What Are The 3 Types of Resume Formats?

The Prepared Resume: What are the 3 types of Resume Formats

You may know this but there are different types of resume formats and there are 3 widely used resume formats. You may be wondering: What are the three main types of resume formats? If you own my ebook on Acing Your Resume, you already know the answer to the question.

Crafting a resume is a common challenge for many people. It is daunting for job-seeking individuals who want to create a document that effectively and visually represents them. Using different resume formats depends on the industry, company, and your education, experience, and skills. The following are three most common types of resume formats.

Three Types of Resume Formats

A well-structured and organized resume highlights your experience and skills to hiring managers and potential employers. When you choose the correct format for your resume, it will increase your hiring chances. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure your resume reflects your most recent skills and experiences.

One item to note before we look at the different resume formats: Regardless of your resume format, if your bullet points are bad, you resume is going to be bad and the format does not matter. So first, ensure you have crafted bullet points perfectly. If you need help with your bullet points, read this article about crafting your bullet points. Next, let's look at the three specific types of resume formats.


Chronological is one of the most important and common types of resume formats. It lists your education, experience, and skills in reverse chronological order, focusing on your most recent work experience and dates. The chronological format is a practical way to start writing your resume from the start with your current work. That way, employers can easily remember from current to less recent work experiences. A chronological resume is:

  • Easy to read
  • Widely accepted resume format
  • Perfect for people with a steady work history
  • An itemized list of work history and job positions

On the other hand, it is one of the types of resume formats that may not be ideal if your work history is inconsistent and messy. Most would likely counsel a job seeker to not use this format if you have gaps in work years or seek a career change. (If you do have gaps on your resume and need to know how to handle them, check out my post here.)


Functional is one of the most practical types of resume formats. It represents your experience and skills without outlining them chronologically. Instead, you create this type of resume based on your experience and skills. Ensure you minimize your career history to a short detailed list of company names, dates worked, and the position held.

You can use this format to combine your skills gained in various areas. The purpose is to make you experience appear as substantial as possible. The format includes all types of experiences, paid employment, volunteer works, and student activities. It can often include classroom work, project work, work experience, and social organization.

A functional resume is an excellent option when you may not have the most robust career history but have excellent skills. The format minimizes work history to the bottom of the document while focusing on skills that you have perfected. Besides, the resume format is:

  • Excellent for beginners and new job seekers
  • Useful for people with no or little career history
  • An excellent format if you have been away from a career or the workforce for quite some time and are re-entering
  • It outlines your transferable skills that apply to different workforces
  • Is a practical option for older job roles and essential for applicants who want a career change

I do have to say that a functional resume is not always appropriate because employers do not always receive it well. Occasionally, employers think that a functional resume is created because the job applicant is trying to “hide something.” Therefore, you have to write carefully when considering or using this format. Because many online resume application systems require a timeline of your employment (especially now with the popularity of Applicant Tracking Systems), it is challenging to use this format for a majority of job applications. 


There are various types of resume formats but the best formats are often a blend of the best features of each type. That is what is referred to as a combination (or hybrid format) resume. The combination type format begins with a functional summary of your most relevant qualifications, abilities, skills, and work experience. It outlines a chronological employment history and supports the summary.

This resume is an excellent option for you if you want to use a functional format and outline your education, experience, and skills. At the same time, it is a practical resume format for people who want to de-emphasize their employment dates.  Use the combination resume format because:

  • Employers widely accept it
  • An excellent tools for highlighting information chronologically with a focus on:
    • Specific skills
    • Experience
    • Education
  • A helpful resume format to tailor information to a specific job posting
  • An excellent choice when you have gaps in employment history
  • A format that can justify your career change

Do NOT use the combination resume type if your potential employer wants you to outline the exact dates of your employment. A combination resume is one of the most critical types of resume formats for many people. However, it repetitively showcases your skills when applying to different positions. It is usually longer than functional and chronological formats.


To recap: There are three main types of resume formats: chronological, functional, and combination formats. Most companies consider these three types as main resume formats, making them widely acceptable within all industries. Choose a resume format that best suits your educational background, work experience, and skills. At the same time, cater any job application per the potential employer’s preferred format. Good luck on your job search!

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