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3 Best Resume Formats for Fresher and Experienced

Introduction

A resume is not merely formal documentation submitted as an application to a position that lists the various qualifications of the candidate. It is more than that, a resume is essentially a single-sided interview, before the actual interview for the job,  in which the crucial questions of the employer such as – ” Why hire this guy,” “What are his skills,” “What are his achievements that highlight his character?”, “What experience does he have?” and other related questions.

A good resume can be the difference between a candidate landing the job and a candidate being rejected for the job, even if both candidates have roughly the same qualifications. In the post-pandemic scenario of 2021, it is even more essential for a candidate to have the best resume format for job application. With that in mind, let us see the 3 best resume formats for 2021.

Best Resume Formats for Job Applications

Chronological Resume

Perhaps the most popular Resume format since long ago, the Chronological resume is the best resume format for experienced candidates since it prioritizes the past work experiences of the candidate more than the educational qualification of the candidates. However, for the same reason, this format should not be opted by the freshers. The template is simple, and one just needs to list his work resume in the reverse order, with the most recent being on top.

Chronological Resume Format

The typical template for the chronological resume is something like this:

Let us take up each section of the format one by one, in the order of their appearance:

Name and Contact Information

First and foremost, mention the name of the candidate at the top and the ways that can be used to contact him, such as the phone number of the candidate, email of the candidate, mailing address, and other details. While mentioning these details, make sure that the contact information mentioned is private to the applicant, i.e., do not use the email used for another business or phone number used for another business as it would be highly unprofessional. Also, make sure that the email and the phone number mentioned are active.

Summary and Objective

Next to be mentioned after name and contact information are the summary of the work experience and objective for sending the resume.

As for the summary, one should mention his best work skills or work experiences that make him suitable for the job. Also, simultaneously do mention the post you are applying for. Now, study the example given in the format.

“An exceptionally organized and friendly dental assistance with 3+ Years of successful experience working with the dental office clients”

It is clear that the above resume is for the post of dental assistance. Here the qualities of the candidate  – organized and friendly aren’t just randomly chosen but are the most appropriate ones for the job.  Ask yourself – What is the job of a dental assistant? – “To support the dentist and deal with the customers” and the qualities listed: ‘Organized and friendly,’ do just that. Now, substitute that quality for “Hardworking or detail-oriented,” and the section won’t be as attractive.

Also, note how aptly the experience of the candidate has been mentioned in the section. This is another detail that makes the resume format the resume format for experienced candidates as the candidate can mention his experience at the top and which is sure to grab the employer’s attention. 

One should try to mold his objectives and career highlights into one or two statements for this section as per the post applied.

Professional History

The next section to be covered is the candidate’s work history, with listings done in reverse chronological order. The listings should not be numbered but should be in bullet points or headings. The details to be included in each work experience are:

  • Name of the company working for
  • Duration of the job (in Month, Year format)
  • Post worked at
  • Highlights of the job and/or the skills learned

The last point is, particularly of higher priority. One should avoid listing mundane sounding statements as the job highlights, such as “Job role included cold calling customers in selling the product.” Just try to spin the statement in such a way that contributes something to the personal growth of the candidate as well as to the employing company, for example, the previous example can be written as – ” Job included interacting with the prospective customers, briefing them about the products offered by the company and securing sales for the company.” However, suppose the role involved is technical or requires considerable skills. In that case, it can be listed as it is without any sugar coating, such as “Ensuring that the company servers run without any breakdown.”

Educational History

This section details the educational qualifications of the candidate. It can be a Degree achieved by the candidate, any certification achieved by the candidate, or any professional qualification. Remember to always place the qualification needed by the job role on the top of the section and then proceed with the rest of the qualifications chronologically. However, if one wants, he can also list the needed qualification in the skills section as done in the sample above.

Skills and abilities

Here the skills most relevant to the job are featured. The skills included should be practical and soft skills (communication, interaction, and others). In the sample above, ‘Clean and prepare the treatment room” are the practical skills whereas, “Answer common Questions” is the soft skill.

The order of Educational history and Skills can be revered, but include name and contact info, summary and objective, and the work history in the same order of their appearance.

When to use Chronological Resume format

A chronological resume is the best resume format for anyone who has continuous work experience as well as an advancing career path at each step. Candidates having more than 2 Years of experience in the same field in which they are applying should always use this format. On the flip side, candidates with huge employment history gaps that are not justified by any educational or professional qualification should avoid using this template as it only highlights their inconsistent employment. Also, freshers, candidates with a year or two of experience, candidates with a history of working across several unrelated fields, and candidates looking to switch job fields should not choose this template.

Pro and Cons of Chronological Resume format

ProsCons
Highly preferred format by employers for hiring

 

Highlight one’s experience, skills, and career progression

Unjustified employment gaps are highlighted as well

 

Not fitting if one has low experience or none at all

Not fitting if one’s career is spread across multiple fields

Samples of Chronological Resume format

A few diverse and intriguing samples off the Chronological Resume format are given below-

 

Functional Resume Format

The second best resume format for job application is Functional Resumes, which focuses more on the candidate’s relevant skills for the job than the work experience of the candidate. The candidate’s skills and abilities needed to perform the job functions are highlighted in this resume, and hence the format is aptly named ‘Functional Resume.’

The typical template for the Functional resume is something like this:

 

Let us take up each section of the format one by one, in the order of their appearance:

Name and contact information

Similar to that shared in the previous format – Chronological Resume Format

Summary and Objective

Unlike the Chronological Resume format, it is not necessary to mention the years of experience in this section. The candidate’s primary objective should be to briefly summarize all his abilities and skills required for the job in an attractive manner. Another piece of advice to the candidates is to really work at the ‘attractive’ manner part as the Summary is the first section noticed by the employer.

The objectives listed in summary should be desirable for a company and related to the post one is applying for. For example, look at the above sample where “Building strong customer relationships, driving brand equality and…” is listed as the objective, which is highly desirable for a company. Instead, if the objectives were drab or self-centered, they would be as effective as the example in the sample. Objectives such as – “Working towards achieving my dream” or “Doing best for my growth” or “I love working in a team” or similar aren’t of much value in the eyes of the employer. Similarly, any vague objective such as ” working hard for the company,” “Giving best for the company,” ” Growing with Company” should be avoided. Instead, one should be specific about what he helps the company to achieve. Lines such as – “Strengthen the customer base,” “Ensuring that the product quality is maintained across the outlets,” “Ensuring that the deadlines are always met,” etc., can have a better impact on the employer.

Skills (grouped by theme)

The following section covers the skills of the candidate. Although one can list his skills in bullet points or in a paragraph, grouping them by theme is widely regarded as a good option. As given in the sample above, skills should be organized under different headings and then listed either in a paragraph style or in a passage style. The most popular grouping themes include Technical Skills (working with software, a process, programming language, or other technical skills), Soft skills (communication, public speaking, and motivator, etc.), Project management (backend processes, contract overseer, auditor, etc.) and other skills.

Professional Experience

In contrast to the chronological format, the work history of the candidate in this format must be listed in brief. Ideally, the work history should only include the name of the employing company, the job role, and the duration worked there. If the candidate wants, he can include a maximum of one or two lines for each job, describing his job role. The work history can be in reverse chronological order (Latest to earliest or in chronological order (earliest to latest)

Educational History

This section should be treated the same as in the Chronological format. Like the previous format, remember to place the qualification mandated for the job role on the top of the section and then proceed with the rest of the qualifications in a chronological manner.

When to use Functional Resume format

The functional resume format is best suitable for anyone with no employment history, making a functional resume the best resume format for freshers. A fresher functional resume is also best suited for someone with a long employment gap or someone with multiple employment gaps in their resume. Similarly, anyone looking to change in the employment field is a better fit for a functional resume than a chronological resume. The format focuses more on the candidate’s skill for the job than on his work history in a different field.

Pro and Cons of Functional Resume format

ProsCons
● Probably the best resume format for freshers

 

● Highlight one’s skills, specially the skills transferable across jobs or industries

● Great format for listing a wide range of skill set

● Format is not fit for companies seeking to hire highly experienced professionals

 

● Not fitting for candidates wishing to show their consistent career development and list the achievements at the previous job.

●  Automated Resume filters such as Application Tracking Systems might face difficulty processing the resume as a result of which the resume might not be given due importance.

Samples of Functional Resume format

A few samples highlighting the arrangement of sections and how information should be represented in those sections are given below –

Combination Resume Format

The last of the three best resume formats covered in this article is a mix of the Chronological Resume and Functional Resume formats. It combines the Chronological format’s weightage on the candidate’s experience with the Functional Resume’s focus on the candidate’s skills. The result is a bit long but highly well-detailed resume that focuses equally on the experience and the skills gained by the candidate.

The Combination Resume Format is flexible because the candidate has a choice to pick any one of the two sections – Work History and Skills, to be on top of the other section. If the candidate has more than 5 Years of work experience in the same or different fields, he should prioritize the work section over the Skills section. If he feels that his skills are better suited for the job, he should prioritize the Skills and abilities section.

The proper format of the combination format is as following –

Name and contact information of the candidate

The section is similar to the sections of the previous formats.

Summary

This section, too, should be treated as similar to the other sections. However, the candidates switching jobs should list the skills gained from the previous jobs and skills gained through qualifications that can be useful to the employing company.

Skills and abilities

List the skills required for the job applied to on the top with slight hints as to how these skills could benefit the employer. The skills gained from the previous jobs should also be listed.

Professional Experience

The professional work history of the candidate as elaborated in the Chronological Format

Education

Listing of all the educational and professional accreditations of the candidate

Awards

A combination resume also focuses on the awards gained by the candidate. The awards relevant to the job applied for should be given importance and thus placed at the top of the section.

When to use Combination Resume format

The combination format is perhaps the best resume format for experienced candidates looking to switch job roles or job fields as it highlights both the experience and the skills of the candidate. The format is also better for anyone who has skills or work history which are not directly relevant to the position applied by him. For example, a candidate having 5+ Years of experience in the ‘Front end of the website development’ applying for the post of ‘Full-stack Developer,’ this format helps him to highlight his transferable skills (i.e., Knowledge of computer languages) and work experience in that language that can be used in Front-end

Pro and Cons of Functional Resume format

ProsCons
  • Highlight one’s skills as wells as the practical applications of those skills (work history)
  • Elaborates skills and the experiences of the candidate in detail
  •  Not a good fit for freshers or candidates with low experience
  • The format is given low priority by the automatic resume filtering systems but is preferred by any human resume reviewer

Samples of Combination Resume format 

A few samples highlighting the arrangement of sections and how information should be represented in those sections are given below –

 

Summing Up

There are many more resume formats other than these three, but these three formats are widely preferred over all of them because of their simplicity and familiarity. Most of the ‘big name’ employers are using automatic resume filtering mechanisms to filter through the vast number of resumes sent to them daily. The three resume formats – Chronological, Functional, and Combination can be easily understood and passed to higher levels by such  ‘bots’ (automated systems). A single fact makes any of the three formats the best resume format for 2021. After all, any undelivered (unpassed) format is an unselected format. So, go on ahead, pick any one of the three and march forward in your career.

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