Resume Writing

5 Best Resume Formats in 2021 – Recommended by HR

A resume that summarizes your skillset will only take you so far when applying for any job. If you want to rise above the recruiter’s expectations, you need to be fussy with the overall presentation, layout, and arrangement of your career details. It is a known fact that experienced recruiters spend less than 30 seconds when reviewing an applicant and disregard more than 80% of resumes during the first screening. So, when you have a mere 6 seconds to catch your employer’s attention, you must make the most of it and use a resume format that perfectly fits the job role. 

In this article, we will see the different resume formats that can work wonders for job seekers in 2021. But before that, let’s start from the basics and understand what a resume is and its aligned purpose.

What is a Resume?

resume formats in 2020 - What is a resume

Your resume is one of the two things you need to have when job hunting. A resume is a formal document used to present a person’s skills and experiences professionally. It features the applicant’s capabilities that can convince employers to hire him or her. 

Since resumes are the recruiter’s gateway to understand who you are as an employee, it is essential to choose the format of your resume carefully. Before creating the best resume for yourself, it is necessary to understand everything there is to know about it. Let us start building our basics and move a step forward in choosing the best resume format in 2021 for you.

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5 Best Resume Formats in 2021

Different types of resumes have different purposes and ulterior motives. Some keep your experience in the limelight; some hold your skillset at the point of attention, whereas some churn both of them together to give a comprehensive view. You would be amazed to know that formatting in a resume is not only done to enhance the aesthetics but also to highlight important career details over the normal ones. So without further ado, let start understanding different types and formats of resume!

1. Chronological Resume Format

resume formats in 2020 - chronological format

As the name suggests, this resume format focuses on the timely events in your career relevant to your application. While chronological resumes highlight past achievements, a reversed chronological resume features recent and significant events and accomplishments. 

Being the most common types of resumes, Hiring managers generally prefer them as they focus on an applicant’s achievements and successes. As job experience is an essential factor in hiring decision making, these resumes showcase it efficiently with logical and smart formatting.

This type of resume will also help you tell your story as an employee. It provides your employers with a better flow of your experiences that are relevant to your desired position. Chronological resumes help your employers decide the flow of your interview process. This resume format also serves as a conversation tool by your employers to create smoother interviews. 

One of the many reasons why chronologically formatted resumes are known is that it sells the applicant’s rising development. When applied correctly, this resume format can show your employers your advancement for growth. It features your career progression through the years of your experience that is eye-catching for hiring managers.

2. Functional

resume formats in 2020 - functional format

When chronological resumes focus on the ‘when’ aspect of your career life, functional resumes prefer the ‘what’ aspect of your career life, mainly the skills that will make you a great employee. While most employers prefer those with relevant experiences, this resume will cover your employment gaps and interest your recruiters with your skills gained throughout your career life. This type of resume diverts your employer’s attention from your unideal career path and provides them with better ideas on how equipped and qualified you are.

Using a functional resume format allows you to filter unimportant information and focus on the essential skills and experiences that fit the job role. To write an excellent functional resume format, ensure that you lead your recruiter’s attention away from your experience gap. In doing so, you can avoid becoming one with a wavering mind and improve the chances of selection by focusing more on your skill set!

3. Combination

resume formats in 2020 - combination format

As the name suggests, combined resumes are a mixture of functional and chronological resumes. This type of resume takes the best of both worlds and places it in one resume to highlight your skills and experiences. It distributes an equal amount of space in your resume to showcase your skills and experience evenly. 

Correlating your capabilities and successes in the job you’re applying for can impress your employers. It relates your skills to your experiences that will make your resume more attractive to your recruiters. When writing combination resume formats, don’t forget to include only the relevant information about your background. This type of resume format tends to be longer than most resume formats because of its contents. But when you’ve written a proper combination resume format, these will automatically encourage your employers to hire you on the spot.

4. Targeted

resume formats in 2020 - targeted format

Targeted resumes and combined resumes are somewhat similar, with their only difference being targeted resumes made explicitly for a particular position or company. While combined resumes feature the applicant in its entirety, targeted resumes highlight specific skills and experiences significant to the job or company to increase the chances of getting hired. When writing this kind of resume, always maintain the accuracy to ensure an increased possibility of landing the job you want. 

By writing this type of resume format, you get to form an initial relationship with your employers. You get to showcase your leadership skills and your attention to detail to make your recruiters want you more. This type of resume format can also increase your chances of getting an interview because of its engaging and tailored characteristics. 

5. Mini

resume formats in 2020 - Mini format

A mini resume is a short version of any resume that mainly consists of a brief synopsis of an applicant’s working history. A mini resume is short and straightforward. It doesn’t sell the applicant but offers facts on what kind of employee the applicant is.

How to select the best resume format

resume formats in 2020 - Select the best resume now!

Now that you’ve understood the different types of resumes, its time to learn which resume is best for you. Although most of them may look similar in a lot of ways, choosing the best resume format is crucial for landing into your dream job.

When to use a chronological resume format

Recruiters often prefer applicants with the right amount of experience, especially experiences related to their field. Because of their bias with experienced applicants, individuals with stable work histories and no employment gaps are best suited for this type of resume.

Chronological resume formats will go well with your professional experiences when you have a steady career track that shows your efforts to attain higher positions with greater responsibility. Using a chronological resume in these situations can create an advantage for you. Your employers can easily track your accomplishments that will encourage them to see you as an asset.

When to use a functional resume format

Any applicant, regardless of how experienced they may be, started as a fresh graduate. As a new graduate, not everyone is equipped with work experiences. Functional resume formats serve as an entry resume for applicants that do not have a long work history. 

Instead of highlighting your experience as an assistant or secretary, it is better to feature the skills you have gained from academic and non-academic backgrounds. Aside from fresh graduates, individuals with employment gaps, applicants in the middle of a career transition, and those from diverse backgrounds who have no clear career path can benefit from this type of resume format.

You can use it when you’re aiming for a position that matches your skills and experience but is not your current job. This resume format is also perfect for you if you’re worried about your job-hopping history. No employer wants a job hopper because this shows that an applicant has no dedication and discipline to last in one job. To avoid discouraging your employers without having to lie about your work experiences, highlight the relevant skills you’ve gained while working those different jobs. Do not forget to focus on your other positive traits as well.

When to use a combination resume format

Mid-level or senior job seekers often use this resume format. Its ability to feature both your skills and experiences allows you to include more detailed work experience and showcase your personality as an employee. Highly skilled employees are best suited for this type of resume format. You can also add your volunteer and internship experiences to make your resume more compelling. 

Whether you’re a skilled worker or not, any applicant can make use of this resume. You can use this when you want to re-enter the job market after a long break. In the middle of a career change, this type of resume complements your needs. As long as you have the work history you want and the professional skills to go with, a combination resume format will surely attract recruiters.

When to use a targeted resume format

Targeted resume formats are often used by dedicated personnel or applicants that want to work for a particular company. Because of its qualities, this type of resume format allows you to impress your recruiters by providing what they expect. Since this resume needs accuracy and research, applicants who choose to use this resume should be patient and dedicated to writing one.

Similar to combination resume formats, any applicant can use targeted resumes. Because of the increasing job competition in this generation, a targeted resume tailored for a particular company will increase your chances for an interview. Since these resume formats are built around the position you want most, it enables you to present your career path and goals in a more targeted form.

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When to use a mini resume format

Networking individuals often use this resume format because of its compact and short characteristics. Mini resume formats are similar to any professional resume format but are folded to a smaller scale to appear pocket-size. Its size is convenient for storage and distribution when networking. It also features your personal information and your profile picture to capture your potential employer’s attention. This resume format is an easy read, which allows your readers to save time in reading and more time deciding to hire you.

When you have no specific job in mind, mini resumes can be the perfect format for you. Attending job fairs or networking events can boost your opportunities for a job. Although using traditional standard resume formats are useful, a mini resume can be better. Because it is brief and straightforward, it takes minimal space that allows your employers lesser time to evaluate.

Dos and Don’ts for customizing your resume format

resume formats in 2020 - Do's and Don'ts

There is only so much you can do for your resume, and yet every information and format counts. Even the slightest change will affect the entire look for your resume. To ensure a clean appearance and avoiding a messy look, observe these four dos and don’ts when creating your resume. 


Current resume formats use .63″ for left and right margins and 1″ for the top and bottom margins. These specific margins create a perfect balance in making your resume look bold and professional while featuring as much information as possible. Using too much or too little margins for your resume will produce an unappealing resume that can discourage your employers.

There may be times where the given margins are not enough. Extensive work experience may demand a broader area, while lesser skills can only need a smaller space. No matter how detailed your resume is, keep in mind the right margin to avoid making your resume formatting look unprofessional.

Page Length

Hiring managers spend a short time and attention when looking over resumes. Because of this, it’s better to limit your resume to one page. Having a one-page resume format applies 99% of the time during the application process. It allows your employers to save time and avoid missing any critical information about you.

One-page resumes are perfect for applicants who’re fresh graduates and professionals with less than ten years worth of work experience. Two-page resumes are usually for professionals with over ten years of work experience and applicants for management or leadership roles. On rare occasions, there are three-page resumes used by individuals applying for senior management roles, academics with many publications, students applying for doctoral programs, and federal employees.

Your resume’s page length will also depend on the job you’re applying for. Be strategic in formatting your resume and use as much space as you can for your benefit.


The standard alignment in resume formatting is the left alignment. Your resume can use a different arrangement when using a resume template designed explicitly for a particular job.

Font face

Depending on the contents, your resume’s font size should be readable, and your font style should look professional. The standard size for any resume format varies from sizes 10 to 14. Depending on your font style and your content, it’s essential to consider the right size. Avoid using your page length to determine your font size. Your resume’s readability should be the most crucial factor in dictating your resume’s perfect font size.

Experts suggest that the best font styles for your resume format are Serif Fonts and Sans Serif Fonts.

Serif Fonts do not have any distinctive curl or decoration that makes it perfect for a professional resume format. It’s stylish and traditional and is the best when applying for formal industries. If you plan on submitting your resume through paper, serif fonts are easier to read on paper. These include the following:

  • Times New Roman
  • Cambria
  • Georgia
  • Garamond
  • Didot

Sans Serif Fonts, on the other hand, curl at the end of each letter that creates a sleek and modern look for your resume. It’s also easier to read on a computer that makes it appropriate to use when sending resumes online. This font style includes the following:

  • Helvetica
  • Calibri
  • Arial
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Lato

The right resume format can go a long way in helping you land the perfect job for you. With the increasing employment competition and the development of more and more methods to hire individuals, the best resume format can make all the difference. Do not forget to consider your needs and your situation before choosing the resume format. 

You can use Resume Guy to build your resume online while choosing from thousands of templates. It’s quick and easy, try it now!

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