How to Choose a Resume Format that works for you

Are you struggling to choose a resume format that represents your skills and highlights your accomplishments?

In this guide, we will help you in choosing the right resume format based on your career trajectory and work history.

So let’s begin and understand the act of attracting the recruiter’s attention and setting yourself apart from the competition. 

Let’s start with basics

Among the job seekers, there are 3 resume formats that are widely used and have the potential to attract recruiters’ attention. 

Through a resume, a lot of professionals struggle to showcase their skills to the recruiter. But it is not impossible. Below three resume formats will ease the process to some extent:

  • Reverse-chronological
  • Functional
  • Hybrid or combinational

While the reverse-chronological format creates an emphasis on your professional experience, the hybrid resume combines the strengths of reverse-chronological and functional resume formats.

The functional resume format puts your skills in the frontline but is not liked by recruiters as it hides a candidate’s career gap and the presence of a functional resume format is generally frowned upon.

Let’s dive deep into these resume formats and decide their pros and cons and what can be the best resume format in given circumstances.

Reverse-chronological resume format

The most used resume format of all time is undoubtedly the reverse-chronological format and it’s liked by the recruiters too.

Your present work appears at the top of your resume with past experiences listed in a reverse-chronological format making your resume more impactful and readable.


  1. It’s quick to scan and easy to understand and recruiters love it because after all previous work accomplishments are what they look for in a resume.
  2. It’s ATS friendly.
  3. It highlights your work history while laying special emphasis on your skills so adding an extra feature of genuineness (and not portraying you as a fraud who just added a bunch of skills in their skills section just to pass the ATS test).


  1. It’s not suitable for candidates having gaps in their career trajectory.
  2. As it focuses on your past experiences, it’s not an ideal resume format for freshers and graduates.
  3. As it’s the most widely used resume format, it doesn’t make your resume stand out from the crowd.

How to use reverse chronological format

So how can you make a difference in your job application if you choose the reverse-chronological format to represent yourself as a professional?

  • Adding a summary section could really add another layer of functionality to your resume
  • When revamping your resume, adding accomplishments or achievements could really step things up for your job application.

Functional resume format

This resume format highlights your skills and abilities while pushing the experience section at the bottom of your resume to the extent of unnoticeable. Choosing a functional resume format is not a smart move if you have a dedicated work history.

The major emphasis is given to your skills and abilities but putting you in a red-zone area where your resume just represents a cluttered group of skills under a section and creates a barrier to let your experience section shine.


  1. As the skills are the resume spotlight, the format is best for candidates having career gaps.
  2. It can prove to be a suitable choice for candidates just starting fresh right after college as they don’t have previous work experience to showcase.


  1. The format is not liked by recruiters asit doesn’t prove the relevancy of the candidates by showcasing enough accomplishments based on those skills.
  2. Applicant tracking system(ATS) finds it hard to scan 
  3. The resume format hides your career gap which becomes a major suspicion for recruiters thus resulting in a bad future of your job application.

Hybrid or combination resume format

If there’s something you can bet on, then a hybrid resume format serves the purpose well.

Putting your summary section at top of your resume followed by a detailed job trajectory(in reverse chronological manner), the combination resume format is definitely the ace in your application card. 


  1. With a highlighted experience section, the resume format is most suitable for candidates having a fantastic work history with no career gaps and just pure achievements accomplished over the past.
  2. The resume format allows you to mention your hard skills clubbed with relevant industry related jargon under the professional experience section. It emboldens your job application as recruiters love to see your accomplished achievements and what skills you used to attain those results.


  1. As the format puts your experience section upfront, it’s a big no for individuals having any type of career breaks in their job trajectory.
  2. The format is not an optimum choice for freshers and college grads.

Key Takeaways

After the above article, it’s quite clear that:

  • Professionals with years of expertise in their field with a dedicated job trajectory should always go for combination or hybrid format.
  • Freshers, college graduates or individuals with gaps in their career timeline should always choose a functional resume format as it highlights all your hard skills.

After choosing the right resume format to portray yourself as an individual with professionalism, it’s time to select the type of format in which you want to save your final resume render. 

It can be PDF, word document, google sheet format, or any other specified in the job description so a quick read on it can be beneficial before sending your resume via email.