3 Top Best Resume Formats for 2021

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Table of contents

Chronological Resume
When to Use
Example
Pros and Cons
Functional Resume
When to Use
Example
Pros and Cons
Combination Resume
When to Use
Example
Pros and Cons
How to Choose Your Perfect Resume Format?

When job seekers apply for jobs, their resumes are their most powerful weapons, which can either help them land an interview or make them fail. And the formatting of your applications matters no less than their contents.

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So, how to format your resume? In this article, our team with years of experience in the resume writing business will take you through the three top resume formats 2021!

  • Chronological Resume Format
  • Definition
  • When to use
  • Example
  • Pros and cons
  • Functional Resume Format
  • Definition
  • When to use
  • Example
  • Pros and cons
  • Combination Resume Format
  • Definition
  • When to use
  • Example
  • Pros and cons

Chronological Resume Format

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A chronological (reverse-chronological) resume is the king of resume formats and the way to go in the majority of cases. Unlike other common US resume formats, this one is considered to be traditional because it’s an all-time favorite of many recruiting firms.

This format emphasizes the work experience of the applicant. It lists your professional history starting from the most recent place of work, thus, driving the recruiter’s attention to your most recent accomplishments, which is why it’s so effective.

When to Use Chronological Resume Format?

As was mentioned earlier, it is one of the most popular resume formats that many people prefer. And, since many recruiters and employers like it as well, it can be used in a vast majority of cases.

However, as we also said earlier, it puts your career at the core. Thus, most importantly, it should be used by candidates with a consistent career history, meaning that you should have enough to say about your professional path in the job application.

Chronological Resume Example [Text Version]

Different formats for a resume have different peculiarities and distinctive features. Thus, in order to get things right, it is vital to know how each of the formats of resume looks like.

To help you get on the right track, below is a sample resume written in a chronological format:

Eric Benks

Journalist

New York, NY

646-576-4005

eric.benks@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/eric-benks

ericbenks.com


Creative and self-motivated journalist with 6+ years of experience and a nose for the truth. Advanced storytelling skills and a proven track record of successful reportages created for big media portals with large audiences. Seeking to leverage proven journalism skills as a reporter at [company name].

Experience

News Reporter

New York Post, New York, NY

2019-Present

  • Provided compelling coverage of the news from the IT, tech, and innovation fields
  • Wrote engaging digital articles for a wide audience
  • Assisted in training new journalists

Junior News Editor

New York Post, New York, NY

2016-2019

  • Collaborated with the reporting team to create high-quality news articles
  • Covered a wide range of topics
  • Assisted in managing the portal’s social networks
  • Pitched engaging story ideas

Journalist Assistant

Guardian News & Media

2015-2016

  • Assisted the journalists with research for the articles
  • Wrote small weekly stories on technology
  • Occasionally assisted with editing/proofreading of the final drafts 

Education

University of New York, New York, NY

BA in Journalism

2011-2015

  • GPA 3.9
  • Held the editor-in-chief role at the university newspaper for 3 years
  • Winner of Award of Excellence by the New York News Publishers Association

Skills

  • Research
  • Writing
  • Proofreading and editing
  • News and column writing
  • Social media management
  • Ability to work under tight deadlines and pressure
  • Excellent command of English and French languages
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork

Additional Activities

Since 2020, run a personal microblog about technology and IT with over 100k readers

Pros and Cons of Using Chronological Resume Format

To help you pick the right option among all resume samples formats, let’s look at the major pros and cons of this format.

Pros:

  • This format emphasizes your level of qualification and professional achievements;
  • It’s very easy to scan for a recruiter;
  • It is also easy to scan for an applicant tracking system (ATS), which makes it especially useful because most recruiters these days use an ATS system.

Cons:

  • To get maximum benefits from a chronological resume, you have to format it very thoroughly;
  • It only works for experienced specialists because it can expose all gaps in your employment history.

Functional Resume Format

The next one of the most popular resume formats word is a functional resume. Since it highlights the candidate’s skills rather than professional experience, it is often called a skills-based resume.

Although this format is widely used by certain groups of candidates, many recruiters hate it because it seems to hide the work history and put transferable skills front instead. Yet, there are certain benefits of this format. Read on to learn when and how it can be used best.

When to Use Functional Resume Format

Functional resume formats aren’t good for all occasions. As we said, such resumes shift the focus from the job seeker’s professional history to his transferable skills. However, sometimes, it can be rather beneficial.

Functional resumes work well for specialists applying for such jobs in which their work histories don’t matter that much. Also, this format is known to work well for candidates who don’t have sufficient work experience yet. Thus, it’s one of the best options among college resume formats.

Functional Resume Format Example [Text Version]

Now, let’s continue exploring different resume formats examples and look at another sample resume for a journalist job, which is similar to the one we shared earlier, but, this time, in a functional format.

Eric Benks

Journalist

New York, NY

646-576-4005

eric.benks@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/eric-benks

ericbenks.com


Hardworking recent graduate with a degree in Social Communication and Journalism looking to expand skills and grow professionally as a junior journalist at [Company name]. Possess over 2 years of experience in freelancing with a 100% customer satisfaction rate. Highly proficient in the English language, have an exceptional eye for detail, and excellent storytelling skills.

Skills Summary

Research

Have a proven track record of strong research skills. Familiar with various research methods and able to work efficiently with different sources of information to find relevant and up-to-date information on various topics.

Writing

Experienced in writing different types of content, including press releases, blog posts, product reviews, news publications, landing pages, etc. Have an excellent command of English grammar and punctuation.

Proofreading and Editing

As a freelance copywriter, had to proofread and edit both self-written pieces as well as the content written by others. Confident user of popular text editing tools such as Grammarly and advanced plagiarism checkers like Turnitin.

Time Management

As a freelancer, often had to work on multiple projects simultaneously and under fairly tight deadlines. Thus, have a very strong time management ability and self-organization.

Experience

Freelance Copywriter/Journalist

2019-Present

Education

University of New York, New York, NY

BA in Social Communication and Journalism

2018-2021

  • GPA 3.9
  • Held the editor-in-chief role at the university newspaper for 3 years
  • Winner of Award of Excellence by the New York News Publishers Association

Additional Activities

Since 2020, run a personal microblog about technology and IT with over 100k readers

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Pros and Cons of Using Functional Resume Format

For some applicants, a functional resume may be one of the best resume formats that can help you get more interviews and eventually get employed, but it also has its cons. Let’s look at the main advantages and disadvantages inherent in this format.

Pros:

  • This format lets you highlight your whole spectrum of skills;
  • It can be good for creatives and other jobs where skills play a larger role than professional experience;
  • It’s great for students or career changers with no experience.

Cons:

  • It’s harder to scan with a resume-scanning software than other good resume formats;
  • It hides your experience.

Combination Resume Format

The last one of the great resume formats we are going to discuss here is a combination resume. It is also often called a hybrid format. Unlike the two previous formats that focus on something specific, either your professionalism or the skills you have, the combination resume format has a bit of both.

This format combines in it the best of both. It allows you to create a perfect blend of your experience, skills, and accomplishments in a single resume.

When to Use Combination Resume Format

Just like the rest of the best resume formats we are discussing in this article, a combination resume is good for certain cases. Namely, this format will bring real benefits to you if you are a:

  • Seasoned laborer who has many years of experience but wants to emphasize the most impressive experiences.
  • Career changer who has experience in other professions and lots of transferable skills.
  • Specialist with a large employment gap who, however, has vast experience in a particular field.

Combination Resume Format Example [Text Version]

Now that we finally got to the last of the three most common formats resume, let’s take a look at the last example. Just like the two previous examples, the resume below is written for a journalist position, but now, it follows a combination resume format.

Eric Benks

Journalist

New York, NY

646-576-4005

eric.benks@gmail.com

linkedin.com/in/eric-benks

ericbenks.com


Skills Summary

Research

Able to work efficiently with different sources of information to find relevant and up-to-date information on various topics.

Writing

Experienced in writing different types of content, including press releases, blog posts, product reviews, news publications, landing pages, etc.

Proofreading and Editing

Excellent command of English grammar. Confident user of popular text editing tools such as Grammarly and advanced plagiarism checkers like Turnitin.

Time Management

Possess a very strong time management ability and self-organization. Able to work under pressure.

Experience

News Reporter

New York Post, New York, NY

2019-Present

  • Provided compelling coverage of the news from the IT, tech, and innovation fields
  • Wrote engaging digital articles for a wide audience
  • Assisted in training new journalists

Junior News Editor

New York Post, New York, NY

2016-2019

  • Collaborated with the reporting team to create high-quality news articles
  • Covered a wide range of topics
  • Assisted in managing the portal’s social networks
  • Pitched engaging story ideas

Journalist Assistant

Guardian News & Media

2015-2016

  • Assisted the journalists with research for the articles
  • Wrote small weekly stories on technology
  • Occasionally assisted with editing/proofreading of the final drafts 

Education

University of New York, New York, NY

BA in Journalism

2011-2015

  • GPA 3.9
  • Held the editor-in-chief role at the university newspaper for 3 years
  • Winner of Award of Excellence by the New York News Publishers Association

Additional Activities

Since 2020, run a personal microblog about technology and IT with over 100k readers

Pros and Cons of Using Combination Resume Format

All resume sample formats that exist today have certain benefits, as well as certain drawbacks, and a combination resume is not an exception. Let’s quickly go over the main pros and cons that can be found in this format:

Pros:

  • This resume format allows you to emphasize your vast skill set and, at the same time, indicate your experience;
  • A combination resume can help conceal employment gaps.

Cons:

  • It can be very hard to organize such a resume so that it would look good and bring real benefits;
  • Combination resumes only work for highly-specialized job seekers who already possess some experience.

How to Choose Your Perfect Resume Format?

Now you should have a better understanding of what modern resume formats are there, how they differ, as well as what pros and cons each has.

When choosing between different work resume formats, consider your unique situation:

  • If you want a resume that easily passes the applicant tracking process and highlights the diversity of your experience, then the chronological format is for you.
  • If you have no or small experience in a particular field, you can make companies want to employ you with the help of a functional resume that puts your strongest skills first.
  • And, finally, if you have a bit of both (relevant experience and a solid set of skills), the perfect option might be a combination resume.

The choice is yours! And if you are still not sure what will work for you, you can always get professional help and more tips from our career advice expert.

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