The pros and cons of different resume formats.

When deciding which resume you should use, it is beneficial to understand the value of each and also the drawbacks. 

This by no means should be taken as gospel; however, after reading, researching and seeking feedback from many employers and industry professionals regarding resumes, the below post summarises some key pros and cons of different resume styles.  If drafting a resume, keep these points in mind to ensure you present yourself in the best way possible.

The Traditional/Chronological Resume – A chronological resume is appropriate to use to showcase your employment history and progression.  It is widely accepted and in most instances, the safe bet if you are unsure which resume to use.  It is advised to use a chronological resume if you are applying within government and more  traditional employers.  It can be advantageous to use a traditional resume if you have strong and steady work history and can highlight your stability and currency within your chosen field. The disadvantage of a chronological resume is that it can easily show gaps in your work history and raise ‘red flags.’

The Functional Resume – A functional resume is a useful way to overcome the obstacles of  ‘career gaps’ mentioned above.  A functional resume focuses on your ‘skills’ and the key experience and attributes obtained from each role.  It highlights your key achievements and service offering.  Rather than structuring your resume in a chronological, year to year format, you are focusing more on your projects, functions and outcomes in each role.  The disadvantages of a functional resume is that it is not the most accepted format and it can still raise questions around your work history, timeframes and currency.

The Hybrid Resume – The hybrid resume is a mix of the chronological and functional (skills) resume.  This format attempts to address both concerns around work gaps and putting forward your strengths.  A functional resume has morphed into one of the most accepted resumes if structured correctly.  This can be one of the disadvantages…  There is no ‘set’ way to structure a hybrid resume, since, in its very nature, it is a mix of styles.  This can turn off certain employers who lean toward more structured and traditional formats.

The Career Snapshot – This is a condensed version of your resume and typically includes your key highlights and selling points, ideally as a one page summary.  This could be used for prospective employers, unsolicited expressions of interest or to take to career fairs or other networking events as a promotional tool.  The advantage is that this is a succinct way to showcase your skills and can also appeal to time-poor recruiters. The disadvantage of this style of resume is that it should not be used for specific applications that require a full resume.  Also, it is not the most common format of presenting yourself and might not be received well. However, some may argue that this could also be a benefit by stepping outside the box.  One other disadvantage is that you need to pick your content well.  Since it’s only a ‘snapshot’, you want to ensure you use this opportunity well and include the most relevant content.

The Design Resume – The design resume showcases design elements such as logos, creative formats and layout.  This is ideal for design related roles or possibly more contemporary positions.  The design resume can be a refreshing change from the standard, traditional resume and can also help make a lasting impression.  However, a few drawbacks include the fact that design resumes can be rejected by ‘Applicant Tracking Systems’ (ATS).  ATS are computer programs that screen resumes based on text and rely on keywords.  Logos and creative aspects of a design resume can be rejected by ATS.  In addition, design resumes might be seen as a fancy way to cover up ‘red flags’, might be too over the top or could be seen as ‘unnecessary fluff’ by a traditional, corporate employer.

The Video Resume – With the plethora of social media and the tight labour market, job seekers are finding new ways to catch employers’ attention.  Video resumes are growing in popularity and, with the introduction of new technologies that make it easier to create impressive packages, more and more job seekers are resorting to submitting video resumes.  The clear advantage is that it showcases initiative, creativity and can make a compelling pitch if done right.  The drawbacks can include negative reception from a poorly created video resume and, in addition to this, some employers might not be as receptive to such a style.  For example, a video resume would not suit government applications.  In addition, it could be a risk submitting a resume in a format that the potential employer might not have the technology to read or open.

Again, while this is not a full list of resumes and their pros and cons, it is an overview to some of the most used formats and their traits.

Posted in Career Advice, Job Seekers, Resume Tips and tagged , , , , , .

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