A Guide to Resume Formats

Every Job applicant wants to captivate the attention of the recruiters. Only a great resume can help you stand apart from the rest of the job applicants. Choosing the right format of the resume can be an important factor in creating a readable, professional resume.

The Right format will…

  • Showcase your value as a prospective candidate.
  • Help the recruiters make decisions in seconds.
  • Help your resume to evade the applicant tracking system (ATS).

If you pick the wrong one, your resume will annoy the human overlords and smart little bots.

Which format is best?

Don’t worry,keep  reading to know about the tricks of formatting a resume.

Method of Formatting a Resume

  1. Keep margins on all four sides.
  2. Pick a professional looking 11 or 12pt font and stick to it.
  3. Create a proper header section in your resume to showcase your contact details.
  4. Divide the resume into different legible sections, like contact information, summary, work experience, skills, education, etc.
  5. Use bullet points for describing past job experiences.
  6. Single or 1.5 line spacing is appropriate for a professional-looking resume.
  7. Add extra space before and after each section heading.
  8. Don’t drag on your resume. Make it professional and precise.
  9. Don’t use photos on your resume if the job description does not ask you for one.

What Is The Best File Format For a Professional Resume?

  • PDF is the best file format for your resume as it keeps the layout intact in all kinds of devices.
  • You can also create resumes in DOC or DOCX files. Read the job description closely to understand if there are any specific requirements.
  • To be on the safe side, save a PDF as well as a DOC file of your resume.
  • Don’t use file formats that do not have any text layers, like PNG or JPG.
  • You should not use the files dedicated to graphic software as well.

Three Most Popular Resume Formats and Related Pros, Cons and Tips

Chronological Resume Format

  • This is the most popular resume formats used by job seekers.
  • This format focuses on the job experience.
  • It highlights the details of the companies you have worked for as well as the length of the employment.

Pros

  • Most hiring managers and recruiters like this resume format.
  • It offers a concise picture of your work history.
  • The recruiters can map the progression of your career easily.

Cons

  • In this format, employment gaps seem more prominent.
  • It is not a suitable format for the job seekers who are trying to change their career.
  • This format is not right for the candidates who do not follow a standard progression.

Employer Tips:

Reap most of the chronological resume format by linking your achievements highlighted in the work history section to the job you are applying for. You should use numbers and actions verbs when describing and supporting your achievements.

Ideal For

  • Job seekers who do not have any gaps in their career and can show slow and steady growth.
  • Job seekers with robust work history.
  • Applicant tracking system scans.

Functional Resume Formats

  • Put skills of the job seeker at the center stage.
  • As this format does not give that much importance to the work history, this format is great for the people who are new to the workforce, wants a change in career or have significant employment gaps in their career graph.

Pros

  • This is the best resume format for highlighting the skills of job seekers.
  • This resume puts less stress on the work history, which makes it perfect for the job seekers changing their careers.
  • The resume only focuses on your important accomplishments and help the recruiters to choose the best candidate.

Cons

  • The excessive stress on the skills can make the job seekers look inexperienced.
  • Some recruiters might think that job seekers are trying to hide the gaps in their career.
  • Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can find it difficult to scan this resume format.

Employer Tips:

  • It is wise to create categories for the different skill sets of the candidates using this format.
  • The candidates should also use the qualifications that fit the specifications of each job. The best way to do that is to find the keywords from the job description and use them in your resume.

Ideal For

  • job seekers with limited experience.
  • Individuals with significant gaps in their career.
  • For those who are trying to change their careers.

Combination Resume Format

  • This format is a combination of the functional format as well as chronological format.
  • This mixed approach enables this format to help career changers, as well as professionals with robust career backgrounds.

Pros

  • The work experiences, as well as the skills of the job seeker, get equal importance in this resume format.
  • Emphasizes on relevant work achievements rather than putting on a spotlight on your entire career.
  • Contextualizes the relevant skills to your achievements and highlights their importance for the prospective position.

Cons

  • This format is not good for people who do not have that much of experiences.
  • The skills and achievements should be on the same track for this resume format to become effective.
  • Broadens the gaps people might have in their work history.

Employer Tips:

The combination resume gives importance to your work history and shows the recruiter your career path. It also highlights the transferable skills that can be useful in different career fields.

Ideal For

  • People with diverse employment history
  • People who want to make a career change.
  • People who have transferable skills.

How to Format the Resume to Pass the ATS Scan?

  • Place the contact details at the top or other prominent section of your resume.
  • Don’t use fancy graphics.
  • Save your resume in PDF format. Now, paste the content into a TXT text editor. If the pasted content does not get scrambled, ATS can scan your resume.

Resume Format FAQ

Which Format Is Favorite of The Employers?

Recruiters love an organized resume that helps them to scan the qualification and achievements easily. No matter what format you choose, make sure it highlights your skills and achievements. If confused, talk to our professionals for further help.

Which One Is the Best Resume Format for a College Student?

The functional resume format is great for both college students and newbies who have little or no relevant experience. This resume format enables them to highlight the skills they gather from doing a part-time job or taking a relevant class in the school.

What Is The Best Resume Format For Someone Who Has Been Doing The Same Job for Past 20 Years?

The combination resume format is the best choice for such job seekers. This format will help them to highlight their acquired skills as well as enable them to showcase their long work history.