What is the best resume format for 2024? There are so many different resume formats to choose from! Which resume format will help you put your best foot forward, make the best first impression, and land the job you dream about?
Perhaps more than any time in history, the time is right–right now–to go after your dream job.
While it is true that it remains a job hunters’ employment market in 2024, job search and career success isn’t just about landing any job, it is about landing the right job. The job you really, really want! And there is no denying that your resume plays a major role in landing that job
Why Does Your Resume Format Matter?
Think about it. Your professional resume is essentially your calling card. It is your introduction to hiring managers and recruiters.
Your resume formatting and the way you choose to communicate your professional skills and work history on the one or two pages that is your resume, are responsible for creating the first impression that these prospective employers have of you. And, like it or not, first impressions matter and more importantly, are often lasting impressions.
Choosing the right format can help you write your professional resume and tell your career story in a compelling and persuasive way that is relevant to the job and gets the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.
The best resume format for you will help you promote your relevant skills for the job and write an accomplishment-filled story of your employment history.
Creative resume templates, if chosen thoughtfully, can even play a primary role in helping you stand out from the hordes of other job seekers competing with you for your dream job.
On the other hand, the wrong resume format and resume layout can make your resume difficult to read. The wrong resume format can lead you to stuff it with too much or the wrong information and can even make your description of your work history so confusing that the hiring manager skips over it.
The 3 Main Types of Resume Formats
There are three primary types of common resume formats that job seekers use to create a resume and apply for jobs. These three best-known resume formats are the chronological resume, functional resume, and combination resume.
By far, the most practically useful and effective style of resume is what is known as the combination resume format (also known as a hybrid resume format).
But most job seekers are more familiar with the two other types of resumes, which together form the foundation for the combination format (and that is why it is called the combination or hybrid resume format).
Chronological Resume Format
A chronological resume format (also known as a reverse chronological resume format) lists your work history in reverse chronological order, with your most recent employment and job title listed first.
A strictly chronological resume is just that: a listing of your work history in reverse chronological order, usually with no professional summary or even any type of resume objective or key skills summary. Your education would typically follow your job history listing, though you may list it first on your resume if you are new graduate.
When people think of a traditional resume, it is this chronological resume format that they are usually thinking of. The chronological format is a good format to show career progression and is an excellent type of resume for accurate entry into applicant tracking systems (ATS). Ensuring your resume format is compatible with applicant tracking software is essential in today’s digital job market.
But, the truth is that while the chronological listing of your work history in a chronological resume is widely preferred by employers and recruiters (especially as compared to the functional resume format, which we’ll cover in a moment), a “strict” chronological resume is almost never used or recommended anymore.
For this reason, none of the resume templates offered by Distinctive Resume Templates are created in this “strict” reverse chronological format.
Functional Resume Format
The functional resume format is the least common of the three main resume formats. But strangely, even though it isn’t commonly used, it might be the most commonly asked-for resume format by job seekers looking for help from pros.
This is probably because the functional resume format is often touted as the “solution” to a problematic work history that doesn’t lend itself to a traditional chronological style. And while, yes, it can be a solution in some cases, when actually job searching in the real world, the cons of this format often outweigh the pros.
In short, the functional resume format focuses on skills and experience, rather than employment history like the chronological resume. In fact, functional resume formats de-emphasize or sometimes even completely leave out the chronology of your work experience.
This skills-based resume structure can be useful under certain circumstances. For example, you might choose a functional resume format if you are making a dramatic career change, if you are starting a new career, if you are returning to the workforce after a significant period of time off, or if you have significant gaps in your work history.
Here are three resume examples in the functional format style from our portfolio of Microsoft Word resume templates.