Professionals often rework their resumes in an attempt to stand out. At times, this means shifting away from a reverse-chronological resume design and trying a non-traditional format. While this can certainly make your resume unique, that doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. Not all resume styles are created equal, and some may significantly hinder your job search.
If you want to know which resume styles are right and wrong in various scenarios, here’s a look at the most widely used formats and when they are or aren’t appropriate.
When a person pictures a resume format, the reverse-chronological style is typically what comes to mind. It’s the most widely used and puts a spotlight on your most recent experience.
Using this format is a fairly easy process. You start with your contact information and then intrigue the hiring manager with an attention-grabbing professional summary. Next, you list your relevant work history, starting with your most recent position, highlighting accomplishments that showcase your capabilities.
Then, you cover other points, like your education or awards. You may also include a separate skills section, though that may not be necessary.
By and large, if your career was linear, this is the resume format for you. It’s familiar so that hiring managers can follow it. Plus, it’s likely that any applicant tracking system (ATS) you encounter can scan the content and make sense of it, something that also increases your odds of not ending up in the discard pile.
Instead of focusing on your work history, a functional resume is skills-based. After your contact information and professional summary, you’ll create sections that highlight various skills or areas of expertise, usually grouping achievements together in related subcategories.
After that, you tap on your work history. You list the role, company, dates, and location, but that’s about it. You’ll also include an education segment as well as skills, awards, or similar sections if those are necessary.
At times, a functional resume can work for people who don’t have much recent experience or are pivoting into a new field. However, most candidates shouldn’t use it. In many cases, hiring managers are suspicious of functional resumes, as it may appear that you’re trying to hide something. Additionally, an ATS might not be able to scan it properly so that you may get screened out due to a technical error.
With a combination resume, you try to take the best parts of the reverse-chronological and functional formats and put them together. After your contact information and professional summary, you include a skills section that briefly highlights what you bring to the table. Usually, you put your skills in lists, and you don’t align them with achievements.
Your work history is the next section. Here, you use the same approach as a reverse-chronological resume, providing details about relevant accomplishments. Follow that up with an education section as well as any additional headings that may be important.
This resume approach can be appropriate for many professionals, particularly those who may have a somewhat non-traditional career path or want to make sure that it’s clear that they have the relevant skills. It’s less sketchy than a purely functional resume, as you still review your work history using the conventional method. Additionally, an ATS can usually scan it properly, so you should have any tech issues that end up holding you back.
Ultimately, specific resume styles are best in particular scenarios. If you’d like to learn more about how to choose the best option for you, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us today and see how our resume-writing knowledge can benefit you.