There are several basic types of resumes you can use to apply for job openings. You can choose to write a chronological, functional, combination, or a targeted resume. Each resume type is used for different purposes. Therefore, when deciding which type of resume to use, you have to think about your current employment circumstances.
Here's an overview of each type of resume, advice on when to use which one, and examples.
A chronological resume starts by listing your work history, with the most recent position listed first. Below your most recent job, you list your other jobs in reverse chronological order.
Employers typically prefer this type of resume because it's easy to see what jobs you have held and when you have worked at them. This is the most common resume type.
This type of resume works well for job seekers with a strong, solid work history. If you are starting your career, or if you are changing career fields, you might consider a different resume type.
Example: Chronological Resume
A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience, rather than on your chronological work history. Instead of having a “work history” section at the top of your resume, you might have a “professional experience” or “accomplishments” section that lists various skills you have developed over the years.
A functional resume also sometimes includes a resume summary or headline at the top, which details a person’s skills and achievements. A functional resume might not include one’s employment history at all or might have a concise list of work history at the bottom of the resume.
Functional resumes are used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history. It is also useful for people who are new to the workforce, have limited work experience, or who have a gap in their employment.
By highlighting skills rather than work history, you can emphasize how you are qualified for the job.
Example: Functional Resume
A combination resume is a mix between a chronological resume and a functional resume. At the top of the resume is a list of one’s skills and qualifications. Below this is one’s chronological work history. However, the work history is not the focus of the resume and typically does not take up much space on the resume.
With this type of resume, you can highlight the skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for, as well as provide your chronological work history. After all, most employers want to see your chronological work history, even if that history is not very extensive.
This kind of resume helps you highlight what makes you the best fit for the job, while still giving the employer all the information he or she wants.
Example: Combination Resume
Infographic resumes include graphic design elements in addition to or instead of text. A traditional resume uses text to list a candidate's work experience, education, and skills, while an infographic resume uses layout, color, design, formatting, icons, and font styling to organize content.
Example: Infographic Resume
A Robert Half survey reports that 78% of employers prefer traditional resumes to infographics, even for creative roles.
Resume with Profile/Summary
A resume with a profile section includes a concise summary of an applicant’s skills, experiences, and goals as they relate to a specific job. This summary (typically no more than a couple of sentences long) helps candidates “sell” themselves to the company to which they are applying.
Adding a profile is helpful for almost any applicant. If you have extensive experience, a profile can concisely explain that experience to the hiring manager right away. If you have limited work experience, a profile can help you highlight the skills that you do have.
Example: Resume With a Profile
You can also add a headline, which is a brief phrase that summarizes why you are an ideal candidate for the job, to your resume.
A targeted resume is a resume that is customized to specifically highlight the experience and skills you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for. It takes more work to write a targeted resume than to click to apply with your existing resume. However, it's well worth the effort, especially when applying for jobs that are a perfect match for your qualifications and experience.
Example: Targeted Resume
Try to write a targeted resume for every job. Employers can easily see when you submit a generic resume, rather than thinking about why you are qualified for that specific job.
A nontraditional resume is a unique version of your resume that may include photos, graphics, images, graphs, and other visuals. It might be an online resume, or a physical resume with infographics, as mentioned above. It could also be a video or a resume on a social networking website.
Nontraditional resumes are ideal for people in creative fields, who want to demonstrate their ability to create visually engaging designs or to create web pages. It can be a good way for a job candidate to stand out from the crowd in professions like design, web design, journalism, and more.
A mini-resume contains a brief summary of your career highlights and qualifications. It only contains the information that relates to the position you are applying for or the industry you would like to work in.
In most cases, your traditional resume will be appropriate. A mini-resume, however, can be useful at job fairs or career networking events when you're meeting with many people and want to leave them with something more than just a business card. You can also use a mini-resume when you're networking and would like your contact to pass on your information to a hiring manager or recruiter.