June 15, 2017

When you’re looking for a job, how you format your resume can have a significant impact on whether you get the job. But deciding whether to use a skills-based or a traditional resume format can be challenging. How do you know which format is best to highlight your experience? Let’s looks at what each format is and which job-seekers should use which format.

Traditional Resume Format

The traditional resume format is the most common type of resume used by job seekers. And for a good reason. Its popularity stems from the fact traditional resumes are the most preferred format by employers. It’s also the best style of resume for job seekers who have had a traditional career path including:

  • solid career progression from junior to more senior roles or increased responsibilities;
  • limited gaps in employment; and
  • consistent work history in one or two industries or fields.

This format highlights employment history or education, beginning with your most recent employment and working backward. This is an ideal format for job seekers who are

  • looking to remain in their current field of employment;
  • have few breaks in employment; and
  • have a substantial upwards career trajectory.

Skills-Based Resume Format

You’ll want to avoid the traditional format above if you have

  • changed jobs often over the course of your career;
  • significant gaps in your employment history; or
  • little to no work experience in your targeted career field.

Instead, you’ll benefit from a skills-based resume format that emphasizes achievements and skills over job titles, companies, places or dates of employment. Skills-based resumes are ideal for job seekers who are:

  • recent graduates or those re-entering the job market after a long absence;
  • applying for jobs in a new career field; or
  • looking to highlight specific skills or accomplishments from a wide variety of employment situations.

Because a skills-based resume is focused on your core competencies and professional achievements, it can make your application really stand out.

No two resumes are alike; every job seeker’s application is unique. Finding the best format that highlights your combination of education or training, on-the-job training, previous employment, volunteer experiences or other hobbies is critical to helping your application stand out from the competition.

If you are looking for a new job or just considering options and wondering which resume format is best for your reach out to the specialized recruiters at Inter-Connect Employment Services to find your next great job.

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