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Chronological Or Functional Resume Format – How Do You Decide Which One To Use?

Chronological Or Functional Resume Format – How Do You Decide Which One To Use?

Deciding on what format to use is the first major decision to be made when creating your resume. The overall look of your resume depends on the format, font and outline you choose.

The two main types of format in use are the chronological and functional formats.

When to Use the Chronological Format

A chronological resume is the easiest to create and it is also the most widely used format.

A chronological resume format allows you to list your job experiences starting with the most recent and moving back in time.

This allows employers to see your progression in the career field

If you are staying in your career field, this format will allow employers to see if you are qualified for the job you are applying for. It may not be beneficial for people changing career fields.

When To Use The Functional Resume Format

Functional formats are more difficult to create and are not widely used. However, they are suitable in situations where people are changing career fields.

The functional format is based more on skill development. The format is non-linear and the emphasis is on development and achievements.

You can list experiences other than paid jobs.

Employers will be able to see your progressive skill developments that qualify you for the job

Some people choose to combine the two resume formats to gain the benefits of each and avoid their shortcomings.

Scannable Resume Format

Another type of format you may have to use is the scannable resume. Many employers store resumes in electronic databases nowadays. Resumes are scanned into these databases.

This can lead to some problems, as old scanners can sometimes dramatically change the look of your resume.

It is beneficial to build both a scannable resume and a printed resume which you can bring to your interviews

To overcome this you can create a scannable resume. A scannable resume is a traditional resume, stored preferably as a plain text file and with little formatting.

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

Another important decision you have to make about your format is the length of your resume. There are no specific rules on how long your resume should be.

Resume length can vary depending on your situation. The length of your resume will depend on how much space you need to compactly and precisely list your relevant skills and accomplishments.

If you an entry-level candidate, you can have a one page, neatly typed, compact resume. For professionals with a lot of experience, a two or three page resume can greatly impress employers.

Choice of Fonts

Keep the font of your resume simple. Classic fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial are recognized by nearly all computers.

If you use other font styles, there will be a risk that the employer’s computer does not support the particular font. Also if it is too fancy, it might turn off the employer.

Remember that …
The most important information will be listed on the top of the resume as it is the first to catch the employer’s eye. In the middle is the part which will get briefly scanned. The bottom part of the resume will not get much attention, unless you get the interview.

Your resume structure should take this into account

If you are having trouble deciding on a resume format, you can consult free resume sites on the internet. They can provide you with samples so that you can pick out a format that is best for your situation.

Alternatively, have a look at our combination resume format.

Resume format, font, length, etc, collectively will form the overall presentation of the document. The purpose of your resume is to market your services to employers.

Resume format and resume style can tell the employer a lot about your communication and organization skills. Therefore the format is very important in preparing a proper presentation of your resume.

Are You Thinking About Using Sample Resumes?

Any job seeker looking for resume examples can usually find loads of them without having to look very far

A multitude of sites today are offering free samples on the internet, in addition to the avalanche of books that are released each year touting resume examples.

One of the best and most popular places to find high quality articles is from article directories such as EzineArticles.com etc.

With this kind of information overload it can be quite easy for the unsuspecting job seeker to become mired down in samples, moving from one to the next in their pursuit of the “ultimate” professional resume example that will land them the job of their dreams.

Making Sample Formats Work for You

Every book and website has a different twist, a different acclamation to insure you their sample resumes are the absolute best.

The truth is that sample resumes, for the most part, do not vary much

That is not to say there are not certain guidelines and tips a job seeker should follow, but there is not a free resume example in the world that will get you the job you want. Only your skills, experience and determination will land you the job you seek.

Sample resumes do serve a purpose …

… and that is to assist you in placing your information on a resume in the manner that will best market your skills and experience to the employer.

In order to do that, you do not need to surf thousands of web pages or study an entire library of books on sample resumes. You simply need to understand the purpose of each of the four basic types of resume and current resume guidelines.

Functional Format

In a sample functional resume, the focus is on your skills rather than your work history. This type of format is great for individuals who may not have remained at jobs for long periods of time or for individuals who have held numerous jobs. This type of resume can also work well for individuals who are changing careers and want to shift the focus from their work history and what they may have done in the past to their skills and what they wish to do in the future.

Chronological Format

In a chronological resume, the focus is on work history, giving a clear indication of where you have worked and how long you worked there. This type of resume is good for individuals who have had a stable work history and are looking to stay within the same career field.

Combination Format

In a combination resume, the benefits of the chronological and the functional resumes can be combined in order to emphasize specific transferable skills.

Curriculum Vitae Format

A curriculum vitae, or CV resume differs from the chronological and functional resume in that it can be a bit longer and contains information the other two resumes do not such as description of papers written, and related professional and association memberships. This type of resume is geared towards individuals who are applying for work in international firms or in academic fields.

Apply these Resume Guidelines

In regards to guidelines, resume samples usually give the same advice:

  • Include an objective statement that is clear, focused and concise.
  • Do not include personal information such as marital status and age.
  • Focus on accomplishments, not activities. Above all, be honest.

Formatting Tips

Knowledge of the numerous formatting options available is a definite advantage in designing a great resume.

However, using as many of the formatting options as possible is not a good idea. You could easily end up with a resume that is hard on the eyes and virtually unreadable.

The best approach is to select a combination of formatting options that compliment each other and make it easy on the reader to focus on your strengths.

It helps to print out draft copies of your resume using different combinations to see what works best for you. In most cases, simplicity gives the best results.

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