Chronological Resume vs. Functional Resume

Your first point of contact with an employer is your resume.  You must think of your resume and a marketing tool or advertisement that will entice a potential employer to know more about you.  You must put a great deal of effort into creating a resume that highlights all of your skills and experience in an extraordinary way.   It establishes the first impression of your skills, background, and hiring value. The purpose is not to get you the job but to get you in the door for an interview.

In creating your resume, organizing the information can be a bit of a challenge.  The two most common resume formats are chronological and functional.  Each resume format has its advantages.  However, choosing a design depends on the individuals’ situation and circumstance.  Here is some information to help you decide which format will work best for you.


Chronological Resume
This is the most common format used by job seekers.  It lists each job you have held in order, beginning with the most recent.   A chronological resume typically goes back no more than ten years.  Experience before that is generally left off unless that experience is relevant to the position you’re seeking.  You must show how your career has grown during this time which is crucial if you seek a job that is a step above the most recent position on your resume.

This format works best if you have:

  • a solid work history
  • made good progress in your field
  • a conventional and conservative career
  • worked with some reputable organizations

Functional Resume

A functional resume is less used in the workforce; however, it can be beneficial.  It draws attention to skill sets and achievements rather than to your work history.  Your skill sets should be divided into areas of specialization which is appealing to potential employers. Each area should have a list of accomplishments that demonstrate proficiency with that skill.

This format works best if you have:

  • recently graduated from college
  • transitioned into a new career
  • recently reentered the workforce
  • an unstable work history

It is essential to keep these things in mind when deciding on a resume format that works best for you.  Don’t allow your resume to end up in the trash or a pile with the non-qualified.   Regardless of the format used, you must sell yourself and get the interview.

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