Your resume is what you make out of it. What it looks like will depend on how you curate it. The appearance of your resume will depend on the format you use to fashion your resume.
While factors like the font style, font size, spacing, formatting, structuring, and the information you choose to show or omit are important, your resume format is the most important element in all this. It helps you write a standard resume which reeks of professionalism. Your goal here is to write a standard resume which will be recruiter-friendly and efficient in the way it communicates information and advances your job application
We will begin this blog with a discussion of the latest resume formats followed by an objective analysis to help you choose the resume format which will help you compose a standard resume – and in turn help you decide what your resume should look like!
Latest Resume Formats
When it comes to making a conscious decision on what your resume should look like, your resume format proves to be a major contributor in ensuring that you get the look that you are going for. A lot has changed in the resume writing industry and the number of resume formats that have proliferated over the years has continued to shoot up.
The top 3 latest resume formats are mentioned below:
- Reverse Chronological Resume Format: A reverse chronological resume format is the most widely-used and accepted resume format amongst recruiters around the world. It approaches time from a reverse order. Using this format, your most recent work experience comes first, followed by the second most recent work experience, and so on and so forth. Composing your resume using this resume format makes your resume look more professional and relevant. Since your most recent work experience is the most relevant work experience of your career, the reverse-chronological resume format helps you enhance the relevance of your resume. It also has a great look and makes your resume stand out like fireworks on the 4th of July.
- Functional Resume Format: The Functional Resume Format is a resume format which gives more weightage to your skills vis-à-vis the timeline of your professional engagements. In this resume format, you have to simply make a summary of your skills without getting into explicit details of the timeline of your work Where you worked and when you worked is not the focus of this resume format. Instead it focuses on your key skills. That’s the beauty of this resume format: it hides potential gaps in your work experience and is thus seen as an ideal format for those with gaps in their employment.
- Combination/Hybrid Resume Format: The combination or hybrid resume format, as the name suggests, is an interesting combination of the resume formats that we have mentioned above. In this resume format, equal weightage is given to your skills & work timeline. In this resume format, you have to compose your work experience section using the reverse chronological order and replace your conventional summary with a summary of your key skills.
What your resume should ideally look like should not depend on a blatant use of the resume format which you think would look nice, but should depend on the utility of that resume format for you.
Now that you know what the different types of resume formats are, all you have to do is pick the resume format that revolutionizes your job application process.
This will help you compose the standard resume that is viable for you.
The standard resume that is ideal for you may not be the same as the standard resume that may be ideal for someone else. For example, whether you use the reverse-chronological resume format, or the functional resume format, or the combination/hybrid resume format, will depend on if the resume format is able to optimize your job application process.
Mentioned below is the standard resume for different professionals based on their professional needs:
- Professionals with steady work experience: If you have a steady flow of work experience without evident gaps in your career, you should pick the reverse-chronological resume format. As discussed above, it is designed to bring out the relevance of your resume. Moreover, it is easy to compose and is easily parsed by any ATS system in the world. This means that by using this resume format, you have a very high chance of ranking well in the ATS system.
An ATS system is a filtering mechanism that companies use to optimize their recruitment needs. The reverse chronological resume format helps you rank high in the ATS. The higher your rank in the ATS, the higher is your chance of getting shortlisted.
Thus, professionals with steady work experience should use the reverse-chronological resume format.
- Professionals with employment gaps: If you are a professional who has employment gaps for some reason or another, how do you justify these gaps?
It’s tricky and you might not be very successful at it either. The two resume formats mentioned below can help:
- Functional resume format
- Hybrid/mixed resume format
While the functional resume format is fantastic for hiding employment gaps, it is not ATS-friendly. Your target here is to write a resume that cleverly conceals the gaps in your employment while simultaneously standing a fair chance of getting parsed by any ATS system in the world.
The mixed/hybrid resume format addresses this issue. As discussed above, it gives equal weightage to the timeline (which helps it become ATS-targeted) and the professionals’ skills & abilities (which helps hide employment gaps).
Thus, if you have bought a one-way ticket away from the employment island for a year or two (or more), you should really consider using the mixed/hybrid resume format to compose a standard resume format that is ideal for you!
Given below is a list of the key takeaways of this blog:
- What exactly your resume should look like, should not depend on the resume format that you think looks pleasant, but it should depend on the resume format that can advance your chances of getting shortlisted the most.
- For those with no employment gaps, the reverse-chronological resume format is the ideal resume format. On the contrary, for those with gaps in their employment, the hybrid/mixed resume format is the ideal resume format.
About the author:
On a quest to help professionals across the world land their dream jobs, Aditya lives and breathes Hiration — a platform to help job-seekers find their way in the treacherous job market — where he’s a Co-Founder and the unofficial CPO (Chief Problem-solving Officer). He likes to code away his days and nights when he’s not busy disrupting the career space.