While many people may think that a resume is a resume, there are really several different types of choose from, each with their own unique appeal and use. While you can certainly apply for any number of jobs and use the same resume, you will get better response from using the right resume, no matter what job you are applying for. The various resumes that you might choose from include: [More]

  • Reverse chronological
  • Functional
  • Hybrid
  • Accomplishment
  • Targeted
  • Linear
  • Professional
  • Academic Curriculum vitae

Of these, the format that is favored by job recruiters and others who would like to be able to scan your resume in a rapid, easy manner is the reverse chronological resume.

The Reverse Chronological Resume

Human resources staff and job recruiters like the reverse chronological resume simply because they are so easy to read, giving them a clear listing of the jobs that you have held in a reverse order. It is a good resume format to show steady work history, that you are moving in a set pattern in your education and career paths and that you are a traditional type of employee. It is suggested by experts that this format is best for use when applying for solid and traditional based industries including banking or finance, education, accounting and similar career choices.

The reverse chronological resume format can be a problem for those who have had many brief or temporary jobs or those who have lengthy gaps between jobs. It may also show other negatives such as sticking in a job for too long even after the career reached its peak and may pigeonhole you into one industry.

Who Should Use this Format?

People who should use the reverse chronological resume format include:

  • Those who have either a steady school or education record without gaps or without making any notably backward moves
  • Those who have worked for a respected member of the industry that you would like to enter or have had a steppingstone position to that industry.

Who Should Not Use this Format?

The reverse chronological resume format might not be a good idea for certain people. People who should not use this format include:

  • Those who are new to the employment world, including recent high school or college level grads or those who are returning to the working world after a long absence.
  • Those who have less than positive work histories including those who have had demotions or other problems in their past.
  • Those who are looking to get out of their current line of work completely.

Functional Resume Format

Another format to consider for your resume is the functional resume. Instead of focusing on when you worked and where, this format highlights what skills you learned or refined along the way. There are several reasons that the functional resume may be a good choice for the employee, but not favored by the employer. The basic functional resume does not include the dates and other information that most employers like to see.

Who Should Use this Format?

The functional resume might be best for:

  • Those who are looking to completely change their career path after many years working in one industry.
  • Those who are new graduates or former military personnel.

Why Bosses/Resume Readers May Not Like It

The main goal of the resume is to get a job, which starts with catching the eye of human resources, the boss or whoever is holding it at that moment. Some resume styles are favored by these people over other formats because they are easier to read or more clearly highlight what they are looking for. The functional resume might be less than desirable because:

  • It is not always as clear as the other styles
  • It may appear to the resume reader that you are trying to hide or downplay employment gaps or other problems
  • Because it does not include dates in its true form, may leave the reader wondering if this experience was ten days ago or ten years ago.

The Hybrid Resume Format

As the name implies, the hybrid resume format is a combination of both the reverse chronological resume and the functional format. It takes all of the strengths of the two resume types and combines them into one resume. However, it may become more wordy or longer than the typical resume reader would actually read.

The Accomplishment Format

For those job seekers who have plenty to actually brag about, the accomplishment resume format might be the better choice. It is the resume that is used in certain industries, particularly in the executive levels. It is also a good choice in those industries that are traditionally considered to be mobile such as advertising, communications and publishing. This is a good format not only for those who are new to the employment world after finishing their education but to those who have been working in the industry in the self-employed sector for a number of years.

Targeted Format

When you know exactly what job you want, or what job title you are going for, the targeted resume format is the best to use. It is used basically to highlight your skills point- by-point to the skills listed by the company, whether those skills were posted in the newspaper advertisement or a recruiting letter.

The problem with this format is simple: if you are applying for a job with a company that has several open positions, you may not be considered for the others because you were so clearly set on one job.

Linear Format

A linear resume goes line by line to discuss what you are ready to offer to an employer. Because it includes a lot of white space and is typically easier to read, it can stand out from the crowd, a huge benefit especially in a very tight job market.

It does not pack in a lot of information which can also be considered a plus, however some employers may consider it a method of trying to hide things. It is often a resume that will get a second or third look though, so it is a good choice for many occupations and types of job seekers.

Professional Format

While experts suggest that a resume be kept to a maximum of two pages with one page being optimal, the professional resume format is often much longer and can be as many as three to five pages long and is best used by those who are seeking upper tier type jobs or in certain professions that would certainly need the additional experience and education. For instance, doctors, scientists and lawyers as well as those seeking positions that are above general manager should use the professional format resume.

Academic Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Like the professional formatted resume, this is a lengthier document, typically six to eight pages for someone who has been in the industry for many years, about half as long for a new professional. Again, resume readers have to go through piles of resumes and other documents, so the benefit here would be to use an executive summary page which is a very brief overview of experience, skills and other qualifications. If your job title or correct means of address includes the word “doctor,” this is the resume type for you. If you can shave or condense information into another format, it might be beneficial to the reader; however, make sure that you are not missing any good information in so doing.

It can be very confusing to find the right format for you and your occupation. Coming in our next post we’ll define and discuss what kind of resume is best for different occupations.

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