Which Resume Format Best Suits Your Application?

6 min read

Proper resume format is what makes an application summary perfect. You can’t be good at resume writing without knowing the right format to use. Otherwise, if you’re aware of the different resume formats and will try your hand at crafting your own piece and, chances are you’d create a compelling resume despite your lack of experience. That’s how crucial resume formats are.

Now, as a job seeker who has 3 to 5 years of work experience, you might need to take this thing seriously before writing your resume or lose your chances of landing the job.

What should you know about resume formats? How do they differ? How does each format work? What should be your basis in picking the format that would best work for you? Know the basics.

On Choosing the Right Resume Format for You

The most appropriate format to use doesn’t depend on your gut but on your personal circumstance. Specifically, your format depends on factors such as career path and work history.

Each of these formats can highlight your own strengths while reducing emphasis on details that may cast a bad light on your hiring chances. With the most important and impactful details coming first, the hirer’s task of navigating through your paper becomes a lot easier.

What’s good about knowing the differences among resume formats? It bolsters your job search as you convey your major qualifications above anything else. You’re leading the hirers toward details that matter to them!

A Job Applicant Contemplating About The Right Resume Format To Use

What are the Resume Formats?

Four resume formats exist today: chronological, functional, hybrid, and targeted. Which suits you? Read on as we tackle each of these formats.


Also known as reverse-chronological, this most standard format stresses one’s career progression over the years. This one lists your work experiences from the recent jobs backwards, hence the name.

A chronological resume format works well if you intend to pursue the same career path you have started. Yes, it requires steady career path without any gaps or flaws. Likewise, it shows how your recent job posts fit well to the target job. Whether you’re seeking the same job title or pursuing a different one but in the same field, this is the right resume format for you!

How to craft a resume of this format? Be sure to have your work experience section shown at the upper half of your resume’s first page, just below your profile summary. Put here the jobs you’ve held, but only the ones relevant to your desired job post. Include certain job titles, names of companies you’ve worked for, their locations, and inclusive dates of employment. Cite your job descriptions in bullet points. If you have key achievements for each job, put them as well using numbers and figures to better quantify your success.

In addition, do away with work experiences from over 10 years ago, since you can simply list them under a new section, labeled “Earlier Career.”

Aside from professional experience, the education section may also play a vital role in this format type. This is because most job seekers’ earned degree is related or somehow relevant to the job being pursued.


This type of resume format highlights your skills as your major strengths above any other—no matter what job posts you’ve held. Skills can be both hard and soft skills. This format’s goal is to tell hiring managers how your competencies can contribute to the success of the company.

A functional resume format serves its purpose well if you’re an associate job seeker who intends to shift careers or has employment gaps, making your work history unimpressive to recruiters. These gaps could be due to circumstances such as illness, childbirth and parenting, schooling, travel, or jail term. Further, use this format if you have diverse backgrounds yet don’t have a clear career path to pursue.

How to perfect a functional resume? Focus on your skills and list them down in a section. Include here your technical acumen, especially if the job requires so. One good way to write a compelling piece is by looking at the job ad and zero in on the required skills. This way, you can tailor your resume for the job.

There are a few ways you can present all your relevant skills. You may create a table, use bullet points, and use text separators. Whichever you choose, make sure to have the texts written in boldface, so it will be easy for the reader to assess your strong points.

If you’re changing career paths, be sure you have acquired enough transferrable skills and present them through your resume.

Besides skills, this format may also highlight your accomplishments as your key qualifications for the post.


The hybrid format mixes the first 2 formats mentioned above: chronological and functional. Hence, it stresses both your work experience and skills to prove your mastery and knowledge of the job.

The combined resume format reflects the modern way of resume writing. Your skills come first at the top portion right after your profile summary. A detailed work history makes up this section, with each job duties grouped under a specific skill set.

With a hybrid resume, you can show your key achievements, too. This comprises the next section, where you can list your career highlights under each job post you’ve held.

So, which job seeker this resume format is ideal to? It works well with almost all hopefuls, except those who have yet to acquire job exposure and relevant qualifications. Also, it defeats your purpose if you wish to highlight your educational background.


It’s the least known and often-ignored format. Yet, it’s the surest way of making a striking piece! Why? This means having a resume customized in detail to the target post. Yes, it mirrors (almost) anything what the job requires.

With a targeted format, you allot a Professional Experience section only for the related jobs. Depending on the other jobs’ relevance or complete lack thereof, place them under a new section, “Other Experience” or “Additional Experience.”

While the use of this format will surely bring you closer to the job, take note that you need to be accurate with the details to include. They must all describe you as a person and professional—and not just present yourself in the best light to satisfy the job ad and be the fittest candidate.

Resume Format and the ATS

Not all job seekers are aware of the essence of having the right resume format, especially when talking about its relevance to the applicant tracking system (ATS). Are they related to one another?

Well, resume formats don’t only affect the way hirers view your application. To set the record straight, they also shape how robots screen your profile. Frankly, resume formats determine how well your application tool is parsed within an ATS, thus telling how noticeable your resume is.

Pieces of Advice

Hide nothing.

When using the functional format, you don’t hide anything to conceal your lapses and imperfect records. Don’t lie either. You can still be truthful without giving away too much information that could ruin your hiring chances.

Be creative.

Instead of hiding a key detail, try to be creative with words and the way you present data. For example, for inclusive years, write 2018–2019 instead of Sep 2018–Mar 2019. If you served a sentence, ditch New Jersey State Prison. Replace it with State of New Jersey.

Inject keywords.

Write for both humans and robots. And the best way to do it is by putting keywords across your copy. You can always use the job announcement as guide when writing your resume.

Tailor your piece.

Whatever format you use, be sure to craft your piece targeted to your desired job. Match your resume with the given job description. A general resume doesn’t suffice and copying resume templates may cause harm to your job search.

Prepare a cover letter.

Each resume comes with a cover letter. Through it, you can tell a “story” that your resume didn’t include. Make it compelling, too, so hirers will consider you for a job interview invite.

Commit no error.

Everyone gets amazed with a perfectly written resume. Indeed, a single typo or grammar error can end your job hunt as it quickly dismays a hiring manager. Proofread your work or have someone do it to ensure accuracy.

A Type Of A Resume Format


Hiring a Resume Writing Service

Can’t create your resume yourself? Can’t figure out which resume format suits you? Don’t fret; you’re not alone. Good thing, you can entrust the task to an expert resume writer.

Browse through our resume writing service page and see how we can help advance your job search. Our expert writers specialize in various fields, serving as your edge against other hopefuls.

Sources: Jobscan | America’s Job Exchange

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