> The Best Resume Format 2021: Samples For All Types Of Resumes

The Best Resume Format 2021: Samples for All Types of Resumes

The Best Resume Format

The Best Resume Format 2021: has to pass applicant tracking systems. Show off your value as a future employee. And help recruiters make the right decision—invite you to the interview.

Pick the wrong one, and you’ll annoy those little bots and their human overlords—

But which resume format is best?

Most importantly, how to pick the proper resume format for you? The perfect resume format 2020

The Best Resume Format 2021: Samples for All Types of Resumes

Don’t worry. In 5 minutes, you’ll learn all you need to know about formatting a resume.


  1. Proper Resume Format: How to Format a Resume Right?
  2. The Three Types of Resumes and How to Pick the Best Resume Format
    1. Reverse-Chronological Resume Format
    2. Skills-Based / Functional Resume Format
    3. Hybrid / Combination Resume Format
    4. Recap: How to Pick the Best Resume Format
  3. Make Sure Your Resume Format Beats the ATS Resume Test

The Best Resume Format 2021

Proper Resume Format: How to Format a Resume Right?

Here are the simple, standard rules you have to follow when formatting a resume.

(Feel free to skip this section if you simply want to pick a format and start working on your resume.)

For a professional resume, follow these 10 resume formatting steps:

The Best Resume Format 2021. How to format a resume?

  1. Set one-inch margins on all four sides.
  2. Pick a 11 or 12pt resume font and stick to it.
  3. Create a proper resume header format for your contact details.
  4. Divide your resume into legible resume sections: Contact Information, Resume Summary, Work Experience, Education, Skills.
  5. Use bullet points to talk about past jobs.
  6. Be consistent with your resume formatting (e.g., stick to the same date format: for example 11–2018, or November 2018.)
  7. Use single or 1.15 line spacing.
  8. Add an extra space before and after each section heading.
  9. Make your resume as long as it needs to be.
  10. Don’t use photos on your resume. Unless the job description specifically asks for them. You’re looking for a job, not a date!

What is the best resume file format?

  • Usually, a PDF is your best bet: it makes sure your resume layout stays intact across all devices.
  • Some companies require resumes sent as MS Word (DOC or DOCX) files. Pay attention to the job ad, if they want you to send a DOC resume, you have to play by their rules.
  • To stay on the safe side, have your resume available in both PDF and DOC file formats.
  • Avoid file formats with no text layer, such as JPG or PNG, or files dedicated to graphic software (PSD, INDD, or AI).

Enough theory, though. Here are two examples of the bad vs the good way of how to format a resume. We’ve created the sample resume format on the right in our builder.

The Best Resume Format 2021

 The Three Types of Resumes and How to Pick the Best Resume Format

Applying for jobs is a tough game. To win, you have to be creative and think out of the box to some extent. But—

You also have to play by the rules.

Rule one: there are three main types of resumes you can choose from—chronological, functional, and combination. There’s no one best format for resumes. You have to pick a resume type right for your career path so far and the job you’re applying for.

Once again, those 3 types of resume formats are the most common:

  • Reverse-chronological resume format
  • Functional (or skills-based) resume format
  • Combination (or hybrid or chrono-functional) resume format

The main difference between them is the chief focus.

What does it mean for you?

That you have to know the correct order of sections on each of the standard resume formats.

Have a look:

What are the three main resume formats?

Resume Formats Examples

The Best Resume Format 2021

resume formats

The Best Resume Format 2021 The Three Standard Resume Formats: Resume Structure

As you can see:

  • The chronological resume format focuses on work experience.
  • The skills-based resume format is based on, well, skills.
  • The hybrid / combination resume format highlights both your experience and skills, linking the skills in the skills summary to real-life experience that shows how you gained them.

How to properly describe your achievements in your resume

What’s the best format for your resume?

That depends on your career path so far.

  • Looking for a job in your industry in which you have lots of experience? Go for the reverse-chronological resume format.
  • Eying a creative gig where your portfolio of projects and broad skills set are more important than the work history? Pick a functional resume format.
  • Applying for a highly specialized position for very experienced senior candidates? A combination resume format will be perfect for you.

Let’s discuss that on some real-life resume formatting examples.

Meet three job seekers: Frank, Thomas, and Christian.

Their resumes and how these correspond with their careers will guide you through the process of picking a good resume format for your situation.

Frank is an electrician. He’s been working in his field for over 15 years.

He’s been with the same company (having gotten promoted from journeyman to master) since 2007.

Frank found an interesting opening for a master electrician position with a big, international corporation. The responsibilities listed in the job ad are very similar to his current duties and tasks.

To get recruiters’ attention, he needs to highlight his career progression and proudest professional wins. That’s why Frank wrote a reverse-chronological resume. Scroll down to see it!

Thomas is an entry-level PR specialist. He’s been doing a lot of freelancing and participating in minor projects but has little full-time experience.

He graduated in 2017. He’s worked as a part-time PR Intern since then and done a lot of side gigs and non-profit projects to build his portfolio. He’s also a prolific blogger.

Thomas wants to apply for a full-blown role as a Content Marketing and PR Specialist with a tech company with a relaxed culture. He’s never done a similar job before, but he has all the necessary skills.

If Thomas wants to get the job, he needs to showcase his portfolio and present the wide variety of his skills. The functional resume format is a great pick for him. Scroll down to check his resume out.

Christian is a Senior IT manager. He’s held leadership positions with the biggest IT companies in the world.

Not only is Christian a master programmer, but also an effective leader.

Someone from Christian’s professional network let him know about an unlisted, highly-specialized position as the Head of IT with a huge IT company that designs mobile apps.

To get there, Christian needs to prove that he has comprehensive technical knowledge, as well as team-building and leadership skills. Christian went for a combination resume format.

Now, it’s time to see their actual resumes and explain how different job seekers can make the most of each of the most common resume formats.

Here are the three standard resume formats:

1. Reverse-Chronological Resume Format

For starters, here’s a sample reverse-chronological resume format created in our builder.

Reverse-Chronological Resume Format Example

The Best Resume Format 2021

reverse-chronological resume

The Best Resume Format 2021

The reverse chronological resume format is useful to virtually all job seekers. That’s why this is the most popular US resume format.

Recruiters are familiar with it so it makes their job easier: helps them spot all relevant information in a flash. It’s also a really simple resume format to use.

Here’s how to structure a resume in reverse-chronological order.

Reverse-Chronological Resume Template

  1. Contact information
  2. Resume Summary or Resume Objective
  3. Work Experience
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Additional Sections

The reverse chronological resume format puts emphasis on your work history because that’s what’s most relevant for hiring managers.

Its key part is the work experience section. Here’s how to write it:

Reverse-Chronological Resume Format: Work Experience

  1. Start with your current or most recent job.
  2. Follow it with the one before it, then the one before and so on.
  3. In each entry list: your position, the name of the company, and the dates worked.
  4. Under each job, put up to 5 bullet points. But don’t just list duties. Focus on achievements.
  5. Use action words. “Supervised” instead of “responsible for supervising.”
  6. Quantify whenever possible. Numbers pop!
  7. At the bottom, add a “Key Achievement” subsection. Describe your proudest professional win.
  8. Don’t list all your professional responsibilities and accomplishments. Focus on what’s important for this particular position. Tailor your resume to the job description.

Like Frank, the candidate from our example did:

Reverse Chronological Resume Format Example

The Best Resume Format 2021

Master Electrician
Mosaic Life Claire, St Joseph, MO2012–

  • Interpreted contract plans and specifications: one-line diagrams, cable and conduit schematics and wiring diagrams.
  • Installed and repair electrical systems, wiring, fixtures, motors per plans.
    Supervised and assigned work to apprentices, electrical helpers, and journey-level electricians.
  • Trained and mentored electrical apprentices.
  • Diagnosed problems and checked leakages in low and high voltage systems.
  • Took the highest level of care for keeping the workplace area safe and organized by implementing the NEC safety regulations and guidelines.
  • Installed circuit breaker panels, switches, relays, and grounding leads.

Key achievements:

  • Increased efficiency by 33% by identifying our client’s complex wiring issue. Scheduled a repair plan and supervised a team of 6 specialists.
  • Supervised an internal training program, fully trained 11 apprentices.

The Best Resume Format 2021

Not sure if the rev-chron resume format is your best shot? See the handy table below.

Chronological Resume Format Pros and Cons

The Best Resume Format 2021

Pros and cons of the reverse chronological resume format
Recruiters are familiar with it. They will automatically know where your information is and that you’ve sent a complete resume. It will require tweaking. You will need to make some extra effort to catch the recruiter’s eye.
It’s guaranteed to go through an Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) resume test. If you have large gaps in your work history, the recruiters will notice them immediately.
The reverse chronological resume format highlights the peak of your career. It’s not an ideal format of a resume for career changers.

2. Skills-Based / Functional Resume Format

Here’s a functional resume example created in our resume builder.

Functional Resume Format Example

The Best Resume Format 2021

functional resume

The Best Resume Format 2021

A functional resume format focuses on your skills and abilities. That’s why it’s also called the skills-based resume format.

It lets you emphasize what you’re good at and takes the pressure off of your work experience.

Here’s how to structure a functional resume:

Functional Resume Template

  1. Contact information
  2. Resume Objective
  3. Skills Summary
  4. Additional Skills
  5. Work Experience
  6. Education

The two crucial components of a functional resume are the resume objective at the very top and the skills summary. This is how to write them step by step:

Functional Resume Format: Resume Objective and Skills Summary

  1. In the resume objective at the top, briefly explain your motivation for pursuing a given career and discuss the most important skills you’ve mastered so far.
  2. If you have one, add a link to your online portfolio, a blog, or a personal website to the resume objective.
  3. For the skills summary, pick 4 to 5 skills that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  4. Don’t just list your skills. Be specific. Give examples of when and how you applied them. Mention software you’re proficient in and quantify whenever you can.
  5. Use bullet points or go for plain paragraphs.

Have another look at how Thomas did it:

Example of a Skills-Based Resume Format

The Best Resume Format 2021

Results-driven Penn graduate in Journalism and Social Communication seeking to leverage two years of internship and freelancing PR experience with Newton Software Communications Team. Experienced in producing engaging online content (see my portfolio here) and press releases for tech start-ups and local IT companies. Non-profit blogger at www.pr-matters.wordpress.com. Interested in new digital PR solutions including the automatization of customer relations via AI-based email campaigns and chatbots.


Skills Summary


Able to work with many kinds of clients in a wide variety of fields. Excellent at researching clients’ brands, industries, and markets very quickly and efficiently.


Skilled at writing all types of Public Relations texts: press releases, blog posts, bulletins, emailing campaigns (outreach emails, sales emails, engagement emails). Able to produce up to 1,500 words of great, unique content on a daily basis.


Proficient at managing social media relations across all major social media platforms:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+.

The Best Resume Format 2021

But remember—

A functional resume format most likely won’t get you far.


In short, because recruiters and hiring managers hate it.

According to a Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report, the most important thing to recruiters is your job experience. This means:

  • Your job titles
  • The highest level of responsibility you reached
  • Your career progression.

And what does a functional resume do? It throws all of the above out of the window.

For most candidates, using a functional, “skills” resume format is against any sort of logic.

The only groups of job seekers who might entertain using this resume format are:

  • Professionals in creative industries.
  • Freelancers without a clear career progression, but with a very solid portfolio.
  • Military veterans transmitting into a civilian role.
  • Ex-CEOs or high-level execs who don’t want to seem overqualified for a lower-level position they need to apply for.

To recap, then:

Pros and Cons of a Functional Resume Format

The Best Resume Format 2021

Skills-Based Resume Format Pros and Const
It takes the focus off of your work history and places it on your skills. If you’ve gained your skills through various freelance projects, not full-time employment, this format will let you emphasize those skills. Most recruiters hate the functional resume format because it’s not easy to scan in quickly.
It’s a good creative resume format for non-traditional industries. It’s an instant red flag—suggesting that you’re trying to hide something.
It can be used by military transitioners whose detailed job descriptions might be too difficult to understand for non-military recruiters. It’s very likely to fail the ATS resume scan.

The Best Resume Format 2021

3. Hybrid / Combination Resume Format

Here’s a combination resume example created in our resume builder.

Hybrid / Combination Resume Format Example

The Best Resume Format 2021

combination resume

The Best Resume Format 2021

The combination resume format combines the best features of a chronological resume and a skills-based resume.

Here’s how to structure a hybrid resume:

Hybrid (Combination) Resume Template

  1. Contact information
  2. Skills Summary
  3. Additional Skills
  4. Work Experience
  5. Education

The focal point is your skills summary. This section comes at the top of a hybrid resume, just below your contact information.

The skills summary lists skills relevant to the job and validates them by providing examples of past achievements and professional experience in bullet points.

This is how to write it:

  • Start with listing skills that are most relevant to the job you want to land.
  • Underneath each skill, add up to 4 bullet points describing your professional achievements that prove you actually have the skills.
  • Focus on quantified and measurable accomplishments.

Remember our candidate, Christian?

In his skills summary, he needs to prove that he is:

  1. Great at programming and mobile app development.
  2. An inspired leader and mentor.
  3. A seasoned business executive.

Example of a Hybrid Resume Format: Skills Summary

The Best Resume Format 2021

Programming and App Development

  • Developed and built 20+ mobile apps and 30+ websites providing exceptional user experience.
  • Named BCD M&E’s “Top Programmer of The Year” for three consecutive years 2009-2011.
  • 15+ years experience in C#, C++, Java, and Objective-C.
  • C Certified Professional Programmer (2006), Objective-C Certified Professional Programmer (2009).


  • 8+ years experience in team management (teams of 10-50 colleagues) and project coordination.
  • Designed and implemented a new IT management model with Apple’s New York Branch, increasing quarterly productivity by 33% and boosting employee satisfaction by 22%.
  • Trained and mentored 50+ junior developers to help them prepare for certification exams (88% success rate).


Business Management


  • Coordinated 20+ projects with budgets over $200,000.
  • Optimized procurement processes to reduce BCD M&E’s annual costs by 27%.
  • Successfully cooperated with sales and marketing teams on new business strategies which helped increase Apple New York’s sales volume by 23%.

The Best Resume Format 2021

In a nutshell:

Pros and Cons of a Combination Resume Format

The Best Resume Format 2020

Hybrid Resume Format Pros and Cons
Showcases your most important skills and validates them with examples related to your work experience. It’s suitable for very few candidates: only people with a lot of work experience targeting a very specific position.
A good resume format for employment-gappers who, nonetheless, have many years of relevant work experience. It’s the most difficult resume format to create properly.

The Best Resume Format 2020

4. Recap: How to Pick the Best Resume Format


What format should your resume be in?

Here’s a recap of what you’ve learned so far:

How to Choose a Resume Format? Chronological vs Functional vs Combination Resume

The Best Resume Format 2020

Chronological vs Functional vs Combination Resume Format
Reverse-Chronological Resume Functional Resume Combination Resume
Chief focus Work experience Skills Skills and work experience
Work experience section At the top, relevant At the bottom, irrelevant In the middle, relevant
Skills section In the middle, relevant At the top, relevant At the top, relevant
Main advantage Easy to read, universal Conceals flaws in work history Emphasizes and validates skills
Main weakness Very common, might require tweaking Suggests you’re hiding something Suitable for few candidates
Good for Virtually all candidates Creative jobs,

military transitioners,

candidates who don’t want to seem overqualified

Career changers, experienced professionals
Not ideal for Career changers or employment-gappers with very complicated work histories Students, experienced professionals, career changers, entry-level candidates Entry-level candidates, students

The Best Resume Format 2021

5. Make Sure Your Resume Format Beats the ATS Resume Test

The Best Resume Format 2021

A disturbing thought:

According to research, 70% of resumes never reach a human eye.

Why’s that?

Because as many as 7 out of 10 large companies use the ATS resume checker (short for “Applicant Tracking Software”).


Make sure your resume format is ATS-friendly.#The perfect resume format 2020

How to Format a Resume to Pass the ATS Scan

The perfect resume format 2020

  • Place the contact details at the top of your resume
  • Avoid fancy graphics
  • Save your resume in the PDF format
  • Copy all the contents of your resume
  • Paste them into a TXT text editor (such as Notepad)
  • If the text in the editor isn’t scrambled, your resume is scannable

The Best Resume Format 2021

Key Takeaway

The Best Resume Format 2021

  1. Apply the standard resume formatting rules: one-inch margins, elegant font, 11–12pt font size, single line spacing, additional space before and after headings.
  2. Choose one of the standard types of resumes: reverse-chronological, combination, or functional resume format. Pick the proper resume format for your individual situation.
  3. The format of a resume is mostly about dividing it into proper sections. In this order: contact info, summary, work experience, education, skills, and extra sections.
  4. Save space using bullet points in your work experience and education sections.

Apply for: How To Make Perfect CV – Complete Guidelines

The Best Resume Format 2021

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