Did you know there are different types of resumes? Have you had the same one since before you can remember? There’s more than one way for you to show off your skills, and sometimes the old setup won’t do it. If you’ve been out of work for a while or want to switch careers, it’s time for a new resume! It’s all about setting your reader’s focus on your best traits.
Before we start dissecting all the types of resumes and when to use them, ask yourself these two key questions:
- Are you open to applying to new jobs you’ve never done? Types of jobs you’ve done before? Both?
- For whatever reason, has it been a long time since you had a job?
Types of Resumes and When to Use Them:
Are you sticking with the same kind of work, but just want a better position?
You need the Old Faithful: Reverse Chronological Resume
Have you been out of work for a while, or had a lot of different jobs?
You need the Functional Resumes: Skill Focused, Great for Gaps
Are you open to a completely new career, but wouldn’t turn down one from your last line of work?
You need the Ultimate Compromiser, the Combination Resume
What about a resume for your dream job?
You need the Targeted Resume: for Dream Jobs
Old Faithful: Reverse Chronological Resume
You are probably already familiar with the most common form of resumes, which is reverse chronological. This format starts with your contact information and then goes straight into what job you had last or currently, listing them all the way back to your first job ever.
This is a great format when you’re just looking for a new position in the same line of work, but perhaps at a larger company, shorter commute, etc. It’s also the most common resume format. Different types of resumes serve different purposes, so make sure this fits your situation before you fall back on Old Faithful.
This is about focusing on your work history. Example:
Phone Number: 1(234)-6758 Email: email@example.com
Consulting Detective ’89-Present
The only consulting detective in the world.
An extensive list of successful cases available, except for those involving H.R.H.
Research Assistant ’88-89
Deductive reasoning, extensive knowledge of chemistry, botany, geology, and anatomy,
Cambridge University, M.A. in Organic Chemistry
John Watson, Doctor and Assistant
Downside to the Reverse Chronological Resume Format
The trouble is that this isn’t a suitable resume type for many people. When you’re changing jobs or returning to work after a long break or any of the myriad of things that happen in life, showing off your most recent job isn’t going to cut it. It’s too bad that many people try to make it work anyway.
Upside to the Reverse Chronological Resume Format
This resume format does well with company ATS searches, so it’s going to remain popular. This type of resume is great when you’re currently or recently employed, staying in the same line of work, and in a pretty broad field. For instance, this is a great resume format if you’re a bartender looking for work that’s closer to your house to lessen your commute, but you’re sticking with bartending.
Functional Resumes: Skill Focused, Great for Gaps
Not all types of resumes are going to fit what you’re used to seeing. The most extreme resume is the functional resume. Known as a “functional resume”, this format shows off what you can do and not what you’ve already done. The emphasis is on your skills and less on your work history. This format is great when you’re trying out a lot of different kinds of jobs, returning to an industry you haven’t been in for a while or going back to work after taking time off for personal reasons.
Starting with a summary about what you can do for the company, the next category is skills. You need to focus on your relevant skills and not your last job. Take the time to make a lengthy (and relevant) skills list of what you bring to the table. Bullet points make your skills easy for hiring directors to skim, which is what they’d prefer.
Bullwinkle J. Moose
Ph: 1(213)-345-6789 Frostbite Falls, MN
AREA OF EXPERTISE/SKILLS
- Disarming bombs
- Magic Tricks
- Curing hiccups
Graduated from Wossamatta University, majored in Squirrel Tossing
M.I. T. (Moose Institute of Toe-dancing)
Philpott School for Exceptional Children
- Pottsylvania Accounting, Accountant,
- Part owner- part governor of Moosylvania
Downside to Functional Resume Format
This type of resume doesn’t do well with most company ATSs, which means that you might really struggle to get your resume to a live person. Unfortunately, this setup gets the worst results when you’re applying online to multiple jobs.
Upside to Functional Resume Format
If you don’t want the focus on your work history, this format could be great for you. Make sure to still add in your work history somewhere, even if it is at the very bottom of the page.
Ultimate Compromiser, the Combination Resume
The ultimate compromise (and usually the safest bet) between the chronological resume and the functional is the combination resume format. This type of resume gets you the best of both worlds. Let’s say that you will take a job doing what you did before, but you’re also open to new opportunities.
First, you have your standard contact information, then your skills that you enjoy using (with bullet points, so the hiring manager can easily skim them). The last third section of the resume is your list of jobs, starting with your most recent. Only very briefly mention with each one what your job successes were – not the job description itself. This will show what you excel at, which is useful for both a new industry where your skills can be useful or at your old industry, where you clearly knocked it out of the park. You’ll look like a rock star to both people in your old line of work and to someone at a new one.
This format works even if you’ve been out of work for a while or had to take time off for whatever reason. The downsides will be that it will be obvious that you’ve made this resume for everyone and it’s not targeted to a specific employer.
Ph: 1(213)-345-6789 EM: dmorgendorffer@
AREA OF EXPERTISE/SKILLS
- Sarcastic comments
- Reading classic literature
- Increasing room temperatures by pressing my family’s hot buttons
- Droll deadpan one-liners
Freeland Content Writer 4/2021- Present
Prone to writing about news in a droll manner
Writer Sick, Sad World TV show 2/2020-4/2021
Wrote droll one-liners to assist B-level show to show the world at its most authentic.
Graduated from Raft College
Downside to the Combination Resume Format
Some people have a problem editing down their skills or their job history, so the combination resume can result in your resume become much longer than the average hiring manager wants to read. A Ladders study from 2018 shows that resumes usually only get 7.4 seconds in front of a human. You have less time with your audience than you think. If your resume is too long, you risk losing your audience.
Upside to the Combination Resume Format
You can avoid writing a book by listing your jobs chronologically, but make your skills or highlights as bullet points. If you can keep your resume to one page or similar, then you can show a full picture of your skills without being tied to one kind of focus.
Targeted Resume: for Dream Jobs
Writing a targeted resume takes more time than any of the other resume formats and it only goes to your dream jobs. We’re talking if you’re trying to land a job at a place like Google or Nike or Goldman Sachs. Even if it’s just the version of that dream job in your town, turning your resume into the targeted format can help you out.
Ideally, you would be able to write a targeted resume for every job, but that’s in an ideal situation. Make sure your resume has the information that the hiring manager would want to consider. For instance, if any of your previous experiences could be helpful, make sure to emphasize it early on instead of assuming the hiring manager will find it. You can’t be certain that every single person who gets your resume will read every single word. These people are busy, so make it easy for them to see why they should hire you.
EM: firstname.lastname@example.org * PH: 555-555-5555
Skilled copywriter with management experience seeking a high-paying position with a top-tier advertising agency. Experienced in multi-million dollar advertising accounts and dealing with difficult coworkers.
Awards: Winner of the Clio Award for Heinz Baked Beans campaign
Sterling, Cooper, and Partners New York, NY
- Copy Chief ’68- present
Cutler, Gleason, & Chaough New York, NY
- Copy Chief ’67-68
- Handled Burger Chief account
Sterling Cooper Draper Price New York, NY
- Advertising Copywriter ’66-67
- Won the Clio award for Heinz Baked Beans campaign
Sterling Cooper New York, NY
- Advertising Copywriter ’65-66
- Junior Copywriter Nov. 1960 – ’65
Handled the Clearasil account
- Secretary June 60- Nov. ’60
Education: Graduated from Miss Deaver’s, a top-notch secretarial school
References: Don Draper
Downside of Targeted Resume Format
By far, this resume format is the most time-consuming and what it should look like it heavily dependent on the industry you’re in and the company you’re applying to.
Upside to the Targeted Resume Format
It might get you the dream job!
By now you’ve read all about the common types of resumes and hopefully one of them seemed right for your situation. It’s all about what works for your situation and where you want to go in your career!
And remember, trying out all the different types of resumes doesn’t do you any good if you don’t get the position you’re looking for. If you’re looking for work, check out our current openings: Search Jobs