/ Resume Writing

Resume Format: 2018 Guide with Examples

So maybe your resignation was not along the lines of how you had been fantasising for months, maybe you didn't get a chance to hop on your manager's table and do unspeakable & unhygienic things. But the bottom-line is, you did manage to conclude months of anxiety and self-doubt before finally submitting your papers.

You believe enough is enough dammit! You deserve a job you love and now's the time to make it happen!

Now the only thing left is to create a stellar resume and start applying for the role of your dreams.

You open your laptop and start writing your resume.

But wait! If you're like most people, you have no clue about the resume structure or where and how to begin.

What are the resume types you can use? Which resume style will look better for your profile? Should you use a simple resume format or the latest resume format?

Well, you don't need to worry anymore. This comprehensive guide on different Resume Formats will answer all your questions on what format for resume you should choose.

Choosing a resume format before you begin will ensure that you follow resume writing conventions that are well accepted by all recruiters and companies.

In case you have additional queries on resume formatting, feel free to ask us in comments. Our experts will be more than happy to help you.

If you're somebody who likes to delve directly into the action, you can directly choose a resume format on our online resume builder. We have ensured that all standard norms are fulfilled in our resume templates. Just start filling in your details to create a brand new resume in no time!

This resume format 2018 guide will cover the following topics in detail:

  • Why do you need a resume format?

  • What are the different types of resume formats?

  • Which is the best resume format for you?

  • Resume Formatting: How to format a resume?

  • Bonus: PDF Resume vs. Word Resume.

You can also view our resume format 2017 examples along with our popular resume template 2017 catalogue.


Why do you need a resume format?

A proper resume format serves as a blueprint for creating a highly targeted resume based on the kind and the years of work experience that you have (of course you'll need a job description).

Moreover, over the years the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and simpler resume parsers used by recruiters and companies have evolved to recognize and read resumes only if they follow certain guidelines.

Picture this:

You have a stellar career profile and you write your resume in a format that is not suitable for your profile. Trust us on this that in spite of putting in the hard work, you might not get shortlisted by the ATS being used by the recruiter. You need to have a proper resume format to pass the ATS test!

Even if you're sending your resume through a human recruiter, you should choose an effective resume format which is well known in the industry. Recruiters look at resumes for a mere 6 seconds and you do not want to end up in the reject pile simply because you did not use an effective resume format.

Having said that, you should also take into account the latest resume format trends and choose a current resume format (popular with both ATS and recruiters) so that your resume does not seem dated.

Thus, using a combination of established resume standards along with the latest trends (by choosing a recognized and current resume format), you greatly increase your chances of getting shortlisted by companies.


What are the types of resume formats?

Broadly speaking, there are three different types of resumes that are well accepted in the industry. The resume categories are:

1. Reverse Chronological Resume Format (Standard resume format)

Imagine a timeline starting from now and dating back to the beginning of your education with all your major achievements and information listed along with important dates. Essentially, that is what a reverse chronological resume format is.

To make it more clear, let's look at a sample reverse chronological resume format from Hiration's Resume Builder:

reverse_chronological_resume_format-1

Take a look at our resume format 2017 examples along with our popular resume template 2017 catalogue.

Sections on the Reverse Chronological Resume:

  1. Personal & Contact Details
  2. Professional Summary
  3. Key Skills
  4. Professional Experience
  5. Internships
  6. Education
  7. Additional Sections

As you can see in the resume image, all the dated sections have been arranged in a reverse chronological order starting from the most recent experience to the education of the candidate.

PROS

  • ATS Friendly
    The Reverse Chronological resume format is the industry standard when it comes to resumes and is extremely ATS friendly. This means that by using this format you're kind of guaranteeing that all the information on your resume will be correctly parsed by almost any Applicant Tracking System

  • Recruiter Friendly
    Being the most widely used resume format in the industry, you can be sure that every recruiter will recognize the reverse chronological resume format.

  • Coherent and easy to create
    When it comes to making your resume in this format, the process is pretty simple. You simply have to create a time line of major events in your career and expand upon them in your resume.

  • Additional Weight to your most recent work experience
    The emphasis in a reverse chronological resume is laid upon your most recent experience, followed by the experience before it, and so on. This gives you an opportunity to highlight your achievements at the peak of your career (which is now!). This enables you to prove your current worth to your potential employer.

CONS

  • Doesn't cover gaps in career
    If you have large gaps in your professional career, the reverse chronological format will expose them to the recruiter. Because of the emphasis laid on dates, the ATS may also deem you unfit for the position (if you lack relevant work experience).

  • Looks bad for frequent job switchers
    If you've switched a lot of jobs in a relatively short period of time, a lot of companies will be listed on your reverse chronological resume. This signals to the employers that you might not stick with their company as well.

2. Combination Resume Format (also called Hybrid Resume Format)

As the name suggests, the Combination or hybrid resume format is a combination of the reverse chronological resume format and the functional resume format (described in the section below).

The combination resume format allows a candidate to present their skills with actual evidence from their professional experience and achievements. So essentially, points on the resume are grouped based on the skills that they highlight.

This adds a lot of value to the resume since now the recruiter not only has a snapshot of the skills the person possesses, but they can actually see how the person employed those skills to create value for the organization.

Tip: While grouping or bucketing points under headers/skills, remember to quantify your achievements as much as possible. This will help the recruiter differentiate you from a candidate who has not represented how much value they contributed

Example:
✖ Executed the brand promotions & publicity for numerous brands
✓ Executed the brand promotions & publicity for national & international markets leading to vol. improvement of 15% in 2 years

Here at Hiration, we employ two types of combination formats for our clients based on the number of years of experience that they possess and their industry.

Combination Resume Format-1 (Grouping inside Professional Experience)

This format is exactly similar to the reverse chronological resume format apart from the fact that in the Professional Experience section, the points are grouped by the sills that they represent.

Here is an example of this type of combination resume format:

combination-resume-format-1

You can clearly see in the image how resume points have been grouped in the professional experience section under relevant skills. This allows the recruiter to quickly find relevant skills (required for the job) and scan the relevant points only.

If you are smart enough to tailor your resume to the job description, you can easily direct the attention of the recruiter to where you want. This is the biggest advantage of using this resume format.

Combination Resume Format-2 (Grouping in Summary of Skills section)

This format extracts all your achievements and high points in your career to create an entirely separate section called "Summary of Skills" or "Summary Skills". These points are then grouped or bucketed under key skills that they exhibit.

This resume format replaces the traditionally used summary to create a more powerful snapshot of your career which is again highly targeted for the job you are applying to.

Here's an example:

combination-resume-format-2

PROS

  • ATS friendly, Recruiter friendly
    Both the combination resume formats have all the advantages there are to the reverse chronological format since they employ the same dated sections. So basically, they are ATS friendly, recruiter friendly and are well recognized by recruiters and organizations.

  • Hides Gaps in Employment
    Additionally, the combination format can be wisely used to draw the recruiters attention to skill based achievements that you've gathered over the years to mellow down the effect of gaps in your employment history.

  • Tackles the problem of frequent job switches
    Even if you are a frequent job switcher, you can aggregate resume points across jobs and group them under skills to exhibit your expertise (in combination format-2).

CONS

  • More Time Consuming
    Well, since the pay off is high, the time taken to develop a combination resume increases since you have to do the additional work of grouping points under common skills.

Tip: Reduce your effort and use pre-filled templates on our resume builder to create your resume in combination resume format.
You can also take inspiration from our resume format 2017 examples and our popular resume template 2017 catalogue.

  • Not suitable for early stage professionals
    In case of early stage professionals, they might not have enough points to group under relevant skills. In such as case, the grouping does not make sense and it is better to go with the reverse chronological resume format.

3. Functional Resume Format (Skill based resume)

The functional resume format is on the other extreme of the reverse chronological format. Only the professional experience headers are listed in this resume format without any details of the actual work done.

Instead, a separate section is created in which points are grouped under relevant skills. While this is recommended by some resume experts for people who have gaps in their employment history or for people who have changed their jobs a lot, we at Hiration do not recommend using this format.

Recruiters find the most value if they can see your career progress and how you have evolved as a professional. The functional resume format does not display your skills and points under the relevant work experience and hence, is not usually accepted by both ATS as well as recruiters. You can read more about it in the Pros and Cons section.

Meanwhile here is an example of the functional resume format:

functional_resume_format

PROS

  • Hides employment gaps
    The functional resume is a skill based resume format can be used by candidates to focus on skills and totally avoid the work history.

  • Tackles the problem of frequent job switches
    Since the complete focus is on points grouped by skills, it helps to mask the job hopping trait of the candidate.

CONS

  • Not parsed by Applicant Tracking Systems
    The functional resume format is not parsed by most ATS. Since an ATS looks for points under the relevant work experience, it is unable to correctly read the points in this format.

  • Seems fishy to recruiters and employers
    The functional format raises suspicions in the minds of the recruiters that the candidate is trying to hide something. It is not a well accepted resume format.

So these were the 3 different types of resumes. Which one are you going to use?
Read on to discover your ideal resume format.

You can also move on directly to our resume templates on our resume builder.


Which is the best resume format for you?

Finally this is the part which you've been waiting for. So, which is the best resume format for you?

View our Resume Templates 2017 Catalogue to look at all our resume templates.

Well, luckily, there's a pretty straight forward way to determine which resume format would work the best for you. Just look at the section below to see under which category you fall and choose the format for resume accordingly:

  • Students Resume Format
    Well if you're a student, you don't have a lot of professional experience. You're probably thinking what can you write on your resume? Which format should you choose?

    The ideal resume format for you is the reverse chronological resume format. You'd always have your extra-curricular and co-curricular achievements that you can showcase on your resume.

    Moreover, if you've done any kind of voluntary work or internships, they can take the spot of your professional experience. Just ensure that you display your work experience by tailoring it to the job you're looking for. Focus on the skills the recruiter is looking for.

  • Experienced Resume Format

    • Entry Level Professionals
      If you're making an entry level resume, again, the reverse chronological resume format should be your choice. Since you would not have a lot of professional experience, it would be difficult to group your resume points into skills. So, creating a combination resume would be difficult for you.

    • Mid Level Professionals
      Choosing a resume for a mid level professional is tricky. It really depends on the work you have done and the kind of skills you have accumulated over your career.
      Lets say you have learned a lot of skills and you have the resume content to show for it. In this case, you should go ahead with a combination resume format.
      In case you've specialized and focused on a specific area, you should go for the reverse chronological resume. That way, you can really show potential employers how you're progressed over the years.

    • Senior Professionals
      At Hiration, we almost always suggest our senior clients to go with the combination resume format.
      You need to showcase your skills and validate with them the work that you have done. You need to modify each resume that you send out based on the job description. Highlight the skills that are most relevant to the job that you're applying to.

A note on Functional Resume Format
While some people suggest that functional resume format is good for certain professionals, we strongly recommend that you do not use it. A functional resume format does more harm than good for your job application.

The table below compares the three resume formats with each other. Take a look to determine which format you should use.

Comparison of Reverse Chronological, Combination and Functional resume formats

Chronological vs Functional vs Combination Resume

 

Reverse Chronological

Combination

Functional

ATS Compatibility

ATS Friendly

ATS Friendly

ATS Incompatible

Focuses On

Work Experience

Work Experience & Skills

Only Skills [Not good]

Resume Layout

Professional & Well Accepted

Highly Effective & Targeted

Clumsy & Not Effective

Major Pros

ATS readable & clean format

ATS readable & highly effective

Hides gaps in employment

Major Cons

Skills are not validated

Only for people with experience

No emphasis on work-ex

Ideal for

Everyone

Experienced Professionals

No one