The Most Effective Resume Format With Pros and Cons

What difference can a resume format make? As long as you have all the skills, using a resume correct format doesn’t bother you much, right?

Wrong! Using the correct format for a resume is important. A lot depends on what kind of resume format you choose.

After all, your resume is the first impression and foremost element of getting a job.

It is the first connection you build with your potential employer. So, you have to get it right in showcasing your skills and experience in the best light.

Now, before we get into the different types of resume formats that will be best for your specific case, let’s have a look at the most effective resume formats.

There have been three standard formats popular in professional career paths:

  • reverse-chronological
  • functional
  • combination

What Are The Most Effective Resume Formats?

  1. Reverse-chronological – This is the most common and practical resume format used by professionals. A reverse-chronological resume highlights your work history and skills in reverse-chronological order.
  2. Functional – This one is also known as the skills-based resume. The main differentiation in this format from the other two is that it focuses more on your skills and covers up your work history gaps and stereotypes.
  3. Combination (or, hybrid) – As the title reads you might have already guessed, this one’s a combination of the other two formats. It focuses equally on your skills and work history.

Resume Formats Pros and Cons 

Here is a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of all three resume formats we have described above:

1. Reverse-Chronological Resume Format

Pros of a Reverse-Chronological resume:

  • Information is written in a very straight-forward manner
  • Easy to read and skim through by employers
  • This format is for those who have consistent job experience or held specific previous positions for a long period of time

Cons of a Reverse-Chronological resume:

  • This format is only effective when applicants have a strong working history.
  • Commonly used format which makes it a little difficult task to stand out from others. 
  • For applicants who are changing career paths or entering a new field, the reverse-chronological format is not ideal

2. Functional Resume Format

Pros of a Functional resume:

  • Applicants with large gaps in their work history, or who lack relevant job experience, can take advantage of the functional format
  • This format emphasizes skills or qualifications rather than work background.
  • This format allows you to highlight your skill sets that are transferable to the new career you are seeking.

Cons of a Functional resume:

  • A functional resume format can be confusing or off-putting to recruiters. 
  • This format tends to take more of your time to craft and structure due to the lack of relevant work experiences

3. Combination/Hybrid Resume Format

Pros of a Hybrid resume:

  • If you don’t have large gaps in your employment history, a combination resume is a good format.
  • You can use it to emphasize job relevant skills you have honed in previous jobs
  • If you have robust experiences in non-paid positions, such as internships or volunteer positions this format is correct for you.
  • It utilizes the chronological ordering while also differentiating the format enough to stand out to recruiters 

Cons of a Hybrid resume:

  • As it places emphasis on both work experience and skills, it can be hard to keep the wording concise
  • If you lack the ability to structure your resume properly, a combination resume can easily become cluttered
  • Improper-designed combination resumes have the potential to come off as deceptive if you mess up with the skills and work experience. 

Key Takeaways

Why a resume format matters, is what you have learned above. Your resume is all about advertising your most valuable skills and work history. The candidate’s work history, skillset, and description of the job position decide the correct and effective format of the resume. 

  • Creating a convincing resume is picking the right resume format. 
  • Choose an applicant tracking system friendly format.
  • Think about the extent of your experience as this will help you to choose the right resume format. 
  • You can go for a functional or combination resume if you’re a career changer.