What’s the Top Resume Format?

Chronological? Functional? Combination? What do employers consider the top resume format and which one should you use?

In real estate it’s all about location. In resume writing it’s format, format, format. Why is resume format so important to your job search? The right resume format for your situation will tell the recruiter or employer why you’re qualified for the job — all within a quick scan of your resume.

The Top Three Resume Formats

There are three commonly known resume formats: chronological, functional, and combination (a hybrid of the chronological and functional formats). Let’s look at these three options.

When to Use the Chronological Resume Format

The chronological resume format presents your professional experience according to your work chronology. Each career achievement statement is placed under the job title and company name where the achievement took place.

Use a chronological resume if you want to:

  • Remain in the same field as your current or most recent job.
  • Make a vertical career move that makes total sense to the hiring manager when he looks at your work history.

When to Use the Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format presents your relevant achievements under Skill Headings in the body of your resume. The work chronology is in a separate section near the end of the resume. That Work History section is very brief, listing only dates, job titles, company names, and location.

By separating the achievements from the work chronology, achievements are emphasized and the work history is de-emphasized. This may sound like a good idea to someone who has a troubled work history. However, for most job seekers, I recommend NOT using the functional format. Here’s why: Most employers see the functional resume as a technique for hiding employment problems (which is usually true) and therefore they see it as a red flag.

The only time I recommend using the functional resume is when the other two resume formats (the chronological and combination) absolutely don’t work for you.

One solution: If you have work history problems and don’t want to use the functional resume format, use my Ready-Made Resume Builder. Ready-Made Resume offers chronological and combination formats that have work history solutions built right into the resume templates. You’ll be surprised how good you can look on paper, despite having problems in your work history.

When to Use the Combination Resume Format

The combination resume format is the chronological format with a key feature: achievement statements under each job title are organized according to skill subheadings. These skill subheadings help you highlight your transferable skills, much the way the functional resume format does.

The combination format is ideal for anyone who wants to:

  • Make a career change.
  • Give dynamism to a long work history at one job.

So, what’s the top resume format for you? Answer: the one that — in just a few seconds — presents you as the candidate with the most impressive qualifications and the least amount of risk to the employer.

Ready-Made Resume Formats

If you don’t like creating resume formats from scratch, use my Ready-Made Resume Builder. You’ll get a good choice of chronological, functional, and combinations resume templates in an array of designs. It also has ready-made resume phrases that you can copy and paste into the resume templates. Check it out!