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What’s the Best Resume Format in 2022?

Mass remote work. All-digital hiring processes. Advances in upskilling and reskilling. So much about the workforce ecosystem has been in flux for the past year-plus, is it any surprise that resume best practices are evolving as well?

To help you understand what's new, what isn't—and stand out from the competition—we've broken down the three highest-impact resume formats for 2022:

Actionable guidance. Downloadable templates. Tips to help you optimize for the latest hiring tech. This is the definitive resume playbook for 2022.

1. Reverse-Chronological Resumes

Overview
• Presents an easy-to-follow, linear career narrative, beginning with your most recent professional experience and working backward from there
• The most widely used resume format
Advantages
• Eliminates confusion and presents your professional experience in a clear, easy-to-understand format
• Usually creates an impression of career growth and progression
Drawbacks
• May call attention to gaps in your employment history
• Skills and competencies aren't always clear
• Not the best format if you're pursuing a new path in your career

The most widely used resume format among job seekers today, reverse-chronological resumes are also probably the easiest for recruiters and hiring managers to understand at a glance—which is itself an advantage. What's more, starting with your most recent experience, then working backward in time, helps frame your career within a narrative of growth and progression.

In other words, don't be put off by the fact that this resume format is so common, because it can be used to present your candidacy as anything but.

Structurally, these resumes consist of three parts, enumerated in the following image. You should also download our reverse-chronological resume template if you're looking for more detailed, hands-on guidance.

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1. Start with your name and contact information (which should be pretty straightforward), type in the role you're applying for (make it an H1) and move on to the candidate statement. This is where you should try to connect your experience, interests and areas of expertise to the role in question. Keep it succinct (two or three sentences).

2. Next, summarize—two or three sentences max—your day-to-day responsibilities in the role, keeping the details at a fairly high level and saving specific accomplishments for the bullet points below. Try to make the tone and voice consistent with what you wrote earlier in your candidate statement.

3. Finally, wrap up. This section is where you should provide a quick summary of relevant details around education, certification or training you have received.

2. Functional Resumes

Overview
• Functional resumes zero in on specific projects, experiences and outcomes, thereby placing the emphasis on your skills and competencies, rather than your overall career progression
Advantages
• Great option for candidates who work in project-based, freelance or consultative capacities
• Shows how you contribute value by connecting skills to outcomes
Drawbacks
• Doesn't chronologically document your career trajectory—the timeline can be hard to grasp
• Raises questions for some recruiters and hiring managers

Less common than reverse-chronological resumes, functional resumes offer something else entirely: a more narrowly focused and curated window into your professional experience. By dialing down the gestalt and dialing up the details, this resume format not only highlights skills and proficiencies but connects them to outcomes and applications.

In a nutshell, a functional resume announces, "This is what I do best, and this is exactly where and how l'll contribute value."

So that's the upside.

The downside is that there are other things functional resumes don't do especially well. For example, when did you take on additional responsibilities at work? At what point were you rewarded with a promotion? Details like these get lost on a purely functional resume, since there's no overarching, high-level view of your career.

In other words, while this is definitely the best resume format for some candidates, it's important to recognize that it come with strengths as well as weaknesses. To make that more concrete, let's zoom in and look at this resume format in more detail.

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1. Again, jotting down your name and contact information is the first piece of the puzzle. Next, write the name of the job you're applying for, followed by a short candidate statement, which answers the vital "why" questions: Namely, why should you be called up for an interview? Why are you the right candidate for this job?

2. This is where you can break down your most directly relevant work experience for the job at hand. Emphasize dollars-and-cents value, or quantitative benefits you've delivered in the past, as much as possible. You want your skills to stand out.

3. Close with relevant information about certifications, education or training you have received.

3. Combined Resumes

Overview
• Combined resumes bring together the narrowly focused, more curated approach of a functional resume with the holistic perspective of a reverse-chronological resume
ADVANTAGES
• Highlights key areas where you can make an impact without skipping over the broader story of your overall work experience
• Can be more concise than a reverse-chronological resume
DRAWBACKS
• Usually less concise than a strictly functional resume
• May not be immediately clear to hiring managers and recruiters what type of resume they're dealing with

Some candidates will decide on a third course, the combined resume, a hybrid of the two resume formats we've covered so far. It's a way of laying out your overall career trajectory while also foregrounding your most relevant skills and areas of expertise. The former gives recruiters and hiring managers a sense of where you're coming from (and where you might be a good culture fit for the organization); the latter highlights how you'll contribute value.

Given the rise of agile workforce—and an increased reliance on contractors for project-based work in general—it stands to reason that this resume format going to become more popular in the future. So if you think this is the right format for you, good! Just be sure to adequately document your previous work experience. For example, including names of companies, dates worked, titles held and other details matters a lot. Otherwise, those omissions could look suspect in the eyes of a prospective employer.

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1. Note that this one looks a lot like a functional resume, but with one notable addition (see number three). As before, start with your name, the job you're applying for and your candidate statement.

2. Call out projects, skills and experiences that are relevant to the job you're applying for, doing your best to quantify deliverables—for example, the budget, timeline for completion or number of stakeholders involved—wherever possible.

3. Document your work history, adhering to the organizational principles of a reverse-chronological resume—that is, starting with your most recent work experience and working backward in time from there. Be sure to include dates. Keep this as succinct as possible.

4. Finally, be sure to include information around certifications, education or training that you have received.


Join Our Team Today!

Ready to put your new resume skills to the ultimate test? Check out all of the ways you can join our team at Johnson & Johnson—and while you're at it, be sure to sign up for our Global Talent Hub, as well. The latter is a great way to stay in touch, learn more about our culture and even get updates about jobs that might interest you in the future.

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