Your Resume Format Guide


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A winning career starts with a winning resume. It is the jobseeker’s responsibility to grab the employers attention and entice enough interest to earn an interview, and hopefully; land the job. To do this, the applicant must understand just how important it is to create a comprehensive and interesting resume. The first step in building a winning resume is to tailor it according to your target job and type of company. This article is a valuable guide to help you understand the different resume formats and how each is used to highlight your strengths.

Chronological Format

The most conventional and extensively used format is the chronological resume format. This format lists the different educational and work experiences in your lifetime. If you had a stable work history, clear career progression, and little or no employment gaps, this format is ideal. Recruitment staff prefer this kind of resume because it connects job titles with responsibilities and accomplishments. However, a chronological resume format emphasizes the where and when you've worked rather than what you've done. So if you have unexplainable employment gaps, or your past work experiences are not that impressive, then avoid using this kind of format.

Functional Format

In a functional resume, you organize your accomplishments according to broad functions, or areas of competence rather than by chronology. Since functional resumes permit organization of data by interests and skills, they make excellent interview outlines. However, this type of resume format is not as appealing to recruiters because it places less emphasis on direct experience with specific employers. Use a functional resume when you want your experience to support a new job target or career change, a return to a previous career, or a lateral move, as well as when you include unpaid, academic, or volunteer work.

Combination Format

A combination resume contains functional categories of responsibilities within the chronological account of the applicants employment. This is useful when you are describing a position with varied responsibilities, or a progression of authority. If you have held a position for a long period of time or have made lateral career moves, this resume format is suggested.

Targeted Resume Format

When a resume is written for a specific job or type of position, this is called a targeted resume format. The major sections in this format will emphasize your “Qualifications" or “Summary of Skills" in an attempt to highlight your ability to do the job you're seeking, even if you do not have direct experience. Since targeted resumes are so specific, they may not fit for positions other than the one you are applying for. Thus, it may not be ideal when applying to a firm hiring general staff rather than specific positions.

Business (Introduction) Letters

When addressing a company without a specific advertised opening, a cordial way of introducing yourself is to send a business letter, or letter of introduction. This is a one-pager, composed of 3 paragraphs, explaining that you have the skills, experience, and education an employer would desire. Provide specific examples of how you can benefit the employer. You can also use business letters if you are interested in consulting, working on a project, or developing a clientele, or a business. This resume format is particularly useful for mature job seekers, those with sketchy work histories, or those looking for entrepreneurial ventures.


A brochure is an innovative resume format. Your creativity will certainly be highlighted, as well as the usual skills and capabilities that you can offer. Use this kind of resume for non-traditional industries, or in marketing and advertising job applications.

With so many resume format options available choosing the right one for your situation will allow you to promote your skills, knowledge, and experience in the best possible way. Like all good advertising, a well-written resume has the buyers’ interests and needs in mind and focuses on the benefits you will bring if they hire you.

Carl DiNello is an Article Author whose articles are featured on websites covering the Internet's most popular topics. To read more, please visit Resume Writing Tips !

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