Do You Know Your Resume Formats?

Resume formats vary. Our free resume formats will help you know when to use the different resume styles.

The word "resume" comes from the French word for summary. It follows then that a resume serves as a summary of your work history.

But it is much more than that. A resume is also your marketing tool to portray your talents and to sell your future employer on the potential benefits you’ll bring to the organization. Just because you want to go into health care, a "caring" career, doesn't mean you don't have sell yourself at the outset.

You’re probably familiar with the resume formats that list your various jobs in reverse chronological order, along with a listing of your job duties. At one time, this was the only resume style recruiters expected to see. But the truth is that this resume design really isn’t right for everyone.

If you lack experience, have a spotty work history, or want to change careers, a different format may work better for you ... one that will highlight your strengths, while de-emphasizing your weaknesses.

The 3 Basic Resume Formats

Most experts seem to agree that there are 3 main types of resume formats:

  • The Chronological Format. This type of resume style presents your job history and education strictly by date, with the most recent first.

  • The Functional Format. This is also sometimes known as a skills resume or skills-based resume. It contains a summary of qualifications that is organized by education, experience, and skills. There is not much emphasis on specific employer work history.

  • A Combination Format. You may also hear this resume type called a hybrid resume. It's exactly what the name says, a mix of the other two types.

However, when you think format, you may also be thinking of other factors, such as...

  • Is it a printable paper resume or an electronic resume to be displayed on a website?

  • Is it all text, or does it have geographic elements such as lines and boxes, or even pictures?

  • Is it a plain text file, a Microsoft Word file , or a PDF file?

  • Is it focused on 1 particular employer (a targeted resume), or is it more general, to be used for any job you may apply for (sometimes called an inventory resume)?

On this website, we’ll use the term "resume formats" to mean chronological, functional, etc. We’ll refer to the other factors in terms of layout or templates or design. These factors will be discussed in other areas of this website.

So, to sum up, it is important that your resume styles be individualized to both you and the job which you are seeking. But almost as important is making the right choice from among the various resume formats.

You may want to consult with a professional resume writing service to help make that decision. But if you’re the type who likes to do things on your own, you may be wondering how one goes about selecting the right format for each situation.

Thought you’d never ask!

Click this link to learn about choosing resume formats...

Top of Resume Formats page