Resume format is usually influenced by the personal and professional situation you’re in. Depending on whether you have a long work history or a short one that possibly has gaps, or if you’re changing careers or networking, you have different resume format choices. The common formats are Chronological, Functional, Mixed, Targeted, and the Mini Resume.
The most popular and common resume format is the chronological resume. Straightforward and easy-to-read, the chronological resume is the preferred format for employers and should be your choice unless circumstances preclude you from writing a chronological format resume. The chronological resume lists each job you have held in reverse chronological order. Your most recent employer is listed first, and so on. Under each employer’s section, you will summarize each relevant job duty performed and your key accomplishments using bullet points for ease of readability. After the work history section, you may then list your education (since that came chronologically before work), degrees and relevant certifications. If you are changing careers, your work history has gaps or is not as impressive as it could be, consider a functional rather than chronological resume.
The functional resume format is not as popular as the chronological resume, but it can be a very good alternative for many. Instead of an objective listing of every single job, in order, the functional resume targets education and skill set instead of duties performed. After your contact information and, if applicable, career objective, lead the functional resume with a summary of your qualifications. List your skills, abilities, education and experience applicable to the job first. Later, you can summarize experience and education as you are able. The most important aspect of the functional resume is that it spotlights your strengths (abilities and qualifications) while downplaying any lack of hard experience or gaps.
The mixed resume is a combination of the chronological and functional layouts. In this format, you will still state your qualifications and skills first, but then you will follow up with the traditional listing of work experience and education in reverse chronological order. This way, you can give some information on why you feel you are qualified for this specific job first and possibly catch the eye of the employer. With a mixed resume, this idea is to “sell yourself” up front before giving more details.
The targeted resume format applies to any of the previous formats. Ideally, every resume should be tailored to the job you’re applying for. What it comes down to is time. If you have the time to rewrite your chronological, functional or mixed resume and gear the details you list toward the specific job, it should increase your chances of getting an interview. This may not be possible if you are a busy professional or if you are applying for a lot of jobs, but if you can spare the hours needed to target resumes, you can see greater results than if you use a one size fits all approach.
The mini resume isn’t really its own format used to apply for jobs. A mini resume may be used for networking purposes or for events like job fairs where time is limited. A mini resume serves as an introduction and a prompt a prospective employer to contact you. With this format, you will list a brief description of your skills, accomplishments, or whatever you think is the most impressive thing you can say. Sell yourself on a half page and list your contact information.