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When you want your resume to show potential employers that you are their top candidate, it’s important to know which resume format to use for your career search campaign. After all, you only have six to eight seconds to grab the attention of a hiring manager or recruiter. So what is the best resume format? Does format really matter? Can you get it wrong?

Today, let’s take a look at the three most common resume formats to assist you in identifying the layout that’s best for your work history, career goals, and skills.

1.    The Reverse Chronological Resume Format

The reverse chronological resume format is the most common resume format and simply highlights your work history with your most recent position listed first and the remainder descending in order of time. When using this resume format, you will list your job titles, names of your employers, and dates you worked as headings, and underneath you will list your responsibilities and achievements. This type of resume works well for those who:

  • Desire to stay in the same job industry
  • Have no gaps in work history
  • Can demonstrate career progression, indicating that you’re ready for the next level
  • Desire to list their current career first

2.    The Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format is for job seekers who want to showcase their skills and achievements, but not necessarily in reverse chronological order.  Your headings will consist of your primary skill achievements (IT Leadership, Financial Management, Strategic Marketing, Project Management, Training & Development, etc.) rather than a job title. Then, usually at the end of your resume, you will list your career chronology including employers, job titles, and dates. Functional resumes translate best for applicants who have specific skills. This type of resume may also work well for those who:

  • Have gaps in employment, such as time spent as a student, stay-at-home mother, or unemployment
  • Are re-entering the job market after a considerable amount of time
  • Are making a drastic career change, such as a financial analyst who wants to become a pharmaceutical sales representative
  • Want to maximize job experience gained many years ago
  • Have had numerous jobs in the past

3.    The Combination Resume Format (Hybrid)

The combination resume format simply combines both the reverse chronological and functional resume to highlight your best skills and work history. You simply list your past jobs in reverse chronological order, but use subheadings or keywords to highlight your achievements. This type of resume format works best for those who:

  • Want to use skills learned in unpaid jobs that are relevant to the position they are seeking
  • Desire to focus on transferable skills acquired when making a career change
  • Desire to hone in on job responsibilities when job titles do not adequately describe duties
  • Want to advance to the next level in the same industry you’re in now

Do Employers Prefer One Over Another?

Most employers, recruiters, and hiring managers prefer the reverse chronological format, with the combination format as a second choice. Though a functional resume has its benefits, some employers may think that a potential candidate is trying to hide something with this type of resume format.

When you’re ready to complete your resume, one of the resume formats above (or a variation) should assist you in getting interviews and, hopefully, your targeted career choice. If you’re in need of professional resume writing services, and you’re ready to go to the next level in your career, please contact Elite Resume Writing Services today to speak to one of our certified resume specialists about crafting an interview-winning resume.

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