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How to choose a resume format that works for you

An ill-formatted and unorganized resume is useless. What makes a resume format really important is its effectiveness to convey the message to the recruiter. The fact of the matter is that everyone gets anxious before submitting a resume as they have little or no idea about how to write it.

Having no idea about which format works best, people often end-up using the first thing they find on the internet. This is not the correct approach to choosing resume formats. Choosing a resume format that is easy on the eyes is important.

So here is an article to help you identify the best resume format for you:

Readability 

On a regular basis, recruiters have to deal with a huge number of applications. 

If your resume is not 6 seconds worthy, it will probably get tossed aside. Hence, the reliability of your resume is very important.

The resume format should be able to present vital information at a single glance. The readability of resume depends on a few factors: 

  • Font design: Use a professional looking font (e.g. calibri, arial, verdana, etc.). Avoid san serif fonts as they can not be processed by ATS (applicant tracking system) 
  • Font size: The ideal font size for resumes is 10. Though if you have a lot of white space in your resume, you can increase the font size to 12. 
  • Section headings: Appropriately bold and highlight your sections headings to draw attention of the recruiters. And, the font size for section headings should be 14, or 16.
  • Bullets points: Avoid writing information in long paragraphs. Use one-liner bullet points to write information on your resume. Only the professional in your resume should be written in a paragraph form. 

Types of resume format

Generally speaking, there are 3 types of resume formats that you can use to write your resume: 

  • Reverse chronological format: Perhaps, this is one of the most used formats. In this format, you are supposed to write information in a reverse chronology. Let’s say you are writing the professional experience section, so to write your resume in , you need to include the most recent work profile with important achievements then go back to the oldest one. 
  • Functional format: This format is ideal for professionals who have had a similar work profile in their career span. Considering the fact that your responsibilities and contributions were similar across all the profiles, you need to create a separate section to write bullet-points for your important achievements. And, in the professional experience section, you need to just include the profile headers. 
  • Hybrid format: This format is also known as the combination format because it is a combination of reverse chronological and functional format. This format allows you to emphasize equally on skills & accomplishments and recent work experience. You can create a separate section that showcases your accomplishments, and the expertise that is in line with your targeted profile. 

How to choose a resume format based on your work experience

Choosing a resume format that works best for you depends on the number of your work experience. The career stage you are in and the number of years you have worked together decide the resume format you should choose.

Here are the ideal resume formats for the following professionals:

 

  • Fresher: Freshers and recent graduates should use a functional format to write their resume. This format helps you focus on your skills instead of the timeline of your career trajectory.  You should also highlight internships and volunteering experience as much as possible if you are writing a resume for freshers. 
  • Professionals with career gaps: If you are trying to hide your career gaps then you should stick to a functional resume as it emphasizes more your skills and achievements and doesn’t directly showcase your career gaps. However, the combination resume format is the prefered format as it gives equal importance to both your skills and work experience, thus striking the perfect balance.
  • Mid-level & senior professionals: Such professionals should go with a reverse chronological format since recruiters give preference to recent work profiles. 

How to master a resume format

The key to master a format lies in focusing on the major sections that go in a resume. It does not matter which format you choose as long as the content of your resume is articulate and well written. 

As long as you organize the content of your resume under relevant sections, your resume is good to go.

Here are the key sections to include and perfect in a resume: 

  • Header: It contains your personal and contact information
  • Professional summary/objective: This depends on the number of years of experience you have. If you have over 3 years of work experience, write a summary. If you don’t, write an objective. Either way, show how you can be of value to the hiring organization. l. 
  • Key skills: Mention all your core competencies and relevant skills here. If you are from the tech profile, make a subsection within the ‘key skills’ section for your ‘technical skills’.
  • Professional Experience & Internships section: They should highlight your work profiles with key achievements. 
  • Education: List all your degrees here in reverse chronology. 
  • Additional sections: Depending on what information you are trying to include. This section entails extra-curricular, volunteering, languages, etc.