Professionals often make the mistake of choosing a resume template on the internet without considering its format. We put the information on an ill-formatted template and send over the abysmal resume to the recruiter.
The recruiter takes one look at the resume and places it on the rejection pile. We have to stop making this mistake.
So, to help you master this, we devised a guide that will help you choose a perfect resume format for your resume.
In this guide, you will learn:
- What are the different types of resume formats
- Why do we need a resume format
- How to choose a resume format based on your experience
- How to format your resume
- Why resume formatting is important
What are the different types of resume formats?
There are three types of resume formats: reverse chronological, functional, and combinational. These formats are designed to cater to the needs of professionals depending on their work experience and the profile they are targeting.
The three types of formats are:
- Reverse chronological: This is one of the most commonly used formats among professionals. The templates you will come across online adhere to this format. This lets you showcase a rather progressive tone of career profile by listing your work profile in reverse chronology.
- Functional format: This resume follows a skills-oriented approach. Where in the reverse chronological order, we listed profiles in terms of their dates along with key points. Here, we do the same but create a separate section of key points to showcase key accomplishments. Basically, to show a functional side of the skills.
- Combination format: This resume format is a combination of the functional and the reverse-chronological format. This format allows you to emphasize on both skills and work profiles equally.
Why do we need a resume format?
A resume is as good as its format. A resume format allows you to organize your resume efficiently. In today’s market, just writing a resume with your work profile and education section does not make the cut. As recruiters receive a huge number of applications, individuals are having to create a job-specific resume.
Further, companies are deploying resume screening software (ATS: applicant tracking system) to filter out candidates whose resumes are irrelevant to the target profile. Hence, a resume format allows you to organize your skills in a manner that showcases your relevant skills and organizes your resume sections.
How to choose a resume format based on your experience
Now that we have covered the types of resume formats and their importance. The question arises, what resume format will be the best for you. Choosing a resume format depends on your profile and the number of years of experience you have.
So, here is how you choose a resume format for your profile:
- Professionals with no career gaps: Such professionals should choose a reverse chronological format as they need to project a progressive tone in their resume.
- Entry-level professionals: There are two ways you can go about this. If you do not have any experience then you should choose a reverse-chronological format. However, let’s say you earned a certification that is in line with your target profile and conducted some case studies in it. In such cases, you can use a functional format to showcase a functional side of the required skills.
- Frequent job hoppers and professionals with career gaps: Such professionals often choose a functional format for their resume. However, the functional format fails to deliver because the ATS looks for relevant points under the professional experience section. Hence, it is advisable to use a combination format where you can list your work profiles with key points and showcase your skills in a separate section as well.
If you struggle you can always use a professional to do the resume writing.
How To Format Your Resume
Your work is not limited to just deciding the format, you need to curate each section in your resume and write information in an ideal manner. To do that, we need to make sure that we write each section by its name and avoid making blunders.
Sure, the format may set the foundation for your resume but the resume section defines your chances of getting hired. There are two types of sections in a resume: standard and additional.
They are often referred to as the fundamental sections because they are common in all the resumes.
- Name and contact information
- Career summary
- Areas of expertise/Key skills
- Professional experience
These sections include extra-curricular activities, projects, languages, interests, training, publications, etc. They are often referred to as optional sections. However, their importance strictly depends on your work profile. For example, if you are a research scholar, the publications section will be highly important for you.
Tip: For functional and combination format, you need to create a separate section “summary of skills”.
Why Resume Formatting Is Important
Not having enough time on their hands to skim through a resume, recruiters need information that is readable at a glance. Formatting your resume correctly not only increases its readability but also lets you pass any screening software. Here is why curating sections and correctly formatting resume is important:
- Let’s say the recruiters are looking for your professional summary at the top of your resume, which is where it should be. However, you placed it at the very end of your resume and named it as “summary of my career”. Hence, correctly placing and naming each section in a resume is very important.
- Be strict about paragraphs in your resume. If there is anything written in paragraph form, the information will probably be ignored by the recruiter. Use bullets to ensure correct formatting for points and avoid long paragraphs.
Font design and size play a very important role in your resume. A fancy format is not readable by the ATS. Hence, you should only use traditional fonts like “Calibri, Arial, etc.” Further, most professionals include information in irregular font size. Let’s say if they are exceeding the one-line limit for a point, they would decrease the font size to fit it. Make sure the font size is regular throughout the resume.