With so many resume styles to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to creating your own. However, once you learn about the different types of resume and when to use them, picking the right one becomes easy.
We’ve put together this essential guide to a variety of resume styles and how to use each one. Find templates for each type and read our detailed writing guides by following the links for that style.
The different types of resume can be categorized into traditional, modern, and creative styles. By first deciding which category suits your job search best, you can easily find the best type of resume for you.
There is some overlap between the styles. For example, resumes have usually tended to be strictly one-page documents, so the two-page resume is a modern style. However, many traditional executive resumes will have two pages, because they are needed to fit in all the work history of someone in a senior-level position.
Once you learn about which styles work for which situations, you can customize your resume to your unique job search. Let’s take a look at the different resume types to choose from.
Traditional Resume Styles
A traditional resume follows long-accepted standards of resume writing. These don’t need fancy formats or new technology to impress a potential employer. With a traditional resume template, you can use tried-and-true methods to make a resume that will fit well in a conservative industry like finance, or for any employer you think will value a more traditional style.
A traditional, one-page resume is a great choice in many situations. Those situations include if you’re applying to work in a conservative field, if you have limited work experience, or if you’re applying for an entry-level job or part-time work.
Often, employers will specifically request a one-page resume in the job description. It’s important to read a prospective employer’s resume guidelines closely so you give them exactly what they want.
However, even when the length isn’t specified, a one-page resume is often the right choice. Busy hiring managers don’t want to read any more information than necessary. A one-page resume ensures that only the essentials are there. Presenting information in concise ways, like with bullet points, can help ensure your resume stays on one page.
A simple resume uses a clean, minimalist style to catch the attention of a potential employer.
Fancy formats can be an impediment to your job search if they don’t add anything important to your resume. So, unless you’re applying in a very creative field, a simple resume is often the way to go.
Simple resumes typically use sans-serif fonts (instead of serif fonts, like Times New Roman), great organization, and balanced white space. An attractively designed simple resume lets your work experience and skills shine, with no distractions.
From traditional work to creative modern startups, simple resumes are a good fit in many fields. Hiring managers have to read many resumes very quickly, so they appreciate simple formats that let the critical information stand out.
An executive resume is the traditional resume style for someone applying to an executive or senior-level position.
Although standard resumes are just one page, an executive resume will often be two pages long. This is because more than one page is usually necessary to reflect the years of work history it takes to qualify for an executive position.
However, most executive resumes should still stick to traditional style. If you’re applying for a senior or executive position at a company, don’t obscure your professional experience with elaborate or creative formatting. Sticking to the usual resume style guidelines shows you’ll take the position seriously and respect long-standing company traditions.
Modern Resume Styles
When you write a modern resume, you’ll need to take into consideration machine readability, social media accounts, and other modern ways of presenting information.
The modern resume uses modern strategies to stand out from the competition. It might optimize keywords in a summary section, instead of a short objective statement, so an applicant tracking system will keep the resume. Or it might give an employer links to your LinkedIn and email accounts.
A skills-based resume is a modern alternative to a reverse-chronological resume that focuses on prior jobs and duties. With a skills-based resume, you put the focus on what you can do, not just what you have done in previous jobs.
This is also a great choice if you’re changing industries and your prior employment history is in an unrelated field. However, a resume that highlights your skills can be good even if you have lots of experience in your area.
With a skills-based resume, potential employers can easily find out what you’re capable of without getting bogged down by irrelevant duties you had at prior jobs. This resume style puts the information many employers want in the spotlight.
Two-page resumes were long considered unacceptable in traditional fields, but a modern resume can make good use of two pages to impress a hiring manager.
If you have a long list of work history and don’t want to leave anything out, two pages can be your best choice. Instead of using a tiny font and tricky formatting to fit everything on one page, make your resume nicely spaced out and easy to read across both pages.
If your employer is likely to be reading your resume online, keeping it to one page is also less important, since there’s no question of printing costs or keeping track of extra pages. If everything on your resume is essential and it still takes up more than one page, using two pages can be a great modern strategy.
Many modern resume styles use color to be more visually appealing. Using color in the right ways shows that you know good design, and can even signal to an employer that you’re a great fit for their work environment.
Many companies use color in their logos or offices. If you find out the color scheme of your ideal job, you can reflect that in your resume by choosing similar colors. This is a good way to show subtly that you’re the perfect candidate.
Although you’ll want to avoid using too many colors or those that are hard to read, strategically adding color to your resume design is a great way to stand out among other job seekers.
Try one of our free resume templates with color – you can use the colors provided or customize it with your own. If you want to take it a step further, use a free Photoshop PSD template to add your own icons or logo to your resume, too.
Creative Resume Styles
Creative resume styles won’t work for every field, but if you’re applying for a creative job like visual art or graphic design, a creative resume is almost expected.
As a job seeker, your resume should reflect what you’ll be doing in the role. If the job requires creativity, your resume should showcase your creative abilities. For example, if you’re applying in the graphic design field, use your resume to show the design work you can do. This is a great way to impress potential employers before they ever meet you.
An infographic resume style uses visuals to give a prospective employer important information about you. Charts, graphs, and other data visualization methods show your work history and skills in memorable ways. If you’re applying to a creative employer, such as a quirky start-up, you can grab their attention with this unique way of showing off your experience.
It’s especially important to use a good template when making an infographic resume. Otherwise, you might get bogged down by the challenge of making the perfect infographic design. We have many great templates to get you started.
A video resume is a highly creative choice, so you should only use one if you’re sure it’s a good fit for the jobs you’re applying to.
If you’re an actor, you’ll want to make a reel, which is an industry-specific form of a video resume. If personality is a crucial component of the job, such as in a sales position, a video resume can be a great way to land an interview. Aim to give employers a taste of how you perform so they’ll want to see more.
In either case, you’ll still want a paper version of your resume to back up the video version. However, a professional resume video can really impress a creative hiring manager. It shows that you took the extra step to prove your abilities.
A portfolio resume is a creative resume style that can be used for many different types of job search. If you’re applying for work in a visual industry, like photography or art, you might want a portfolio resume to show samples of your work. If you’re applying for a teaching job, you can include sample lesson plans and homework assignments in your portfolio.
Your portfolio resume might be a personal website with a link you put on your paper resume (just make sure the link works!). It might be a daring single-page document that uses both image and text to show your work. Or it might be a full-length career portfolio with work samples, publications, and achievements, kept in a three-ring binder. A career portfolio is also a great reference point when you’re prepping for an interview or writing a cover letter.
A portfolio helps you stand out from other job seekers, since you’ll always have samples of your work to show. There are many different portfolio resume styles, so choose the one that’s best for your job search.
A Word on Resume Formats
Resume style is different from resume format, but you’ll need to consider both when creating the resume that best fits your unique work experience.
Each resume style can be in one of three different formats. This quick guide will help you choose the format that works best with your work history and desired job.
Chronological Resume Format
A chronological resume (or reverse-chronological resume) lists your employment history in reverse-chronological order, so potential employers can easily see where you worked and how long you were at each position. This format is good if you have lots of work experience and accomplishments in your desired field.
Functional Resume Format
A functional resume format puts the focus on your skills and abilities, rather than on the timeline of your work. A common misconception is that functional resumes are used to hide a lack of work experience. While it is true that they are a great option if you don’t have much experience or are changing industries, a functional resume can also be a useful option in a range of other situations.
A resume that focuses on skills, rather than experience, is often a good fit when employers need to know what you’re capable of doing, such as in the medical field. This doesn’t mean that work history won’t be on your resume at all, just that it won’t be the main focus.
Combination Resume Format
A combination or hybrid resume puts equal focus on your skills and work history. The hybrid resume format lets you highlight your professional experience and the abilities you offer as a job candidate. This is particularly effective when you want to show potential employers equal information about your skills and experience.
There’s no need to start from scratch. If you need advice on how to write your resume or a sample resume, use this guide to decide which style will suit you best, and find the perfect free resume template.