The Complete Resume Format Guide For 2019

By Mike Simpson

By now, as a seasoned job hunter and student of the Interview Guys, you should know there are a few essentials you should have in your arsenal: business cards, a solid cover letter, your elevator pitch, and your well-formatted resume.

Hang on, haven’t we already gone over all this in that other article, How to Make a Resume 101?

Yes…and no.

In that article we did go over how to write a resume, but in this article, we’re going to take you to the next step and focus specifically on one seemingly small but massively huge part of resume building: resume format and how to select which one is right for you.

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Why Is Resume Format So Important?

As any good “Interview Guys student” will tell you, a resume is a document used by job seekers (you) to quickly and easily let a hiring manager know what skills they have, what their work history is, and any accomplishments they might have.

Seems simple, right?

Well, it is, but only if you know what you’re doing. The tricky part of writing your own resume is it’s a deceptive document.

No, not deceptive as in you use it to lie to an employer about what you can do (don’t EVER do that!), but deceptive in that it seems like it should be really easy to write.

Trust me, it’s much easier to write a bad resume than a good one…and there are a LOT of bad ones out there, which, believe it or not, is a good thing.

Wait. It’s good that there are bad resumes out there? That doesn’t make any sense!

Yes, and the reason is, when a recruiter or hiring manager has to slog through a mountain of bad resumes, seeing a good resume is like a breath of fresh air. It stands out!

And if you follow our guide, that breath of fresh air resume is going to be yours!

But first, we need to figure out what type of resume format you need.

Types of Resume Formats

Once upon a time, many moons ago, there was just one way to write a resume, reverse-chronologically.

Chronological Resume Formatalarm-161067_640

The reverse-chronological resume (simply called the “chronological”) was just that, a chronological listing of everything you’d done up to that point, starting with your most recent and working backwards.

During the heyday of the chronological resume, everyone used it. It wasn’t just industry standard, it was global standard.

Brain surgeons and tax accountants used the same chronological format as plumbers and babysitters – and for the time, it was fine.

Then someone said, “Hmm. These jobs aren’t all exactly the same..so why are the resumes being used exactly the same? Shouldn’t they be specific to the job you’re seeking? Shouldn’t it be more…functional?”

And in that moment, the functional resume was born.

Functional Resume Format

Rather than just simply listing what you’ve done (chronological), a functional resume specifically targets the job you’re going after and makes sure that it highlight the skills and abilities you have that relate to that position.cogwheel-145804_640

Rather than listing a ton of stuff that might not relate to what you’ve done, it highlights what is most relevant for the position you’re going after.

Whereas a chronological resume can seem cold and impersonal, almost a ‘shopping list’ of skills, promotions and upward mobility, a functional resume allows you to interject a little of “who” you are into the conversation, not just “what you do.”

And then someone said “I can’t decide…what works better for me? Chronological or functional? Ugh, why do I have to decide? Why can’t I use both?!”

And thus the combination resume was born.

Combination Resume Format

The combination resume takes all the best parts of a functional resume (relevant skills, qualifications and specifically targeted information) and combines it with the chronological resume (everything you’ve done in the past that’s gotten you to where you are right now.)

But which of the three resume formats is right for me?

How To Choose the Best Format

The first thing you have to do when settling on what type of resume you plan to write (chronological, functional or combination), is figure out which resume format or resume layout matches your needs and who you are.

CHRONOLOGICAL RESUMES are great for people who have had a steady career path in the same field for a long period of time or are applying for jobs in similar fields and has few, if any, gaps in their employment history.

Employers like chronological resumes because it’s easy to see, a