as opposed to where you’ve applied those skills.

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This format does have some downsides. To start, you have to change it up to reflect which of your skills apply to the position. This is really only the case if you’re applying for multiple fields, however. Employers aren’t terribly familiar with this format either, so it may throw some of your potential employers off. Something that goes hand-in-hand with a less known resume format is that Applicant Tracking Systems don’t interact well with them. Applicant Tracking Systems are programs that help employers find the best resumes applicable to their position. If you’re looking to break into the workforce with confidence, ready to show off your skills. Then the functional resume format is for you. Last but never least is the Combination Resume Format.

You guessed right, it’s our two previous formats combined into one. The combination format focuses on highlighting skills in the order in which they were learned. So this format ends up a bit more lengthy than others. This doesn’t mean you need to go through the long haul of typing out all of your work information as we do in the Chronological resume format. That information still goes at the bottom with something as simple as title and years worked. It just means that instead of relevant skills listed, you list all skills learned at each workplace. This format can also be seen as a bit more desirable than other formats when it comes to technical positions, due to its detail and seemingly well-kept records.

Remember to be You.

Ultimately, use whichever resume format pops out to you, just make sure to stay true to yourself. Show them your best you and all of the things you do, but make sure it’s you on that paper. Think about what type of resume format will work best for your past experience and what abilities you bring to the table. Another thing, if you aren’t comfortable writing your own or deciding which format works for you, there are some extraordinary resume writers and resume writing services available. Resumes are our first impression when it comes to employment, and what’s that saying, about impressions lasting a lifetime?