I've searched all over Google, and there are so many types of resume. Why there are so many different formats?

Also, could someone tell me which format is the correct one?

  • There really aren't that many styles of resume. Most people list their jobs reverse chronologically listing the tasks they performed and the skills they acquired along the way. It's really not that complicated. – pi31415 Nov 28 '14 at 12:26

Choose the format you like and just get your resume written up. Having said that:

  1. The one incorrect format is the format where you don't include your skills, work experience and education. If you are new on the job market, then your education gets listed first. Eventually, as you gain more experience and a more extensive skills set, you may tweak the order in which you list education, skills set and work experience.

  2. Your resume should be scannable - this means plain white paper and no fancy graphics because these fancy graphics will throw the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) off-track

  3. Use the chronological format not the functional format for your resume. Sending functional resumes could be justifiable in the days before resumes were entered in databases but no more. You won't be making friends with HR if they have a hard time linking your achievements with for whom you worked and when you worked. You can present copies of your resume in the functional format at interviews but you should have on file your resume in the chronological format.

  4. Your resume should be designed to be read through in 30 seconds or less. This means no fancy words, no convoluted phrase construction, no sentences with double meaning.

  5. Get into the habit of putting your resume on a USB stick. That way, if you need to execute an instant update or you need to email a resume on the fly from some other computer, you can get it done.

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  • Some times a functional targeted CV is better than the traditional one especially for the more experienced candidate. – Pepone Nov 28 '14 at 21:29
  • @Pepone If a functional resume brings better focus on the candidate's qualifications, then of course, the functional resume makes sense. But I am not sure HR likes that format. I am thinking of the functional resume as complementary documentation to the chronological resume rather than a replacement for it. You really want to do two things: (1) keep HR and possibly the management, happy; (2) get the job. Of course, getting the job is how you keep yourself happy - I did say that you want to keep everybody happy and that includes you :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Nov 28 '14 at 22:17

There are many different types of resume because there are many different types of job.... a resume suitable for a CEO of a multinational corporation would be entirely unsuitable when applying to an educational course or position with a small local non-profit organisation.

The correct resume depends on what you're applying for, but roughly

  • An academic CV for education courses or research positions (emphasizing previous education)
  • A skills based CV for skills based jobs - eg Software Developer and similar (emphasizing the skills you have)
  • An experience based CV (emphasizing your previous work experience) for jobs that rely on personal experience, not directly on skills
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  • I'd add that for skills based resume, especially IT related, definitely include links to personal projects, portfolio, certifications and anything that would help the employer preview your knowledge level, skills and work prior to the interview itself. – Nat Naydenova Nov 28 '14 at 16:20

Resumes are personal reflections of you, as a person, and the skills and experience you have to offer.

There could no more be a single format for a resume than a single format for the clothes you wear! Just like your clothes, choose a format that you are comfortable with and that you think will show you off in the best (realistic) light possible.

A good rule of thumb for choosing a format is to find a resume from someone successful in a role that is similar to the roles you'd like to apply for, and use their resume as a guideline. They were probably successful for a reason.

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