When To Use A Reverse Chronological Resume Format:
If youâve spent years climbing through the employment ranks and are seeking a new job that continues that vertical advancement in your career, then the reverse chronological format is almost certainly your best option. This format can emphasize your employment consistency, and demonstrate your competence in the field.
It is important to recognize, though, that this is not the best format to use when youâre looking to switch careers to an entirely new industry. It is also an inferior choice for anyone who tends to hop from job to job, or who has noticeable employment gaps.
How To Choose A Good Resume Layout For Your Professional Needs
Now that you know how to format your resume layout properly, lets have a closer look at how to make the most of your document.
There are three common resume layouts: chronological resume, functional resume, and combination resume. Each of them has certain strengths and weaknesses, and you should be aware of them before you start making your resume.
The Best Resume Format For Recent Grads 2022
Recent graduates are facing a tough moment to enter the job market as companies shrink the number of entry-level hires and interns they are willing to take on. However, its not all bad news. Although many companies have a temporary hiring freeze, they are expecting to reach pre-pandemic hiring levels by summer 2022, according to Forbes.
When it comes to the best resume format for recent grads in 2022, flexibility and skills are everything. That doesnt mean you should jump straight to a functional resume format however. Hiring managers are wary of grads who try to cover a lack of work experience by focusing only on skills. If you have some previous internship experience, it can be enough to create a chronological resume format or a combined one if thats a better choice for your industry.
Great news for recent grads its becoming easier to find a job with less experience. According to Forbes, more than 70 percent of roles today have less requirements than one year ago.
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Different Types Of Resume Formats
Before we get into the resume formats that will be best for your specific case, lets have a look at the most popular professional resume formats being used today.
Essentially, we have three standard formats to look at chronological, functional, and combination.
However, there are a few others that are used occasionally. These are usually used as a supplement to one of the three standard formats in a job search.
Best Resume Format For Career Change
A combination resume format is undoubtedly the favorite for a career change scenario.
It allows you to highlight the transferable skills that you have gained from your job experiences.
You will also be able to prove those skills by showing the achievements of your previous jobs without actually putting them as job experiences.
So, this is the best way to make the most out of your previous experiences in case of a career change.
Moreover, you can still add a short experience section listing only the most relevant positions.
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The Creative Angle: An Infographic Resume Or Resume Website
This resume type is characterized by how its formatted visually. You may choose a reverse chronological order or skills-based style to organize your information, but also use graphics, colors, unique fonts, and even multimedia elements to help that information pop. Keep in mind that any creative resume is still likely subject to an ATSand certain elements may be unreadable by a robot. So consider going this route only if you know a human will be reading your resume .
Who its good for: People applying to creative roles , startups, or fun companies, or to jobs where a creative resume is encouraged, if not required.
Not a designer but want your resume to look just as pretty as this example? Check out these articles:
Your resume is a living, breathing document. So while you wont go through this whole process every time you apply for a job, you should be thinking about all these things as you go to update your resume for your next career step. You might decide later on to switch up the order, or remove or add things, or even get creative and try out a whole new format. If youre not getting the calls back you expect, you may decide to scrap it and start overand thats totally OK.
Best Format For Freshers
If you have recently graduated or you are due to graduate soon, you may be wondering about the best resume format for freshers. You may not have a lot of experience, so you will want to focus on your education and what you have learned through your studies.
With your qualifications, you should go into some detail about what you did and what modules you covered. This will give the hiring manager a better overall feel for who you are and what you know. The most valuable aspects of your coursework should be highlighted and pay attention to how these are transferable to the role. Keep your resume format for freshers clear and concise, there is no need for the resume to be any more than two pages in length.
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Work History With Dates
On a combination resume, the work history section lists current and previous jobs in chronological order. It differs from the functional resume because it includes dates of employment.It should also include the name and location of the employer, in addition to a job title that can be understood by anyone.
The combination resume works well for anyone, and employers like this format because it focuses on skills and experience but doesnât hide employment history.
A chronological resume:
- Includes job titles, dates of employment, and a description of the job in terms of accomplishments and measurable tasks
- Is most often done in reverse order, with your most recent job listed first
- Works best for job seekers who have a steady employment history or previous employment that is related to the position being sought
A functional resume:
- Groups applicable skills into functional skill categories
- Highlights applicable skills and experience without revealing a lapse in employment
- Works best for job seekers who have gaps in their employment history, little previous work experience, or recently changed careers
- Is disliked by many hiring managers
A combination resume:
- Highlights functional skills and experience without hiding employment dates
- Works best for job seekers who have required skills from a variety of jobs, are trying to change careers, or have had a steady work history
- Is a favorite among hiring managers and recruiters
The Unorthodox Route: A Functional Or Skills
Rather than listing out your experience in reverse chronological order, a functional or skills-based resume has bullet points that reflect how each of your skills is demonstrated by the work youve done over the course of your career. At the bottom, youll include everything else, such as your education, job history, professional achievements, community involvement, and other technical skills. This is a good option if you have a somewhat all-over-the-place work history and want to tie everything together neatly.
Who its good for: Career changers whose work experiences may not appear to be relevant and people with an abundance of temporary jobs or gaps in their work histories.
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What Is A Resume Format
The phrase resume format is often a confusing one, since different sources use this term to refer to different/multiple things. In the most basic sense, a resume format is the type of structure your resume has depending on the order in which resume sections are presented, how the employment history section is written and which sections are given the most emphasis. For example, in one type of resume format, the skills section may be overly emphasized, while in another, your work history will take center stage.
Proofread Your Resume And Finish Strong
Once youve written your resume and cover letter, youre in pretty good shape to send out that first application. However, youre not quite done yet.
The most important step before sending out any resume is to read it over and make sure that there are no issues that could get your application discarded.
To help make that process easier, heres a checklist you can go through to make sure your resume is looking spotless:
The Resume Genius Resume Checklist
Is your contact information accurate?
Does your resume NOT include details like headshots or sensitive personal information?
Does your resume fit on one page ?
Is your information easy to read ?
Is the design of your resume appropriate for the position youre applying for?
Did you include all relevant sections on your resume?
Did you include quantified achievements in your work experience section?
Does your resume address the requirements stated in the job ad?
Is your resume free of typos and grammatical errors?
Is all of your information clearly formatted and professional?
Feel free to use our on-page checklist, or and begin reviewing your resume.
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Formatting Your Resume To Pass The Ats
Did you know that two-thirds of the resumes submitted for a single position never make it to the hiring managers desk? Thats because a human HR rep is no longer the first gatekeeper when it comes to making new hires. A large percentage of todays workplaces are employing ATS Applicant Tracking Systems to help filter out candidates, saving the hiring manager a lot of time and energy.
The ATS algorithms scan resumes for keywords and rank them against the other applicants. Only a top selection moves on to be read by a human hiring manager. You may have all the right experience and skills but if you dont format them correctly, theres a big chance youll miss out on the opportunity for an interview.
When it comes to formatting your resume to pass the ATS, heres what we recommend:
How Long Should A Resume Be
No matter which of the three formats you decide to go with, it should fit neatly onto one single sided page without crowding.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and in some cases , a slightly longer resume is acceptable.
Anything longer than that and youve moved out of the world of resumes and into the world of CVs which are acceptable, but ONLY in VERY SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES.
Keep in mind this isnt your autobiography!
This is meant to give a hiring manager just enough information about you that they feel compelled to call you in and meet you face to face!
To put it bluntly, the average hiring manager spends initially between 10-20 seconds on each resume which means you have 10-20 seconds to catch their eye. The last thing you want to do is give them something thats messy, confusing, or unorganized.
Rather than spend an additional 10 seconds trying to figure out your resume, most hiring manager will just throw it awayand we dont want that!
Ok, so what about fonts, margins, paper, etc?
Lets start with fonts.
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Resume Formats With Headlines And Profiles
Studies have shown that recruiters spend only seconds reviewing a resume before sorting it to the yes or no pile and moving on. For this reason, many candidates choose to add a section highlighting their most relevant skills at the top of their resume. There are several ways to do this:
Employers want to hire candidates who are interested in their specific job opening, not just any job. Customizing your resume every time will make sure that your resume is tailored appropriately.
Choosing The Best Resume Format
Here are our top 5 tips for choosing a resume format and finishing it inside a resume builder:
Check out this video for more tips on deciding which format is right for you.
If you spent at least some portion of your career believing that there was only one correct way to format a resume, wed understand. Most people are familiar with the reverse chronological resume format which dictates that you begin your resume with your most recent position and work backwards from there. Although chronological may still be the most common format, that doesnt mean its right for everyone. Many candidates find that selecting a different resume format better allows them to highlight their diverse experiences and unique skills.
In the chapters below, well cover everything you need to know about selecting the perfect resume formats including:
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Start With A Contact Information Section
Depending on the template you have chosen for your chronological resume, there is a possibility that your name will be directly followed by your professional title right at the top.
How do you fill up your professional title in chronological resume format? Easy. If youre not looking to change career paths your professional title should be your current title.However, if youre changing career paths, then choosing the combination resume mentioned above might be a better option for you.
Regarding the rest of the contact information section on your chronological resume, it should be current and lacking any typos. The mandatory elements of the information section include:
- First and last name
Write An Education Section That Stands Out
Your education section comes last on a combination resume, but luckily, its fairly straightforward.
The section is pretty much a requirement for any resume.
Heres what you include in your education section:
- Type of degree – e.g. MSc in Economics and Business Administration
- Educational institution name – The University of Chicago
- Years attended – 09/2017 – 06/2019
- Program location – Chicago, Illinois
- GPA – 3.87
- Relevant courses – Project Management Principles and Practices
- Exchange program – Exchange program in Washington, D.C.
Heres what the full listing might look like for a combination resume:
Now, what if your degree isnt relevant to the job youre applying for, as it might be if youre switching careers?
Do you still list it?
As long as you have an actual degree, it still says a lot about your passion and commitment to education.
In some cases, you can even show off some transferable skills with your degree.
Lets take a look at another example and say youre applying for a graphic design job, with a B.A. in Communication:
Combination Resume Education Section Done Right:
B.A. in Communications
- Excelled in visual communication and digital media classes.
- Designed posters for university events and social media content.
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Include Any Of These Optional Sections
Last but not least, come these optional sections.
Having them in your resume can earn you extra points and even separate you from the competitors, but only if they dont make your resume longer than it should be and if they are relevant to the job position.
Some of those sections include :
- Languages: If you speak two or more languages, dont fail to put that in your resume. To list them, simply categorize your proficiency level into native, fluent, proficient, intermediate, or basic.
- Hobbies & Interests: They can help humanize you and show a part of your personality that work and education cant. If
- Volunteering Experience: Studies show that volunteering experience actually raises your chances of getting hired.
- Certification & Awards: If you have awards that make you stand out in your field or certifications from experts that are relevant to the position you are applying for, dont hesitate to show them off!
Not sure how adding volunteering experience works? Check our article on how to list volunteer experience on your resume.
How To Choose The Best Resume Format
Now that weve covered all 3 of the common resume formats, youre probably wondering which ones the right for you.
Heres what we recommend:
In 99% of the cases, wed recommend going with a reverse-chronological resume format.
In 2021, its the most common and useful format:
- Applicant tracking systems can read it without any problems.
- All recruiters and hiring managers are familiar with this format.
- Whether youre a recent graduate or a senior professional, its the easiest format to work with.
The only case wed recommend going with a functional or combination resume is if youre a career changer, and even then, its still quite risky.
True, a combination or hybrid resume will help you emphasize your skills over work experience. However, both of these resume formats are not really that popular in 2021.
Theres a good chance that the applicant tracking system wont be able to read your resume and automatically discard it – after all the time you put into creating the resume!
At the same time, recruiters might just not be familiar with these resume formats, or think that youre just trying to hide the fact that youre not experienced, and disqualify you based on that.
So, rule of thumb – when in doubt, go for the reverse-chronological resume.
Looking for CV writing tips instead? Here’s our full guide on how to write a CV!
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