What is the Correct Format for a Resume?

Question: What is the correct format for a resume?
Answer: It depends.

This is a question that I get a lot here at Quality Resumes. The correct format for a resume is different for each situation. There are two main styles or formats of a resume: the chronological work history model and the skills-based model. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Much the way it is important to personalize your cover letter, you must personalize your resume.

Chronological Resume Format
The chronological allows a potential employer to see quickly what you have done in the past and works great for those who are well along the career path and have solid job experience in their given field. However, if you have job hoped or have employment gaps, they will stick out like a sore thumb in the chronological model.

Skills-Based Format
The skills-based format allows the writer to hone in on what they are capable of doing. Listing your skills and abilities makes the resume look impressive, especially if you are new to the work force or are in the midst of changing careers. Know what skills to put on the resume goes a long way toward creating an impressive document.

So which should you choose?

For the vast majority of job seekers the better option is the chronological format. This is what employers expect, and they are the ones you want to impress- so give them what they want. While the skills-based format does hide some flaws in your history, it is also something of a red flag. Most recruiters and HR professionals will realize why you are using this format and will zero in on the holes in your resume. If you decide you need to use it, it is best to find a professional to help.

Make up a lists of your strengths and weaknesses and see which model makes the most sense for your personal situation before deciding what is the correct format for a resume for you. One final note: once you have a solid resume make sure the format also matches your cover letter for the best presentation possible.

Still not sure what format will work best for you? Shoot me and email, or message me on Facebook. I am happy to give a little free advice.

Interested in career development & job search strategies? Then sign up for my monthly newsletter below! Not only will you get actionable advice, but you'll also receive a free resume review and a PDF of my 6 favorite articles.

Subscribe today!

* indicates required