Resume Types and When to Use Them

Chronological Resumes

The chronological resume begins with a list of the job applicant’s previous work history. This list of jobs appears in reverse chronological order, with the most recent job listed first. The strength
of this type of resume is that it showcases the depth and breadth of the work history for a prospective employer. A chronological resume is a popular choice for a job seeker with a solid, dependable job history.

Functional Resumes

The functional resume emphasizes particular job skills and experience rather than job history. The functional resume is popular with job seekers who have gaps in their work history or have a varied and erratic work history. It is also a good choice for recent college graduates who may not have much job experience, and have skills from experiences other than gainful employment.

Key Differences

At first glance, the chronological and functional resumes look very similar. Both types are about the same length — no more than a page or two — and are broken down into sections with subheadings. Unlike the chronological resume, the functional resume lists work history in order of importance rather than chronologically, and does not require the job seeker to list the dates for the listed jobs. Another key difference is that in a functional resume, the work history appears near the end of the resume rather than at the beginning.

Beat the Glance

Whether you create a chronological or a functional resume, know this: most employers spend 20 second or less scanning your resume and cover letter for the first time. In those few seconds, you need to clearly demonstrate how your skills, experience, education, and characteristics match what they are looking for. 20 seconds isn’t long to make that kind of impression.

Written By: Amber Cutshaw