Is there a right or wrong resume format? If there is, then what is the correct format of a resume? Does it have to be simple, easy to read, or professional enough to get the attention of the hiring manager?
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, resume expert, agrees that resume writing has changed in the past 10 years. But there is one thing in resume writing that remain unchanged—the 3 resume types by format: Chronological, Functional and Combination Resume.
As you step up to your career ladder, it is necessary for you to know how to layout your qualifications and experience in response to a job post. And resume formatting will help you do that. So, after assessing your level and choosing the appropriate design for your resume, you have to select what format is best for you.
Resume Types by Format
1. Chronological / Reverse Chronological Format
Chronological or Reverse Chronological format is the most traditional and most commonly used resume format in the Philippines. This format gained its name from the word chronological which means “arranged in the order of time”. In this format, professional experience or work history is written in order (i.e. starting from the most recent job to the applicant’s oldest jobs.) Work experience is described in detail by highlighting dates of employment, places of employment, and job titles.
Use this format if:
- You are a candidate with a conservative career: legal, accounting, and banking.
- You are a candidate who wants to highlight progressive growth in a single company.
- You have minimal or you don’t have employment gaps.
- You are applying for a similar or more advanced position in the same field.
- You want to highlight stability, consistency, growth, and development in your career.
- Your most recent position is the one most likely to impress prospective employers.
- You stayed in the same field and plan to remain in the same field.
Who should not use this format:
- People with lots of job gaps
- Folks just entering the work force
- People making a career change
- Enables an employer to determine, at a glance, where and when you’ve worked and what you accomplished at each job.
- Most common and widely accepted format.
- Provides the employer with a clear sense of your career progress.
- Limited work experience and employment gaps are obvious.
- Could reveal a history of changing jobs frequently.
- Could reveal if you were in the same job too long or have held the same type of job too long.
- Does not highlight skills and accomplishments as much as it highlights work history.
- Contact Information
- Qualifications Summary
- Professional Experience
- Awards, Honors and Additional Information (Optional)
2. Functional Format
The functional format is sometimes referred to as “Skills-Based Format”. It is the complete opposite of chronological format because it has a little or no emphasis on employment history, rather it focuses on qualifications, skills and achievements. The functional format allows you to prioritize your experience and accomplishments according to their impact and significance, rather than chronology.
Use this format if:
- You have gained significant experience outside your career path.
- You are a professional with gaps in employment, returning to the workforce or switching careers.
- You have changed jobs frequently in the past few years.
- You have gaps in your employment history.
- You have limited work experience in your job target.
- You are changing careers.
- You are a business owner looking to transition to working full time (e.g. as a construction project manager)
- You have extensive time gaps throughout the resume.
- You have extremely poor employment record.
- Highlights accomplishments, skills, and experience that are most relevant to the position.
- Takes focus off gaps or inconsistencies in your work history.
- Draws from a range of paid and non-paid experiences.
- Experience is not directly tied to specific job titles and dates of employment which can lead employers to suspect you’re trying to hide something.
- Does not emphasize promotions and career growth.
- Makes it difficult for hiring managers to tell exactly what the candidate did in each job.
- Functional resumes can send up a red flag (in a white collar job).
- Qualifications Summary
- Experience or Skills as they relate to the position
- Technical Information
- Awards and Honors
- Additional information related to targeted job
3. Combination Format
Combination format (also known as Chrono-functional or Hybrid format) is the most modern type of resume by format because it combines the nature of chronological and functional format in one resume. What it does is it takes the most effective and beneficial nature of each of the two types and mix it up to make the best resume format possible.
Combination format is becoming the resume of choice of hiring managers because it offers the best of both worlds. The combined format includes the traditional experience section of a chronological resume as well as the skills and accomplishments sections of a functional resume. This format is the most flexible, allowing you to highlight those sections of your resume that are most relevant for the position you are applying.
Use this format if you:
- Are a senior-level professional or executive and have significant accomplishments.
- Want to highlight your relevant abilities during a career transition.
- Are targeting your resume to fit specific job requirements while displaying the continuity of your career history.
- Want to emphasize skills and abilities you have not used in recent jobs.
- Have been freelancing, consulting, or performing temporary work.
- Highlights your primary skills and accomplishments at the top of your resume.
- Format can be arranged to emphasize either skills and abilities or work history, whichever is most appropriate for your career objective.
- Groups qualifications into categories that relate directly to your career objective.
- Resume could become longer than necessary and may lose the employer’s interest.
- Resume may contain redundant information or lack of focus.
Now that you know the three resume types by format, you can format your resume in response to a specific job post. Together with your knowledge on resume design and resume level, you are ready for creating your best resume.