The primary tool in a jobseeker’s toolbelt is a resume. This document gives recruiters and applicant tracking software (ATS) all the necessary information to decide whether you’re a good fit.

A resume typically outlines work experience, education level, and skills. Different types of resumes organize this information in various ways. When this document is well organized and concise, hiring managers can glean the most important details to see if they match the job description.

Depending on the circumstances, you can use different types of resumes to stand out. Your choice will reflect your industry, experience level, and the available role.

The importance of using different types of resumes

Your resume summarizes the most distilled information hiring managers must know to decide whether they’d like to interview you. This often includes your employment history, skills, and accomplishments.

Even if a friend or family member refers you for a position, recruiters will likely want to see a concise and informative resume to know you’re the right fit.

You should also always optimize your resume for the role you’re applying for by reflecting keywords used in the job description and language on the company’s website and social platforms to show you’re a good fit.

Since 63% of recruiters prefer a targeted resume, this also increases the chance you’ll get an interview.

  • First impressions matter: Your resume is the initial impression an employer gets. A well-tailored resume can make you stand out.
  • Highlight relevant skills and experience: Different jobs need different skills. The right resume type allows you to emphasize your most relevant background aspects. Even if a friend or family member refers you for a position, recruiters will likely want to see a concise and informative resume to determine whether you’re the right fit. That’s where picking the most appropriate type of resume matters.
  • Meet employer expectations: Some employers expect a particular resume type. Researching the company can help you pick the best resume type.
  • Pass applicant tracking systems (ATS): When you submit a resume online, it’s typically indexed by ATS before making it to a hiring manager or recruiter. This software searches for keywords provided by the hiring company that match the job description. If it doesn’t find them, it puts your resume in the “No” category. The wrong resume type could cause your application to be overlooked.
  • Show professionalism and attention to detail: The appropriate resume type indicates you understand professional norms. It also shows your attention to detail.

The following three resume types suit most situations, and the content is organized in a way that’s easily customizable and indexable by ATS.

 

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3 common types of resumes

There are many types of resumes and here are the three most common along with resume templates you can use to format your own.

1. The chronological resume

A chronological resume is excellent for drawing attention to past job experience. Considered the traditional resume style, its chronological format emphasizes your work history, beginning with your most recent job and working backward.

After your work history, include a skills section that itemizes technical abilities, certifications, and accomplishments, followed by an area that briefly describes your education. This type of resume works well when coupled with a stellar cover letter that highlights the experience from the resume.

Advantages

  • Highlights professional growth: This job resume category allows the hiring manager to quickly assess your career progression.
  • Promotes relevance: This resume format lets you place your most relevant work experience at the top, making it the first thing recruiters see.

Two-men-having-happy-offboarding-conversation-different-type-of-resumes

Who should use it?

Create a chronological resume if:

  • You’re applying for a job in the same field as your previous experience, as all these jobs will be relevant to the role
  • You want to highlight certain jobs, like senior positions or admirable employers
  • There are minimal-to-no career or employment gaps

Chronological resume template

Name

Phone number

Email

RESUME SUMMARY
Introduce yourself by briefly touching on your profession and why you’re applying for this new role.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Job #1:
Company
Position
Period of employment
Provide a bulleted list of 3–5 responsibilities.
Job #2:

Company

Position

Period of employment

Provide a bulleted list of 3–5 responsibilities.
Job #3:

Company

Position

Period of employment

Provide a bulleted list of 3–5 responsibilities.
EDUCATION
Degree or top level of education achieved, school name, and awards or honors received.
ADDITIONAL SKILLS
Include a bulleted list of relevant technical and soft skills.

2. The functional resume

With this resume, the skills and expertise you’ve developed over your career take center stage. Your list of achievements should take up most of the page, followed by an experience section listing past employers and your education.

Categorize your skills to make the text easier to scan and help recruiters quickly identify relevant qualifications.

Advantages

  • Spotlights what you offer: A functional resume format allows the recruiter to focus on the skills you’ve developed and what you can contribute to the company.
  • Compensates for eclectic work history: This format de-emphasizes your work history, making a lack of field experience or numerous job jumps less noticeable.

Woman-writing-name-on-cup-at-barista-role-different-type-of-resumes

Who should use it?

Create a functional resume if:

  • You’re just starting your career or have limited experience
  • You’re changing careers or industries and want to highlight soft and transferable skills
  • There are sizable career gaps in your work history

Functional resume template

Name

Phone number

Email

RESUME SUMMARY
Introduce yourself by briefly touching on your profession and why you’re applying for this new role.
RELEVANT SKILLS
Category #1:

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
  • Skill 4
  • Skill 5
Category #2:

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
  • Skill 4
  • Skill 5
Category #3:

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
  • Skill 4
  • Skill 5
WORK HISTORY
Job #1:
CompanyPosition

Period of employment

Job #2:
CompanyPosition

Period of employment

Job #3:
CompanyPosition

Period of employment

EDUCATION
Degree or top level of education achieved, school name, and awards or honors received.

3. The combination or hybrid resume

If you can’t decide between a chronological versus functional resume for your application, don’t worry — the combination resume uses both formats to create a balanced overview of your work experience and qualifications.

When creating this resume type, ensure the recruiter can spot relevant experience and skills easily by keeping the content well organized using bullet points.

Advantages

  • Is transparent: This style allows your skills and qualifications to shine while not appearing to obscure your work history.
  • Appeals to everyone: A hybrid resume assumes a neutral format that appeals to traditionalist and non-traditionalist hiring managers alike.

Hiring-manager-talking-to-woman-looking-for-job-different-type-of-resumes

Who should use it?

Create a combination resume if:

  • You want to highlight your most impressive jobs and skills in one document
  • You want to feature transferable skills in relation to your work experience

Combination resume template

Name

Phone number

Email

RESUME SUMMARY
Introduce yourself by briefly touching on your profession and why you’re applying for this new role.
TECHNICAL SKILLS
Category #1:

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
Category #2:

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Job #1:
Company
Position
Period of employment
Provide a bulleted list of 3–5 responsibilities.
Job #2:

Company

Position

Period of employment

Provide a bulleted list of 3–5 responsibilities.
EDUCATION
Degree or top level of education achieved, school name, and awards or honors received.

4 other types of resumes

While chronological, functional, and combination resumes are the most standard, some situations call for a more creative approach. Here are a few more types to suit different scenarios.

1. Infographic resume

An infographic resume combines graphics, data representations such as pie charts and bar graphs, and limited text to create a visual overview of your job history and qualifications.

While it can be a visually powerful tool, infographic-based applications have limitations. According to a survey by The Creative Group, 78% of executives prefer traditional text-based resumes over other formats. And most companies use ATS, which can’t read infographics.

Who should use it: Use this format as your primary professional resume if you work in a creative industry, like graphic design or web development, to show off your skills at in-person events or when networking. But ensure you submit a text version when applying for jobs online.

2. Profile resume

Adding a profile to your resume gives recruiters and hiring managers a high-level overview of your expertise and employee strengths. Use either a short paragraph or bullet points to create a professional summary that includes your title, years of experience, and relevant quantified accomplishments.

Customize this profile for each application by using keywords from the job posting and language that correlate with the company’s core values.

Who should use it: If you’re switching roles or industries, a profile lets you emphasize your skills and control the narrative behind a career change.

3. Mini-resume

Think of a mini-resume as a hard copy of your elevator pitch. Choose a few highlights from your resume and add them to the back of a business card along with your contact information and a link to an electronic version of the complete document.

Who should use it: If your job hunt includes job fairs or networking events, this is a quick and easy way to introduce yourself to potential employers.

4. Non-traditional resume

This format involves incorporating a video, online portfolio, professional website, or anything that creates a memorable job application. Only submit a non-traditional resume if asked for by the job ad to avoid surprising recruiters hoping for a more traditional document.

Also, ensure what you create is readable by the company’s ATS. When in doubt, upload a more conventional text-based resume with a note that links the employer to your more creative document.

Who should use it: Job applicants looking to demonstrate their creative skills and differentiate themselves from other candidates.

How to know what type of resume to use

When deciding which resume type to use, consider the following questions:

  1. What is my work history like? If you have a consistent work history in a specific field, a chronological resume might be best. However, if you have gaps in your employment or are changing careers, a functional or combination resume could be more appropriate.
  2. What skills do I want to highlight? If you have specific skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, a functional or combination resume can help you highlight these. A chronological resume can also include a skills section, but the focus is more on your work history.
  3. What is the industry norm? Some industries prefer certain resume types. For example, many corporate roles expect a traditional chronological resume, while creative roles may appreciate a more unique resume. Research your industry to understand what is expected.
  4. What does the job posting emphasize? If the job posting focuses heavily on specific skills or experiences, make sure your resume highlights these. This could influence whether a chronological, functional, or combination resume is best.
  5. Will my resume need to pass an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)? Many companies use ATS to screen resumes before a human sees them. These systems often prefer certain types of resumes and formatting. Therefore, it’s important to consider keeping your resume ATS-friendly.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all resume. The best type of resume for you depends on your individual circumstances.

Final tips for using different types of resumes

To set you off on the right foot and help you avoid the job search slump, here are a few final tips:

  • Always proofread your resume to make a professional first impression.
  • If you don’t hear back about your application within a couple of weeks, contact the company or check in with the hiring manager to follow up –– unless the job posting says not to.
  • Keep your resume clear and concise to make it easier for recruiters and ATS to skim. And remember to use fonts that are easily skimmed. 
  • Use the best resume format type for each specific job application. If you are applying to a variety of roles that are slightly different or across various industries, you may want to tweak your resume slightly to keep it relevant.

Happy-older-man-receiving-good-news-on-the-phone-different-type-of-resumes

Congrats on the new role

Before meeting you, a hiring manager only has your application materials to go on to decide whether you’re a good match. Now that you understand the different types of resumes, you can choose the best fit for every role you apply for.

You’ll be prioritizing the right information so hiring managers have everything they need to be convinced you deserve an interview.