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Different Formats Of Writing A Resume

Last updated date: 16th Apr 2024
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Formats for Writing Resume

The resume of a person is one or two pages written up that provides a professional and personal description of the person. Such profile-based representation is useful for applying for any job. In general, a resume contains a person’s academic qualification, work experience, achievements, personal details, etc. An attractive resume helps in securing good jobs. These are considered to be the source of a good first impression. The methods of making a good, eye-catching resume are discussed below. Also, the different formats of writing a resume are discussed here. 

Definition and Meaning of Resume

A resume is also called curriculum vitae, or CV. A general resume is a brief representation of yourself, depicting your work experience, educational qualifications, technical skills, soft skills, achievements, personal information like marital status, date of birth, hobbies, etc. Whenever you apply for a job in an organisation, your resume is sent to the HR of that particular organisation for evaluation. Therefore, a resume can also be defined as an attempt by the prospective applicant to exhibit his or her suitability for the job role, to the recruiters. 

There are three different formats of resume- functional, chronological, or a combination of both. The job applicants must choose the right format of a resume to strengthen their application.

In general, a resume is accompanied by a cover letter, where the participants describe why they think that they are the most suitable ones for the job. An attractive resume with an engaging cover letter increases the chances of a successful job application by manifold.   

General Resume Format

In general, a resume contains the following details.

  • Personal Details

  • Educational Qualification

  • Work Experience- with the most recent work experience mentioned at the beginning

  • Additional information on various skills

  • Reference contact details 

Resume Writing Format

All the points mentioned above should be covered in any resume. The following points will help you to arrange your resume in the right format.

  • Contact Information: Any resume must be open with the personal information and contact details of the candidate. It must have the candidate’s name, address, and contact number. Such contact information is the most important consideration in any resume and must come first in the list of information.

  • Objective: The candidate must mention his or her objective for submitting the resume for the job role. It can be a job application for an open position. In that case, it is important to mention the details of the job position (including the job number). It can also support the submission of an application for a potential job position in the future. In that case, the objective must mention the prospective job position for which the application has been submitted.

  • Academic Qualification: The third part of the resume must focus on the educational qualifications of the applicant. The applicant must start with the highest degree obtained and also the high-school or graduation percentage. They should limit their educational details to the major degrees only. 

  • Experience: This section of the resume is one of the most important sections. Candidates who have work experience in the field for which they are applying have the upper hand over those who do not have the desired work experience. The candidate must mention details of his or her experience clearly and concisely. The experiences are generally listed in the resume in chronological order starting with the latest job role.

  • Skills: The candidate must mention all the skills that he or she has, that can be applied to the job. It can be some external degree or diploma courses on a particular subject that the candidate has undertaken. The candidate must mention all the knowledge and strength he or she has in a particular field. Such mentions of skills in the resume will increase his competence for the job application.

  • Projects and Activities Undertaken: Skills are valued more if the candidate has applied them to any project. If the candidate has undertaken any real-life project, he or she must mention it in the resume. Such project experiences add more brownie points to his or her candidature. Moreover, if the candidate is involved in any activity or any club, he or she must mention that in the resume as well.

  • Honours and Achievements: The last section of the resume must portray all the honours and awards that the candidate has secured to date. Preference must be given to all the awards related to the job. The candidate can also mention if he or she has received any notable awards not related to the particular job role.

After going through all these points, you no longer have to wonder about how to write a resume format.

Formats of Resume 

The three most common formats resumes are written are - Chronological format, functional format and combination format. Let us now look at all these formats individually in detail:

  • The chronological resume format is the most preferred format of resume and is commonly used as it is easy to understand and has all details in chronological order or reverse chronological order. This format is easy to scan through and skip to relevant information required by the interviewer. This resume is preferred by candidates with a lot of experience as it states their work experience in detail. The reverse chronological order is used so that the most recent work experience is displayed right on top in the work experience section. 

  • Functional resume format does not list the work experience of the candidate but rather displays the skills acquired through work experience. It also puts forth the candidate's eligibility and highlights the relevance of experience and the reason the candidate is suitable for the job. A functional resume is not suitable for a Fresher candidate or a candidate with less experience. This format is a great choice for any candidate that would like to avoid the chronological resume format due to a gap in the work history. 

  • The combination resume format does not focus on the chronological or reverse chronological order of the resume displaying work experience. It does not even focus on the strengths and skills of the candidate as per the functional resume format. A combination resume format displays the work experience as well as the skills of the candidate and ensures there is no limelight drawn to either. 

Essential Elements of a Resume

There are a few key points to be considered while designing a resume. These key points can be used to format existing resumes as well and they would give the candidate an edge over the candidates by inculcating these elements listed below: 

The heading of a resume has to be covered at the topmost section of the resume and it should have clear and precise details like your name and contact details. Ensure to use a font that is clear and big enough to draw attention to this information. Also, mention the job title below your name so it gives HR (Human Resources) a fair idea of the role you are applying for. A particular organisation could have multiple job opportunities. It is important to specify the job position you are applying for. The contact details would have information like your contact number, email address and correspondence address. 

The summary on your resume needs to be present, it is a short paragraph highlighting your skills and expertise. Draw the HR’s attention to your achievements. The summary needs to be of about five lines and try not to write a summary longer than that. Specify your career objective in this paragraph, you can also use “Career Objective” as the title to this summary. Pick your career objective wisely to ensure it is in connection to the job description that you must have received from the employer. 

Professional experience is a mandatory section as it ensures the employer you have the valid experience for this job opportunity. Mention the name of your former employee along with the employment start and end date. Do not forget to put in a few lines your job role and responsibilities. If you are a fresher you can omit this section. 

Education qualification has to be mentioned on the resume even though you have a lot of professional experience. In the case of freshers, this becomes a crucial part as you are hired based only on your qualification. Make sure you highlight your percentage or GPA (Grade Point Average) in this section. 

Skills are the next important element on your resume post the professional experience and educational qualification. This section highlights your strengths be it hard skills like technical proficiency or soft skills like communication or leadership skills. A skilful employee is always desired by employers. Ensure to list the skills based on the job description displaying why you are the right candidate for this position. 

Achievements, be it your educational or professional achievements or awards or any skills that you may have developed through different courses and were awarded a certificate. 

FAQs on Different Formats Of Writing A Resume

1. What is the general structure of Resume Writing?

The general resume format is more or less the same for all kinds of resumes, be it for job application or a political biodata format, in English. The resume structure begins with the contact information, where the name, address, and contact number of the applicant must be provided. It must be followed by the candidate’s academic qualification, work experience, skills, projects, activities, and finally, conclude with the candidate’s achievements. These points pretty much sum up the answer to the question- ‘What is the format of the resume?’. However, there might be deviations to the resume writing format, with the inclusion of highlights and videos.

2. What are the types of Resume Formats?

For short resumes, the resume writing format is followed in chronological order. The input points are arranged in a time-based manner. For applicants with varied skills, the functional format is used. For a greater number of achievements, a combinatorial approach between the chronological and the functional resume is preferred. In addition to the general resume format, people can add extra features. They can add videos, highlights, links to the previous resume structure format. All these variants aptly summarise the types of resume formats.

3. What are the differences between a Resume and a C.V.?

In most definitions, a resume is referred to as a C.V (curriculum vitae). However, there are subtle differences between the two. The resume is a short 1-2 page description of the person, whereas a C.V. can be longer and more detailed. It is important to be very concise while preparing a resume. A resume is generally used for job applications in the industries. However, a C.V can be used for job applications in both industries and academia. The resume is tailor-made for a specific job, but a C.V. depicts a comprehensive overview of the person. However, in Europe, a resume and a C.V. means the same.

4. What is a cover letter? 

A cover letter is a one-page document submitted along with your resume or CV. A cover letter has to be a minimum of 250 to 400 words. The cover letter is an introduction to the applicant and has a summary of the applicant’s work experience. A cover letter is also known as a motivation letter as it persuades HR that you are the right candidate for the job role. The cover letter also needs to mention the skills that you have and how they are relevant to the job role. 

5. What are the 4 C’s of resume writing? 

A resume needs to check all the 4 C’s to be a well designed or formatted resume. The resume has to be concise, it should not have long paragraphs instead use pointers. The educational qualification and professional experience have to be in chronological or reverse chronological order so it's easy for HR to review. Make your resume consistent, do not use different fonts or font sizes, if using bullets do not move to numbers. Lastly, all the information has to be correct and true to your knowledge. Avoid any spelling errors or grammatical errors.