A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The resume format is just as important as the information it contains; in certain cases, it may even be the decisive factor for the success of your application. CV Globe offers many different free resume formats, but it’s up to you to decide which one suits your particular situation and the message you want to send to potential employers.
The chronological resume is the traditional format, and still one of the most common today. It lists your work experience starting with the most recent and going back to your first job. The main advantage of this type of resume is that it’s very easy to update: you can always re-use your old one, and just add the most recent job on top.
This is the format of choice for people with extensive experience and with a clear career path, that started from entry level and progressed steadily, in the same industry or general area of employment. It can also be used to highlight the names of your previous employers, so, if you’ve worked for some of the industry leaders and you want to stress that, this is the right approach.
The chronological resume should never be a mere list of jobs. Make sure you describe each company in a few words – the employer does not have the time and resources to research all of them, and, even if they’re in the same industry, it’s names may not mean anything at the first glance. Present your most relevant achievements for each position, and your contribution to the company’s development. The main problem is that your biggest successes may be pushed down the list, and may even go unnoticed, if they happened a few years back.
The functional resume focuses on your accomplishments, and allows you to start with the most relevant ones, and to describe them in detail. It allows you to showcase your best assets, and to group them as needed, in a logical sequence. It’s the ideal format for people with very little or no work experience, and for those working in areas that do not require a specific career path or a very specific set of skills. The downside is that it’s not immediately obvious exactly what you did for each of your previous employers, and what was your contribution from a certain position. If you’re not very careful in organizing the information, some important aspects may not be clearly visible. There is also a serious risk of losing yourself in very generic statements, so you may need a bit more time, and careful rewording to achieve the ideal result.
It’s also important to mention that certain traditionalist employers may not be satisfied with this type of resume, so make your choices carefully. The reverse situation may also occur, and some employers looking specifically for young and dynamic candidates may place more value on a functional resume than on a traditional one, even if the information is more or less the same.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
As the name implies, the hybrid is a mix of the other two resume formats, the chronological and the functional one. Used wisely, it can bring out the best of both worlds, but it can also get out of control easily, and it may come across as lacking direction and focus. Use a hybrid resume only when you are certain that the employer will take the time to read it carefully – for example, when you have already been recommended for that position, and you know you already have a foot in the door. Otherwise, there is a slight risk that the employer will not see relevant information at the first glance, and will dismiss your application.
Less Common Resume Formats
In addition to the three main types mentioned above, there are also some very specific resume formats, suitable for specific areas of employment.
- Vocational resumes, for example, are best used in response to a job ad that requires a very specific set of skills, following an equally specific training path. In such circumstances, the most important aspect you have to convey is that you have all the required experience and qualifications, and the names of your previous employers are less significant. Vocational resumes tend to focus heavily on practical, on-the-job experience, and are usually accompanied by a full set of references.
- Resumes for academic positions also have their own features. In such cases, it’s customary to include a list of published works, awards, or special academic achievements. It is also acceptable to mention research projects and ongoing work, even if such projects were not completed or did not yield the expected results. References from co-workers, research leaders, or members of the faculty are almost always mandatory.
- Certain companies require you to follow some guidelines you want to apply to their jobs, and you no longer have the freedom to select the best resume format. These are usually large corporations that receive thousands of applications, and struggle to streamline their recruitment process. Very often, the jobs involved are entry-level positions or internships, and candidates are not expected to have any relevant work experience. If you have to fill out such an application, you have to rely on strong keywords to make your case, so research the company policy to understand exactly what they’re looking for.
How to Decide which Resume Format Is Right for You
Sometimes the format may seem obvious; for instance, if you want to apply for a job in academic research, you will naturally decide for an academic resume format. But it’s also a good idea to try a new approach every now and then, and see where it takes you. Even if you’ve used a chronological CV all your life, and you have plenty of work experience to justify this choice, you should still try to re-write it using a functional resume template provided by CVGlobe, and see how they compare. Quite often, a new format may help you clarify your thoughts, and re-organize the information in a clearer and briefer manner. Even if you decide not to use the new approach, it may still have a long-term positive impact on your resume, and on how you present yourself to potential employers.