The 6 Types of Resumes (+ Which One Fits You Best)

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September 11, 2023
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19
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You know, a professional resume is more than just a list—it's a way to position yourself as the right fit for a role. 

There are actually six types of resumes to consider—each one designed to highlight experience and skills in a different way. 

Understanding these resume formats and choosing the right one for your industry, experience, and personal strengths can elevate your qualifications and present your career journey in the best possible light.

3 key takeaways

  • The six different types of resumes and their benefits
  • Which resume format is best suited for your industry
  • Creating a professional resume with Teal’s AI Resume Builder

Teal Note: Unless you’re a student, recent graduate, or pivoting careers, a chronological resume is the best way to showcase your career journey in a straightfoward, easily recognizable way.

1. Chronological resume

The most common (and most preferred) resume format is the chronological resume. 

As its name suggests, this resume lays out your work experience in reverse chronological order. Meaning your most recent job takes the top spot, and the rest follow in descending order.

Key industries: Fields like finance, law, and healthcare favor this format, but it's versatile enough to work for most sectors. It's a hit among recruiters and hiring managers, as it offers a clear view of your career trajectory, highlighting consistent growth and dedication.

Formatting specifics: Start with your contact details and a concise resume summary. Next, list your work experience, with the job title, company name, location, and the dates you were employed. 

Beneath each role, outline key achievements. Conclude with your education, certifications, and any relevant skills or tools you're proficient in.

Why it's a good option: The chronological resume format is straightforward and intuitive, making it easy for employers to see your professional experience. If you've had a steady career without many gaps and you're staying within the same industry, this format best showcases your expertise and progression.

Benefits of a chronological resume

  • Clarity and cohesiveness: This format provides a clear roadmap of your career journey. For readers, it's like flipping through a well-organized storybook where they can easily trace the main character's progression.
  • Immediate insights: A chronological resume's structure lets hiring managers immediately gauge your recent roles, responsibilities, and growth—all vital insights.
  • Industry favorability: As mentioned earlier, several industries prefer the chronological format. It adheres to their expectations and offers a conventional appeal.
  • Spotlight on accomplishments: The chronological format showcases your accomplishments, potentially making you a more desirable candidate.

Does this format fit you best?

This style is a perfect match for those with a consistent work history and minimal employment gaps. 

If you're climbing the ladder within a specific industry or field and want to highlight your upward trajectory and accomplishments, this format will serve you well.

2. Functional resume

At its heart, the functional resume format is all about skills and qualifications over chronological work history. 

Instead of focusing on job titles and the duration of your employment, this style hones in on your abilities, expertise, and specific competencies.

Key industries: This format is a favorite among freelancers and consultants with varied experiences across different projects and clients.

Formatting specifics: Begin with your contact details and a robust summary emphasizing your core competencies. Instead of a timeline of jobs, curate categories based on skills or areas of expertise, like "Project Management" or "Graphic Design." 

Under each category, use bullet points to list achievements and experiences that validate your proficiency. Of course, you'll wrap things up with your education and any other pertinent details.

Why it's a good option: For those with gaps in their employment or a diverse range of short-term projects and roles, the functional format is a life-saver. It allows you to focus on your strengths, irrespective of when and where you acquired them.

Benefits of a functional resume

  • Skills showcase: This format is an excellent stage for your talents and proficiencies, allowing you to portray your value proposition upfront.
  • Gap guardian: Had a hiatus or two in your career? The functional resume deflects attention away from employment gaps, focusing instead on what you can do.
  • Flexibility and freedom: For those with a broad spectrum of experiences, the functional style offers the liberty to strategically tailor content, emphasizing relevant skills for the role at hand.
  • Adaptability: Transitioning industries or roles? This resume lets you present transferable skills, which can be a catalyst for making successful switches.

Does this format fit you best?

The functional resume might be your best ally if you've juggled diverse roles, taken sabbaticals, or are looking for a career change. It's particularly apt for those who want their skills to do the talking rather than a linear job history. 

On the flip side, some recruiters are wary of this format, as it can be difficult to correlate skills with specific roles. So if you're in a traditional field or have a straightforward career path, a different format might be more advantageous. 

3. Combination resume

Meet the hybrid powerhouse: the combination resume. Merging the best of both worlds—chronological and functional—it offers a balanced take on your work history and the skills you bring to the table.

Key industries: Due to its versatility, the combination format finds favor across a multitude of sectors. It's especially handy for students, recent graduates, and those just starting out as it offers a blend of experience and skills.

Formatting specifics: Kick things off with your contact information, followed by a punchy resume summary. Up next is a competencies and hard skills section. 

Then, flow into a chronological account of your employment history (possibly in a more condensed form than in a purely chronological resume). And as always, cap it off with your educational credentials and any additional relevant information.

Why it's a good option: The combination resume is the Swiss Army knife of the best resume formats. It lends the latitude to play up strongest suits, like skills or your storied career journey, while providing a structured timeline of your professional past.

Pro Tip: The Teal AI Resume Builder has a Drag-and-Drop Editor so you can arrange the sections of your resume however you want.

Benefits of a combination resume

  • Best of both worlds: Enjoy the structure of a chronological resume with the skill emphasis of a functional one. 
  • Tailored pitch: Given its dual nature, you can tweak the emphasis based on the job you're aiming for, making your application more adaptable and relevant.
  • Comprehensive yet concise: While it showcases both skills and job history, the combination format encourages brevity, ensuring your resume isn’t just informative but also reader-friendly.
  • Career progression + skill depth: This format allows employers to see where you've been and dive deep into what you can offer.

Does this format fit you best?

If you're just starting your career or a professional with a mix of varied roles and hard-won skills, the combination resume might be your golden ticket. It's especially good for those looking to highlight how their experiences and abilities align perfectly with a specific role. 

That said, it can be a little longer, so it's important to keep content tight. One page for ten years of less of experience is ideal. If you’re at a stage where both your skills and experiences are pivotal to your next role, the hybrid style is worth considering. 

4. Targeted resume

The name says it all. A targeted resume is laser focused, tailored for a specific job or role. Instead of a general overview of your career, this format hones in on the experiences, skills, and accomplishments directly relevant to the position you want.

Key industries: Any industry that values precision and specialization can appreciate a targeted resume. Whether it's tech, where specifics of coding languages or platforms matter, or marketing, where niche skills like inbound certification or PPC expertise can set you apart, this format shines.

Formatting specifics: Start, as always, with your contact details and a bespoke resume summary, tuned to the role at hand. List your work experience, but selectively—only those roles and tasks that resonate with the job description. 

Similarly, cherry-pick skills and qualifications that match the job's requirements. Conclude with your education and any certifications or training applicable to the role.

Why it's a good option: A targeted resume is the epitome of relevance. In a sea of generic resumes, this format stands out, signaling to employers your keen interest and alignment with the role. It can also be useful if you have a long, varied work history to condense down to a one-page resume.

Benefits of a targeted resume

  • Precision power: Every element of your resume speaks directly to the role, ensuring zero fluff and maximum impact.
  • Increased relevance: By mirroring the job's requirements, your resume is likely to resonate more with hiring managers, boosting your chances of being shortlisted.
  • Adaptable approach: While it requires more effort, this format can be tweaked for various roles, ensuring you always put your best foot forward.
  • Demonstrates commitment: Crafting a targeted resume shows potential employers that you've done your homework and are genuinely interested in the role.

Does this format fit you best?

The targeted resume is ideal for those who are very clear about their job aspirations and are willing to put in the extra effort for each application. It's especially good for roles where the competition is fierce or when applying to highly specialized positions. 

However, it may not be the most time-efficient choice if you're casting a wider net in your job search. If specificity is your game, and you believe in quality over quantity in job applications, then go with the targeted approach. 

5. Infographic resume

When visuals dance in harmony with words, you get the infographic resume. A colorful deviation from traditional text-based resumes, this format leans on graphics, charts, and designs to encapsulate your career story in an engaging and visually compelling manner.

Key industries: Infographic resumes find their natural habitat in creative fields like graphic design, advertising, digital marketing, and multimedia. 

Formatting specifics: While the core elements—contact information, experience, skills, and education—remain consistent, how you present them changes. 

Use bar graphs to depict skill proficiency, timelines for career progression, and icons for contact details. Employ colors, fonts, and layouts that embody your personal brand while ensuring clarity and coherence.

Why it's a good option: In a world where attention spans are dwindling, an infographic resume can capture and retain interest, differentiating you from a pile of traditional resumes. 

Benefits of an infographic resume

Visually engaging: The rich, visual nature of this format ensures your resume doesn't just get seen—it gets noticed and remembered.

Showcases creativity: Especially relevant for creative roles, it's a testament to your design sensibilities and your ability to present information innovatively.

Distills information: Complex data or varied experiences can be condensed into easily digestible visual chunks, making it easier for hiring managers to grasp your story.

Creates conversation starters: Unique visuals or data representations can become talking points in interviews, allowing you to steer conversations.

Does this format fit you best?

If you're venturing into a field that values creativity, design, or innovative communication, an infographic resume might be your canvas. 

Teal Note: If you're applying to any roles where applicant tracking systems (ATS) are used, a more conventional, less designed resume is preferred as the ATS cannot scan heavily designed resumes correctly. 

6. Non-traditional resume

Unlike traditional resumes, the non-traditional resume is an umbrella term for any format that shirks convention. This can include video resumes, web-based portfolios, personal landing pages, or even interactive digital CVs that utilize dynamic media and content.

Key industries: Non-traditional resumes are a hit in dynamic sectors that embrace innovation and unique self-expression. Think digital media, video production, web development, content creation, and cutting-edge tech startups. They're also increasingly recognized in sectors open to modern recruitment practices.

Formatting specifics: As varied as the mediums they embrace, non-traditional resumes don't have a fixed format. A video resume might see you introducing yourself and your achievements on camera, while a web portfolio could house projects, testimonials, and interactive CV elements. Just ensure it's navigable, accessible, and relevant to your target role.

Why it's a good option: The non-traditional resume isn't just a document—it's an experience. It offers a multidimensional view of your capabilities, going beyond just qualifications to provide a sense of your personality, creativity, and initiative.

Looking for a standout approach? Teal's Career Hub resources can guide you.

Benefits of a non-traditional resume

  • Makes a bold statement: By its very nature, a non-traditional resume announces you as someone willing to take risks and think outside the box.
  • Offers depth: Whether it's showcasing a project in a portfolio or narrating your journey in a video, it provides a richer, more comprehensive view of your professional persona.
  • Enhanced engagement: The interactive or dynamic nature of such resumes ensures higher engagement, making recruiters spend more time with your application.
  • Leverages modern technology: In our digital age, showcasing your comfort and proficiency with newer media can be a strong selling point in many industries.

Does this format fit you best?

Embrace a non-traditional resume if you're in a field that celebrates uniqueness and modern mediums or if you believe a conventional resume won't do you justice. 

If you're tech-savvy, creatively inclined, or looking to join a forward-thinking industry, this could be your stage. However, be wary when applying to extremely traditional sectors or when an ATS might be in play. 

Build a professional resume with Teal

For modern job seekers, navigating the world of resumes can feel like traversing a maze.

But remember, the most powerful resume isn't just about format—it's about content and fit. 

With Teal’s AI Resume Builder, it’s easy to create a strong resume that balances powerful content with a clean format. Highlight your skills, build a personalized professional summary, and get real-time feedback and recommendations for improvements to build your strongest resume yet. 

Get started with Teal for free today

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Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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