Regardless of why you’re looking for a job, there are different types of resumes and formats that could work best for you. We’ll break down some of the pros and cons of each option so that you can move forward in your job search with confidence! Here’s what you need to know about the three types of resume formats.
Types of Resumes: Pros and Cons
Before you choose among the resumes for your preferred format, know that there are pros and cons to consider. We’ll cover the specifics of each resume, but here are some of the general pros and cons to consider for all the types of resumes.
Applicant Tracking Systems
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are machines that scan resumes looking for, well, whatever they are told to. Often, it’s specific keywords. While you should use keywords on your resume, depending on the type of resume you use, keywords may not be enough to get past an ATS.
Some resume formats are less compatible with an ATS so take that into account when selecting your preferred resume type.
The Human Element
In most cases, there’s no way to know if an ATS or a human will review your resume. However, even when you know a human will review your resume and not a machine, humans have preferences and biases.
Because humans tend to scan a resume the first time they look at it (spending, on average, seven seconds reviewing), some resume formats may be harder to scan that short period of time. Thus, it’s advised that job seekers keep it simple and don’t and follow common formats.
The Three Types of Resumes
In the end, there are really only three types of resumes you need to consider.
Chronological Resume Format
The chronological resume is probably the one you’re most familiar with. The top usually has a skills or qualifications section that highlights the essential skills you want the hiring manager to know about.
Below that is your job history in reverse chronological order. Starting with your present or most recent job, you list where you work, your job title, the dates of your employment, then your duties, experiences, and accomplishments for that role. Then you move on to the next most recent role and repeat until you reach the beginning of your work history (or whenever you want to end).
Chronological resumes are easily the most popular of the types of resumes job seekers use. Chronological resumes also have the advantage of being well-liked by human recruiters because their format makes them easy to scan. And, ATSs also prefer them because, you guessed it, they are easy to scan.
In general, chronological resumes are the best choice for nearly every job seeker, thanks to their familiarity and how easy they are to create and update. But if you choose this format and have an employment gap, said gap is more likely to jump out at a reader. And, this format may not be the best for career changers, since it may be hard for a hiring manager to see how your skills in one field connect to your dream job in another field.
Chronological Resume Example
Functional Resume Format
A functional resume focuses on your skills rather than your work history. Instead of starting with your work history, you start with your “skills groups,” drawing attention to what you’re good at, as opposed to where you did it and for how long.
For example, your first “skill group” might be “Computer Skills.” Under that header, you’d list out all of your computer skills. It could be the software or operating systems you’re familiar with, or it could include the programming languages you are familiar with.
Your next skill group might be “Writing and Editing Skills.” This is where you’d list all of your related skills, like “Familiar with AP and Chicago Style,” or “technical writing.”
At the bottom of the resume, you’d list out your work history in reverse chronological order. However, instead of including your duties and experiences, you simply list the name of the company, your title, and the dates you worked there.
Functional resumes are ideal for career changers and people with employment gaps. However, this is exactly the reason why recruiters don’t like functional resumes. The concern is that job seekers may be trying to hide something.
ATSs also don’t like functional resumes. The format “confuses” the machines because there’s no way to tie the skill to a specific job, something an ATS likes.
Functional Resume Example
Hybrid Resume Format
A hybrid resume is a cross between a chronological resume and a functional resume. It’s a good compromise if you don’t want the chronological resume, but aren’t sure that the functional resume format works for you.
The top third or so of your resume is all about your skills. While you don’t have to group them by type, you can if you want. The important thing here is that you include the skills you really want an employer to know about in this top section. You’re drawing attention to them because they matter.
Below that section is your work history, and it’s formatted in reverse chronological order. However, instead of simply listing your title and dates of employment, you include a little more information. You write a brief summary of the role then list off a few key accomplishments or duties.
Hybrid resumes are great for career changers and people with employment gaps because these are more like chronological resumes but with some of the functions of functional resumes. This gives you the advantage of using a “preferred” format, but without the biases attached to a less-preferred format—but that’s no guarantee.
Hybrid resumes are also perfect for people with less traditional career paths or for people who have already had a few career changes in their work history.
Hybrid Resume Example
The “Fourth” Type of Resume
Some advice says that there are four types of resumes and that the fourth type is “targeted.” This means creating a resume that’s targeted to a specific job description.
At FlexJobs, we always advise job seekers to customize their resume and cover letter every time you apply. And, since you can customize every type of resume, it’s hard to say that a “targeted resume” is one of the types of resumes.
The Right Resume for You
In the end, there’s no one “right” type of resume. The trick is that no matter which of the types of resumes you go with, you should always customize it to match the job you’re applying for.
Looking for more resume advice? Schedule a personalized resume review with one of our career coaches. Learn more today!
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