Resumes, CVs, portfolios, chronological, reverse chronological, functional, combination… When you start researching how to write a resume, you may be overwhelmed by all the styles and advice.

What resumes do employers prefer? How should you format your resume? Check out the following resume writing tips to optimize your results.

You can also check here to find stylish, modern resume templates that you can customize online. These online resume templates make resume creation easy!

Types of Resumes

In some parts of the world, terms like a resume, curriculum vitae (CV), and portfolio are used interchangeably. But if you live in and are applying for a job in the United States, you want to be sure that your resume fits your employer’s expectations.

What Is a Resume?

A resume is a short biographical document that gives your employer an overview of your background and abilities. Today, resumes are usually no longer than one page. They include your name and contact information, educational background, work history, and skills. This is the type of resume your employer is looking for.

How Do Resumes Differ from CVs and Portfolios?

In other countries, the CV is the preferred document. You can think of it as a long resume. It is usually about 3 pages in length and contains more details. In the United States, you usually won’t be asked to provide a CV except in certain academic circles.

The portfolio is separate from the resume. Like references, your employer may ask for a portfolio. This is especially true if you are in a visual industry like art, film, design, or architecture, or if you are a writer or journalist. The portfolio consists of examples of your past work.

Resume Formats

Now that we’ve separated the resume from similar documents, let’s talk about standard resume formats.

1. Chronological Resumes

Chronological resumes are so named because they are set up in reverse chronological order. Your most recent job experience will appear first, followed by the one before that, and so on. Your education and training will also be listed with the most recent endeavor first, then working backward in time.

In addition to these reverse chronological sections, chronological resumes also contain your contact information and a list of skills. Chronological resumes are the most common resume type, and they are preferred by employers because needed information is easy to find.

2. Functional Resumes

Another type of resume is the functional resume. Functional resumes focus on skills and experiences. Instead of listing work and education in chronological order, the most relevant experience is listed first, followed by the next most relevant. Dates worked may be omitted and replaced by the number of years or months spent at a particular job.

Functional resumes are most often used by people who have gaps in their work history or those who are changing careers. If you do not fit into one of these categories, using a functional resume is not recommended.

3. Combination Resumes

Combination resumes mix together aspects of chronological and functional resumes. The experiences are still listed in chronological order, but more emphasis is given to highlighting transferable skills.

You may decide to use a combination resume if your past experience is not a perfect fit for the job you are applying to. It still gives the employer the chronological format he or she wants to see.

You Might Need More than One Resume

Now that you’ve considered the type of resume you may want to write, did you know? You may need to write more than one resume. Why?

As noted above, different resume formats are suitable for different circumstances. But what you highlight on your resume may also need to shift with each job you apply for.

Consider: You’re applying to jobs in the same industry you’ve worked in for years. One job is almost identical to what you do now. But another requires that you manage and train a team. Even though you’ve never been a manager before, could you adjust your resume to highlight times that you’ve taken the lead or trained others?

Another position to which you are applying will require you to work directly with customers. Could you highlight your customer service and problem-solving skills?

In each situation, the bulk of the information will remain the same, but you can tweak your wording to highlight the necessary skills.

In Conclusion

A short, one-page reverse chronological resume is the most widely accepted format. You should list your work and education in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent experience and working backward in time. Also, include your contact information and skills list.