Chronological resumes, functional resumes, combination or hybrid resumes – it’s 2022, and you may be wondering, “Which resume format should I use? Which one is current? Which format will help me land the job?”
Below, we will discuss these three resume formats in detail. We’ll name our top pick for 2022, our pick for runner-up, and the resume format that isn’t for everyone but performs well in specific situations.
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The Best Resume Format
The reverse chronological resume format is hands down the best format for most people and in most situations.
This resume format is appealing to hiring managers and bosses because it gives them the information they expect in an easy-to-read format. It is familiar – it is what they expect to see, and it doesn’t leave them guessing.
What does a reverse chronological resume look like? It begins with your contact information, followed by a skills list or qualification summary. Next, you’ll list your work experience in reverse chronological order, that is, starting with the most recent job experience and working your way back in time. Then, you will list your education, also in reverse chronological order.
You may also include optional resume sections such as Volunteering, Awards and Honors, Licenses and Certifications, Publications, or Hobbies and Interests if you feel they are relevant and will benefit you.
Our second choice in resume formats is the hybrid or combination resume format.
Just as you seek a good work/life balance, so the hybrid resume gives you the best aspects of the functional and combination resumes.
Like the reverse chronological resume discussed above, the hybrid resume format gives employers exactly what they expect to find – your skills, employment history, and educational background in reverse chronological order.
This resume format, however, also gives them something more. It is focused on skills and allows you to expand upon these in the same way that you would in a functional resume format.
In a hybrid resume, you place your skills at the top of the page, ahead of your Work Experience and Education. This placement highlights the fact that they are the most important reason you are qualified. You can list your skills directly under a Professional Summary paragraph.
Arrange your skills in order of importance for the job and considering your skill level. Try to list hard skills (technical skills) before soft skills (qualities and personality traits). Try not to repeat the same terms later in your job descriptions. Use synonyms to mix it up.
Brie Reynolds, a Career Development Manager and Coach at FlexJobs, puts it this way: “A hybrid resume helps recruiters and hiring managers understand a candidate’s value quickly, get the gist of their skills, then skim the chronological work history for evidence that proves what the summary and skills section have already told them.”
Combination resumes also perform well for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software, since the skills descriptions allow for the use of many keywords.
For Exceptional Circumstances Only
On occasion, your career path diverges from what is expected. In rare instances, this necessitates using a functional resume format to show that you have the skills and qualifications needed to do a job… even if you’re work experience and educational background may not say so.
In circumstances where you have skills outside of your previous career, have had a large career gap, or your skills may be derived from the experiences of long ago, the functional resume format might be for you.
Our recommendation of this resume format also comes with a word of caution. Functional resumes may raise red flags with some employers. In fact, some job search blogs go so far as to state that recruiters don’t like functional resumes. They may see your black of chronological dates as an attempt to hide something in your past.
Your skills may also seem to lack context when not tied to a previous job. This can cause employers to pass on hiring you. Be specific in the descriptions of your skills as to how you obtained the skill and how you have used it.
So, if you don’t fall into one of the exceptional categories that make the functional resume a viable option, stick to the chronological or hybrid resume format instead.
- Under most circumstances, the reverse chronological resume format is the most likely to appeal to your hiring manager. It is familiar and presents your information in an easy-to-find format.
- If your skill set holds equal or more weight than your experiences, you might rely on a hybrid or combination resume format to highlight them.
- In rare instances, the functional resume format may work well for you. Use caution, however, because it may raise red flags with some employers.