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Chronological. Reverse-chronological. Hybrid. Combination. Functional. Chrono-functional. When it comes to resume formats, the terminology can be confusing.
It’s 2022, and you may be wondering: what is the best resume format for the modern job-seeker?
What if you feel that your circumstances are different or unique? What, for example, is the best pharmacist resume format? What is best for an entry-level recent grad? What about a seasoned professional with an amazing history? Find out below.
Experts agree that in almost every situation, the chronological resume format (sometimes referred to as reverse-chronological format) is the most likely resume format to get you hired. Why?
Stated simply, “hiring managers prefer a chronological resume format because it is the one they are most familiar with. This format clearly lays out a candidate’s job history and their roles. Also, most recruiters look for this type of resume for senior positions.”
The familiar format means that hiring managers are not wasting their valuable time digging for the information they need – your skills, experience, and education, for example. After all, said hiring managers generally spend only a few seconds skimming each resume before classifying it as a “maybe” or a “no way.”
So, what is so great about this format that it has been the preferred resume style for decades? Consider a few reasons:
- Clearly labeled categories
- Reliable placement of categories (generally in the order of contact information, skills, work experience, education, and optional content)
- Recent and relevant (generally including only your past three jobs or those from the previous 10 to 15 years; college degrees replace high school diplomas)
- Standard formatting (easy to read 10 to 12-point fonts, columns, headings, margins)
But what if you feel that this resume format doesn’t quite fit your style, experiences, or career path? Next, we’ll consider a resume no-go and a unique circumstances alternative.
Have you ever written a functional or skills-based resume? Some sources recommend it if you fit into the following categories:
- You’re a recent graduate with zero work experience
- You’re switching careers, especially mid-career
- You have a long span of unemployment
- You experienced a career break
- You have a long career with a lot of experience that just doesn’t fit on the limited reverse-chronological resume
But here’s the thing: most hiring managers don’t like functional resumes!
Why not? Well, for one thing, functional resumes may not list experience in chronological order, so it is hard for the hiring manager to grasp your overall career trajectory. In fact, many don’t include dates in order to shield the fact that relevant experience happened years ago or to hide a career gap.
And that makes hiring managers nervous. They worry that the candidate may be hiding something. As a result, the resume may end up in the waste basket.
But, if you want your hiring manager to focus on your skills rather than your history, there is a solution. We’ll discuss it in the next section.
The combination resume format – also called a hybrid resume or chrono-functional resume – could be considered the best of both worlds. How so?
In most respects, the hybrid resume is identical to the chronological resume. It has contact information, skills, work experience listed in reverse-chronological order, and education in that same order.
But instead of merely listing your skills, it borrows the Skills Summary from the functional resume.
This section appears between the contact information and work history. It consists of three to five of your most impressive, relevant skills. Below each skill is a bulleted list describing how you obtained the skill, how you’ve used it, and things you’ve accomplished with it.
In this way, you can draw attention to skills that you did not use or obtain through training, schooling, or at a previous job without raising any red flags.
If you compose a reverse-chronological resume now, will this still be the format of choice in years to come? Odds are that it will.
The modern resume first took shape in the 1950s, and it has continued to evolve in the decades since. But for many years, the reverse-chronological resume has been the gold standard for job seekers.
As time goes by, the chronological resume may be tweaked to adjust to new hiring trends. The most important thing to remember is to update your resume regularly. Take a look at it at least every six months to a year, or when you have a life event such as a job change or a move. Add new skills and experiences, and remove outdated ones.
Additionally, tailor your resume to the needs of each job you apply for.
Give employers what they want – and what they want in 2022 is a chronological resume. If you need to focus their attention on your skills, opt for a combination resume rather than a functional resume.