It is high time that job-seekers start paying attention to choosing a format that works best for their profile. Resume format sets the foundation of your resume building process, and if chosen carefully, it can dramatically enhance its value.
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Here are a few tips to help you choose a perfect resume format:
Types of Resume Formats
There are 3 variations of a resume format and each caters to the needs of different professionals. They are designed per the target profile and your professional journey. Here are the three variations of a resume format:
- Reverse chronological format: The most common format, it allows you to show a continuous career timeline in your resume. In this format, you need to list your experiences in the reverse chronological order, hence allowing you to focus more on your current/recent roles.
- Functional resume format: Reverse chronological format fails to deliver to professionals who do not have a continuous career progression or the ones who are transitioning to a different role/industry. This format allows you to focus on your skills and accomplishments rather than bringing forth a gap-ridden career profile. Here all you need to do is create a separate section that works as a summary of your skills and add points that are relevant to the target profile.
- Combination resume format: As the name suggests, this is a combination of reverse chronological and functional format. It allows you to list your work profiles with key points and create a separate section for points that are relevant to the target profile.
What is the Importance of a Resume Format
An unorganized resume is often shown the way to the rejection pile. As recruiters do not get much time to skim through a resume, it is important to construct it in a way that is easy to read. Further, in today’s job market, just having reflected experience, loyal, hard-working in your resume is not going to cut it.
Recruiters shortlist candidates whose resume is relevant to the job profile. Hence, you need to make sure that your resume is sprinkled with points and skills that are connected to the target profile.
This is where resume formats come into the picture. Resume formats allow you to emphasize on skills and points that are in line with the profile you are targeting, and with organized sections.
Which format is the best for you
Reflecting on the resume format and its importance is futile if you do not know which one works best for you.
Taking insights from your professional career, here is how you can choose a resume format:
- If you have no gaps in your professional career then I suggest you choose a reverse chronological order. Stellar work records and continuous career timeline are your greatest strengths. And reverse chronological format allows you to showcase your recent accomplishments to the recruiter.
- Often professionals try to hide their career gaps in a resume. Now lying in a resume is not ideal so how do you write a resume that sidelines the gaps and focuses more on the skills and expertise of the professional? In such cases, a functional format works the best as it allows you to create a job-specific resume and help you pass ATS (applicant-tracking-system) which is a software that shortlists resumes based on points that are relevant to the target profile.
How to format your resume
To organize your resume, each section serves a purpose and you need to make sure to reflect that. So after deciding upon the resume format, the structure comes into the picture which can only be mastered through resume sections.
Here is what you need to know about resume sections:
These are the standard sections that are required in all the resumes.
- Resume Header (with name and contact information)
- Resume/Professional Summary
- Professional experience
There are additional sections, for example, extra-curricular, publications, certifications, language, etc. These sections may be optional, however, their importance is completely dependent on your profile. Let’s say you are a translator, in this case, the languages section is highly critical for your resume.
Why formatting your resume is important
As the time constraint subjects recruiters to give seconds to skim through a resume, you need to include information in a way so that it can be scanned.
You can achieve this by curating each section correctly and efficiently while formatting your resume. Let’s say you named the work experience section as “my work profiles” which is not ideal and will certainly not be parsed properly through ATS. Hence, you need to make sure that you give each section standard names.
Improve the readability of your resume by avoiding long paragraphs. Make sure that you write one-liner bullet points. Further, avoid experimenting with fonts, use Arial, Calibri, etc.