Writing a perfect resume

Writing a perfect resume

The key goal of any resume or CV is telling a brief but comprehensive story of who you are, what you are capable of, and what you have done. And this story should impress hiring managers because there are tens or hundreds of candidates in the same position, each of which may also have a set of impressive skills and knowledge.

One of the most important parts of creating a good resume is choosing the correct format tailored to your needs and qualification.  Unfortunately, not many people devote time to choosing a resume format and often end up with boring or even harmful resumes.

You should remember: one resume format cannot fit every goal.

Today we will give you all the necessary information on different formats, which you can use to improve your existing resume or create a brand-new one. After reading the article, you’ll know how to choose the most suitable format, what sections a good resume should look like, and what is the best option for those who lack work experience.

And if you still don’t know which way to go, just get familiar with a resume example in 2020 and draw inspiration for crafting your own story!

Reverse chronological resume

This is definitely the most popular resume format for those who are looking for a job. Actually, it’s also the simplest format and the one, which hiring managers read the most. Just imagine, reverse-chronological resumes make up 80% of all the CVs sent.

When using this format, the experience section gets most of the space and highlight, while items are listed from the freshest to the oldest. The common structure places the experience section above education and skills.

Here are the things to include to the reverse-chronological resume:

  • Contact details;
  • Summary of a resume;
  • Professional title;
  • Work experience;
  • Education;
  • Skills;
  • Additional parts.

Reverse chronological is a great chance to show your solid experience and academic background. However, it may not be the best option if you have employment gaps and are not able to explain them in a professional manner.

Functional resume format

The functional format is also known as a skill-based resume. It is not so popular, and many recruiters are still not familiar with the format, which doesn’t give much information on work experience.

Instead, it devotes space to the relevant skills and achievements. This format is valuable for those who are choosing a completely new career or don’t have work experience. If you look at a functional resume example here are sections you’ll find:

  • Contact details;
  • Resume summary;
  • Professional title;
  • Skills;
  • Additional skills or achievements;
  • Work experience;
  • Education.

As you see, a functional resume is good for beginners or those who have chosen a brand-new field.

Combination resume format

As you get from the title, a combination resume is a mixture of both: a reverse chronological and a functional resume. It took the best from two types and devoted equal attention to work experience and skills.

Sections of a combination resume are:

  • Contact details;
  • Skills;
  • Work experience;
  • Education.

However, the layout of this format is quite flexible, and you can adjust it depending on the goal: career change, big gap between two jobs, etc.

Keep in mind that not depending on what format you decided to choose, you should try and stick to one page. However, if you have impressive, relevant work experience, it is possible to have it two pages long.

We recommend getting familiar with a resume example to make sure that the chosen format meets your initial goals.

Choosing the best format for a good resume

Now you are familiar with three types of resume formats and can start your way to creating a good resume in 2020. However, if you are still puzzled about which one to choose, we are ready to help you select the one you need.

As it was already mentioned, your main goal is to choose the best resume format for your particular goal. Remember that work experience is not the only factor to keep in mind when choosing a format.

You should also pay attention to a position, firm, and even industry that you are working in (or willing to enter).

Formatting is one of the ways of tailoring a resume to a certain company or job, and a great layout will help with catching the attention of a hiring manager. Below you can compare all three formats and pick the necessary one. Best resume advice: read the instructions very attentively!

Reverse chronological format is best for:

  • People with solid experience;
  • People who are looking for a position in a similar field;
  • People who don’t have big work history gaps;
  • People who are working in a traditional field (for example, finance, accounting, engineering, etc.).
  • The functional format is suitable for:
  • People with limited work experience;
  • People, who are making a filed change and are entering an unrelated industry;
  • People with huge gaps in history;
  • People who are looking for creative and skill-based positions (for example, computer programming, design, etc.).

The combination format is good for:

  • People with solid work experience or skills, who are willing to cross industries;
  • People with short employment gaps;
  • People who can boast a wide range of experience and skills.

As you have probably noticed, there are a few overlaps in the descriptions above. But it’s not surprising considering that every resume should be individual and may not fall into a particular category. Apart from following the guidelines above and getting familiar with examples, we recommend listening to yourself and making a list of features and skills that you want to highlight in the first place.

General tips on writing a great resume

You are only one step away from a perfect 2020 CV. Let us share the most popular general resume tips that will help you not depending on what format you will choose:

  1. Design is important.  There should be enough white space with a minimum of .7-inch margins. Make sure that the font size is at least 11 pt. Don’t use decorated and colorful templates because they are outdated and show nothing but a bad taste;
  2. Make it easy for the hiring manager to reach you and ask for clarification or land an interview. Leave contact information on top of the resume;
  3. Boast your skills. Don’t make hiring managers look for the necessary information – craft a table of your hard and soft skills to make this section visible. These skills should match the job offer. If you doubt, scan the vacancy and detect main keywords;
  4. Make a list of work experience. If you have a solid work history, include every company you have worked for: its title, dates, and key responsibilities and achievements that you had there;
  5. Always quantify the experience. When possible, you should use specific points and numbers – they help recruiters see the context of your skills. Thus, you show how you were able to contribute to the company;
  6. Include side positions. There is no need to worry about including irrelevant information. You can still use it to show the qualities and skills that you want to highlight. This is especially useful for those who don’t have impressive experience;
  7. Indicate your grade. Most of the job offerings require certifications and degrees, so you need to list yours. Keep in mind that GPA is necessary only if you have just graduated and don’t have any college degree;
  8. Other details. You can add an extra Additional Experience section to your resume. Here you can mention volunteering experience, NGOs, awards, and even interesting activities that you enjoy;
  9. Stay brief. Your resume should be maximum 1-2 pages long;
  10. Get familiar with a resume example of a similar field to know what to write about.

We are sure that your 2020 resume will be good and memorable; you just need to devote some time and energy!