Resume Formats to Use to Land the Role of Your Dreams

Simple, yet definitely subtle–this is the best way to describe the impact of your resume format. As job hunting becomes even more competitive, having an impressive resume isn’t enough. It needs to be well-written and well-formatted to beat the applicant tracking system.

A modern resume needs to be polished and compact. It also needs to be easily viewed. If a resume manages to beat the ATS with resume buzzwords, a recruiter still wouldn’t read through more than two pages of a lengthy document. This is why using a simple yet effective format is essential.

In this article, we go over popular resume formats and when you should be using them:

Popular and Simple Resume Formats to Use

There are three simple resume formats that both recruiters and applicants find the easiest to use: chronological, functional, and combination. These three are also the most common submissions in recent years. But when and how do you use them?

chronological resume format on table with laptop and office equipment


The most common structure and the ideal resume format for experienced candidates is the chronological resume, commonly referred to as the reverse-chronological format. The work history part of a chronological resume highlights your listing of current and previous positions, beginning with the most recent.

It is best used by applicants with rich work experience when they apply for a senior role in the same industry. Starting with your current role, the chronological resume aims to highlight your experience in a role or industry. For recruiters, this is especially beneficial since the roles alone will let them have an estimate of your abilities. Unfortunately, a chronological resume may not be the best option for applicants with gaps in their employment or when you’re switching industries.

A chronological resume format has the following sections:

  1. Resume Summary or Objective
  2. Current Job Title
  3. Work Experience
  4. Skills
  5. Education

An important thing to remember when using this resume format is that it is not a CV. Limit the content to relevant work experience and eliminate anything that’s too far back. Make sure to highlight achievements you’ve done in your listed positions as that will be what recruiters focus on.


For functional resumes, work functions, skills, and abilities that enable you to accomplish a role are the main focus. To highlight all of your qualifications and experience that match the job description, this is the most appropriate format. It's also a great option for first-time job seekers and college or entry-level applicants.

Some experts discourage the use of functional resumes, arguing that it can be quite confusing for recruiters. Another problem this simple resume format may have is that it isn’t usually optimized for ATS. However, this doesn’t mean that functional resumes are bound to be useless–in fact, it really depends on the job!

When creating a functional resume, make sure to highlight skills. Feature both soft and technical skills, especially if you’re a recent graduate or shifting industries. Transferable skills should be the highlight of this resume format.

smiling female job applicant in front of two recruiters


To settle the debate between chronological vs functional resume, the combination or hybrid format is simply that–a combination of the two previously mentioned resume formats.

The main purpose is to provide a concise overview of your skills in bullet form, each with supporting examples from your previous achievements and work experience.

Enumerate your abilities based on their relevance to the position you're applying for, and include up to four bullet points highlighting your career accomplishments that demonstrate your proficiency in each category. Focus on measurable and quantifiable results.

The combination resume format is great for a large variety of roles and industries, but it’s especially useful for job-seekers that are shifting industries for mid-level positions, applicants with noticeable job gaps, and those that want to highlight and contextualize their skills.

How to Format a Resume

Formatting a resume can be quite complicated. On one hand, you want to highlight your skills, experience, and accomplishments. On the other hand, you want to keep your resume sleek, compact, and aesthetically pleasing. Thankfully, you can do both without having to resort to rocket science calculations.

Whether you’re creating your resume from scratch or simply revamping an old one, here are a few rules to consider:

Stick to one page.

There is no need for your resume to be more than two pages unless you have five or more years of relevant work experience.

hand of a man holding magnifying glass on paper

Pick a legible font at pt 11 or 12.

Your resume isn’t word art–nor is it a novel of 500 pages. While you are free to express your creativity in the resume format, it’s best to limit it with practical and professional options. For fonts, pt 11 or 12 makes reading through a resume easier. Pick commanding yet sleek fonts such as Ubuntu, Helvetica, Roboto, or Overpass for a sleek and powerful look.

Standardize readable parts in your resume.

For instance, your job history should be referred to as simply "work history" and not in any other way. Be consistent with this, as well as other formatting (such as date formatting) in your resume.

Use bullet points.

When listing down work duties, academic information, and work accomplishments, use bullet points to make your resume easier to read. Take it a notch higher and hire professional resume writing services to ensure that your bullet points are optimized and filled with buzzwords.

Maintain adequate line spacing.

The content on your resume shouldn't be too cramped or floating, otherwise it will look extremely unpolished.

Always save a PDF version of your resume.

It's the most secure option because it ensures that no matter what device opens your resume, its layout will remain untouched. Never, ever submit a JPG or PNG of your resume; only save it as MS Word if the job you're applying for specifically asks you to.

Beating the ATS with Resume Optimization

Even with the catchy subject lines to use when submitting a resume, many applications don't even get to a hiring manager because of the ATS. That's why beating the ATS is such a huge deal and guarantees an advantage. After all, if a bot discards your resume, then the people who are hiring won't give you the attention you require.

In general, an ATS program assesses your resume and determines whether it is relevant enough for the hiring manager to look at it at the beginning of the hiring process.

Larger businesses that get thousands of applications everyday initially employed ATS software as a way to weed out unnecessary candidates. Nonetheless, research indicates that most businesses now use ATS to assess applicants.

No matter what resume format you use, your applications will be subject to an ATS. This is why it’s important to optimize your resume to beat the software. That being said, maximizing it can be quite easy when you know what to do.

Here are some practices that you can employ to beat the ATS:

  1. Put your contact information at the top of your resume.
  2. Your resume should contain keywords and specific terms from the job description.
  3. Do not add graphics, charts, and images to your resume.
  4. Keep a PDF format of your resume.

 female job applicant looking at camera while holding resume near three recruiters

Maximize Your Chances and Optimize Your Resume Format with Resumeble

There are many resume formats and their corresponding examples out there on the internet. At this point, it’s easy to create a file that looks similar to what you see–but it’s another thing altogether to create an effective resume. This is where our services come in.

At Resumeble, we pair you with highly skilled and experienced resume writers to help you write, format, and submit an optimized resume to land the role of your dreams. Work with us today.

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  • 300+: average number of applications one corporate job opening posted online receives 
  • 3%: number of sent resumes that result in interviews 

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