Resume formats are the way that we allow a reader to see us in a particular light. Is your most recent job your best work? Do you have gaps? When resume writing, we want to represent your background positively no matter if you are a mom returning to the workforce, someone who has had 20 jobs in the last 15 years, someone who wants to change careers, someone wanting to get back into something they haven't done in years, or someone who took time out of work to help a family member with an illness. Most everyone has particular positions they want to emphasize throughout their career and other areas that they wish to deemphasize. The question is whether you know how to represent your resume in a light that will highlight your strengths and deemphasize any areas you do not consider your best work.
Whether you are creating a professional resume or an executive resume, currently most people use a Reverse Chronological resume format. That is perfect if everything has gone pretty well throughout your career, you have great company names to show off and there are not date issues to deemphasize. The Reverse Chronological resume is the resume that shows your progression throughout you career, starts with your most recent experience and goes back to the oldest position. This resume usually only goes back approximately 10-15 years for the seasoned professional. When resume writing, the goal of this resume layout is to show all of your promotions and an increase in responsibilities as you have evolved throughout your career. When using this format, you do not want your most recent job to have the least info or accomplishments, in fact you want to demonstrate the opposite - career growth. This resume format is also great if you've worked for well-known Fortune 500 companies because it tends to highlight the companies you've worked with. Be sure when using this format you do not have any large date gaps that cannot be explained, as this format will highlight those "high risk areas."
A Functional resume is the type resume that allows you to emphasize what you want the reader to see - your skills - and deemphasize any weak spots such as dates, job gaps or any jumping around from job to job. If you are creating a functional resume, you select your key skill sets and put your experience under each skill set. Common examples of skill sets are sales/marketing, finance/budgeting and management/leadership, but it really depends on your field. Most people that choose a functional resume format are trying to hide dates or gaps in employment or get back into something they've done in the past. These folks want to bring out the old experience through choosing applicable skills sets and bringing this experience to the beginning of the resume in front of when the work was completed. The functional resume format is also common for people re-entering the workforce to hide gaps in employment. Since the focus is not on dates, it is a good format for that reason.
The hybrid resume format is a cross between a functional resume and a reverse chronological resume - this format is one that will combine the benefits of the reverse chronological resume and also the functional resume, selecting a few key skill sets or accomplishments to bring the readers attention to these key areas and then transition into reverse chronological after that. So the hybrid resume begins focused on skills and ends with a reverse chronological list of the jobs you've held towards the end. This is another good resume format to bring the reader's attention to skills you want to highlight no matter when you actually used these skills. The hybrid resume also distracts the readers attention in the beginning from dates and shows them what you've done well throughout your career to win the reader over, then shows the dates, gaps, etc. after they are already been sold on your skills.
The CV is very common outside of the United States. Inside the U.S. it is used by Doctors and Professors. These can be very long - even 16+ pages. A CV has personal information many times too, for example: active in completing Marathons, two children, married and a dog. It also lists publications and speaking engagements with which you've been involved. Fortune 500 companies don't typically like them from business professionals - they are perceived as giving too much useless information.
Selecting a resume format that will put your best foot forward can leave you feeling a little nervous. If you feel intimidated by this decision, hire a professional resume writing company to assist you in determining what format will best represent your strengths, and allow you to play your cards right and win!! Take on the challenge of selecting the best resume format by objectively assessing what you have done throughout your career and presenting your best strengths when the time is right.
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