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3 Types of Resumes and When to Use Them

types of resume

Did you know that only 20% of the people who apply for a job actually manage to score an interview?

While these numbers may seem disappointing, they highlight the importance of a great resume. Job seekers are ready to go to any length to get the attention of recruiters but the answer is simple:

A strong resume can make your application stand out.

Considering the heaps of applications recruiters get for a job opening, most companies now use talent management software for screening resumes. This means that 50% of resumes are weeded out without any recruiter ever looking at them.

The key to building a good resume is understanding the different types of resumes and when to use them. As Lana Hill, the founder of Hill Career Services LLC, says,

“The whole point is to get an interview, right? That’s the whole point of a resume.”

Click here to listen to the whole discussion on building a strong resume by our recruitment experts.

3 Types of Resumes and When to Use Them

The following are the three types of resumes you should know about.

1.     Chronological Resume

A chronological resume is perhaps the simplest and most common type of resume. As the name suggests, you need to talk about your work experience in reverse chronological order. It goes from highlighting the current or most recent job you had to the earliest one. You can use bullet points when discussing the responsibilities and skillset each job required.

Your name and contact details should be at the top of the resume so that recruiters can easily reach out to you.

Ideally, chronological resumes work great when you have worked multiple jobs. If you’re confused about the type of resume to use when applying for a job or the recruiters haven’t asked for a specific format, you can safely assume that they expect to see a chronological resume.  

2.     Functional Resume

A functional resume is recommended for college students since they are just entering the workforce and don’t have any experience. This type of resume puts your skills in the spotlight to cover for your lack of work experience. So, you’ll have a ‘professional summary’ or ‘achievements’ section at the top instead of one that talks about your work history after you’ve mentioned your name and contact information, of course.  

Functional resumes are also a go-to option for people with gaps in employment. It’s common for people to decide to stay unemployed for some time to raise their children, attend school full-time, or travel. A functional resume helps shift the focus from your work history by highlighting your skills and abilities.

In addition to this, a functional resume can be used to put your transitional skills to the forefront when you want to change careers. By focusing on what you can do, this type of resume convinces recruiters that you are qualified for the job.

3.     Combination Resume

A combination resume amalgamates the elements of a chronological and functional resume. You can start by giving your profile summary and talking about your expertise and skills. Then you move on to discuss your work experience. You must highlight the name of the company you worked with along with the year of employment in reverse chronological order.

A combination resume may be the best option for you if you are:

·         An entry-level job seeker

·         A fresh graduate

·         A worker who has worked at various jobs

·         Thinking of reentering the job market

·         Switching to another career

Building a Strong Resume

The job market has been affected due to the ongoing pandemic but companies are still hiring. So, it is a great time to enhance your skills by signing up for free or paid courses on LinkedIn, Coursera, or Udemy. Meanwhile, focus on improving your emotional intelligence and polishing your soft skills, including team building, leadership, and communication.

The best way to highlight your skills is by using active verbs. Make sure you showcase your achievements along with any big projects you’ve worked on. Also, focus on keeping the length of resume right. For most applicants, one page is ideal. However, if you have more than 7 years of experience, a two-page resume will be fine. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how extensive, unique, and impressive your work history and achievements.    

Is It Necessary to Mention Your Education on the Resume?

Many people think that the education section becomes irrelevant when you have a lot of work experience. It’s not entirely true.

You may remove the year that you graduated in if you have over 15 years of experience but the education section is always important. As Lana Hill says,

“You always want to have your education on your resume because it is a qualifier. It is one of the things on the job description that they say ‘must-have’.”

Recruiters need to see the education section, whether you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Also, mention what your major was. It helps them see that you meet their requirement. However, if you have graduated from college, you don’t need to put high school data because high school is a requirement to go to college anyway.

How Do You Put Immeasurable Work Experience on the Resume?

If you have measurable work experience, it definitely needs to be highlighted on your resume. If not, you must find a way to show how you took action at your job. The best way to go about this is by using action verbs to show that you had an impact in some way and created value by doing something at a particular job. Try searching for these words based on your industry or the job description of the role you’re applying for.  

Here’s what Lana Hill had to say about showcasing her immeasurable work experience.

“As a recruiter, in the beginning, I didn’t have measurable actions or measurable results yet, so I had to tell them like ‘creating a spreadsheet so I could be more organized’ or something like that. Pulling from the stuff that I did on a regular basis and putting action verbs behind it.”

Land a Job by Using the Right Type of Resume

You should begin by researching a company properly and evaluating the role you’re applying for. Also, take your work experience into consideration before deciding which type of resume will best showcase your skills. Putting a little thought before sending out your resume to a company will maximize your chances of landing an interview for a job.    


To find out what recruitment experts think of different types of resumes and when they should be used, don’t forget to listen to our webinar. The insider tips and insights shared by our experts will help you build a strong resume and you’ll be able to set yourself apart from other candidates when you apply for a job. 

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