What is the BEST Resume Format?
There are generally three basic formats in resume writing. Chronological, Functional and Combination. The BEST resume format? There is NONE. Yes, you read right. There is NO single format in resume writing which is the ONE or the BEST.
You choose the most suitable one which meets your needs. If that is the case, then which one should you use?
Type 1: Chronological
In a Chronological resume, your work experience is stated according to dates, starting with your most current job to your earlier positions.
This type of resume is the most commonly used, perhaps because of its simplicity as well as the recruiters’ ease in seeing your career track clearly. You may also like to use this format if your work history is consistent and strong, with no gaps in between.
Type 2: Functional
In a Functional resume, your work experience takes priority over dates. Related experiences, skills, and knowledge are stated.
This type of resume is typically used when you are changing careers, or when there are gaps in your work history. (for example, a duration where no work activities take place like time off, personal matters etc.)
Type 3: Combination
In a Combination resume, your relevant work experiences and achievements are stated according to dates. As the name suggests, it is a Combination of Chronological and Functional resumes.
This type of resume is very useful in providing relevant work experiences, and with dates to guide the recruiter through your work history.
Personally, I use the Combination format, simply because it is more targeted. This format allows for greater customization in matching my work experiences to the position. And I used this even when I was making a career change.
Since I have gone through a few positions by now, I have accumulated enough work experiences to sift and pick out the ones which matter.
The dates make it easier for the recruiter to know when I had gone through any particular experience. So to me, doing it in such a way increases my chances of getting it picked up by the recruiter. And it did!
On the Usefulness of the Resume
The usefulness of the Resume is clear. It creates the opportunity for you to meet up with the recruiter, and eventually, convince him that you are the right one for the job.
As a trainer, interaction with my learners during our CV and resume writing sessions provided me with more insights.
We have found good resume writing to be especially useful in these situations:
- Little Education
You have little education. However, you have a wealth of work and life experiences.
- Poor Grades
You have a good education, but your results or grades are average or poor.
- Problems With Law
You have had brushes with the law or had been convicted before.
- Application Form
You applied for a job and only an application form is provided. It does not allow you to ‘sell’ yourself to the recruiter, especially if you had been in any of the three situations above.
For situation 4, I strongly recommend that you attach a copy of your resume with the completed form. This allows you to elaborate on your achievements way beyond the few or tiny fields provided on that form. And therefore, increase your chances of getting that interview!
I believe resume writing is a skill anyone can pick up and improve on.