Which Type of Resume Should I Choose?
Did you know that there are many different types of resumes? The type of resume you use will depend on how much experience you have in the industry you’re applying to work in. See how much information you have to fill out your resume and make your choice accordingly.
There are three primary resume types, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses:
Chronological: Resume that lists out jobs the applicant has had in the chronology they occurred (with the most recent job on the top). This type of resume makes it easy for employers to scan to see what jobs you’ve had in the past.
Works Best For: If you are applying for a role very similar to one you have had in the past, it can be good to show off your job titles with this type of resume. Also, if you are applying for a job with a bit more responsibility than you had in your last job, a chronological resume can show off the fact that you have taken on additional responsibility in your jobs over the years.
Functional: A functional resume focuses on skills you have gained and experience you have had. If your job title doesn’t truly indicate what you’ve done, a functional resume can help highlight those important features of the role.
Works Best For: If you have gaps in your work history, or don’t want to focus on the fact that you only stayed at one or more jobs for a few months, a functional resume can instead focus on your skills. Also, if the job you are applying for requires specific experience, a functional resume can highlight these skills and bring them to the forefront of your resume.
If you’re new to working, use a functional resume and include experience gained at jobs you were not paid for as well as volunteer work.
Sometimes you need the power of both functional and chronological in your resume. That’s where the combination resume comes in. Your skills and experience come at the top of the resume, followed by your reverse chronological work history. This allows you to be more detailed in showing what you learned on the job.
Works Best For: Situations where you could tell more about your work experience, but don’t want to crowd a single section with your responsibilities. A combination resume is often given when applying for professional level jobs.
Deciding Which to Use
It’s a good idea to have one of each type of resume, then modify it for the job you are applying for. If you don’t have much work experience, a chronological resume might be pretty empty of information, so you should use a functional resume to highlight skills you’ve learned in any and all jobs.
For example, if you are applying for your first full time professional job after college and you have only worked at an ice cream shop, highlight your leadership experience, as well as any responsibilities you were given due to being a hard worker. If the manager gave you a key to open the store each day, mention that. Focus on the valuable skills you learned, and additional responsibilities you were given, rather than the fact that you scooped ice cream.
If you have a great deal of work experience, consider either a functional or combination resume. Read carefully through the job description to understand what the employer is looking for, then highlight your relevant experience.
More Resume Tips
It’s important to tailor your resume for the job you are applying for. It shouldn't be exactly the same for each position. If one job wants a Spanish speaker and you are fluent, bring that information to the forefront. If another wants more technical skills, focus on your past experience that may help you win this job.
Always spellcheck your resume, and make sure your current contact information is on the resume. Keep your resume to one page or two at the most.
If you keep multiple versions of your resume, save them with a descriptive title, like High School Teacher, or Professor, so you can start with the appropriate template to modify for the current job you’re interested in.
Craft your cover letter to highlight some of the relevant experience found in your resume, but word it differently.
Email or mail your resume to the employer, depending on the company’s request in the job description.