Functional vs. Chronological Resumes
- The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service
There are three basic types of resumes--reverse
chronological, functional, and a combination of the two.
A reverse-chronological resume arranges your
experience and education in chronological order with the most recent
dates first. One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a
resume writer is, "Do I have to list all of my jobs? It makes me
look so old!" My answer is always, "No, you don't have to list every
single position you have ever held. The trick is to pick and choose
the ones that are relevant to your objective." You can also eliminate
low-level positions and positions that duplicate later experience.
Relevant is the keyword here!
More than half of the resumes on this site are
reverse-chronological, but that doesn't mean a different type of
resume might not fit your needs better. This section will show you
what is possible with a functional resume in case that style better
fits your needs.
A functional resume organizes your work experience
by the functions you performed regardless of date. The functional
resume highlights your skills and potential instead of your work
history. It allows you to play down gaps in your experience and
is especially good for those people entering the job market for
the first time. If you are reentering the job market, for example,
after raising children, this type of resume also allows you to list
volunteer experience and community or school activities.
List your functional paragraphs in their order
of importance, with the items listed first that will help you get
the particular job you are targeting. Refer to the
twelve-step resume writing process for
ideas on how to rearrange your resume sentences to better capture
your reader's attention.
You should know that there are very rare times
when I would recommend a purely functional resume, however. In the
1980s, true functional resumes developed a bad reputation because
applicants were not listing where they gained their experience.
It made recruiters suspicious that the applicant was trying to hide
something, and they normally were. A combination functional/chronological
resume will avoid this problem. Always list a brief synopsis of
your actual work experience at the bottom of your functional resume
with your title, employer, and the dates worked.
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Give Your Resume an Edge!
From Designing the Perfect Resume, by Pat Criscito.
Copyright 2000. Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's
Educational Series, Inc.