Functional resume format
If you're faced with writing a resume, choosing a chronological or functional resume
format is one of the first decisions you'll have to make. Picking yourself out of one of
the following real-life scenarios can help answer the question. First, some quick
The Chronological Resume Format
The calling card of the chronological format is a detailed work history that is
organized by chronology (historical timeline). In most cases, your current or most
recent employer is listed first and the timeline flows in reverse chronological order
with your most distant position last in the lineup. It's simple and straightforward. Jobs
near the top are presumed more relevant to your objective, and thus are detailed to a
greater degree than earlier positions. This chronological work history typically
commands the most real estate on the resume, with the education section following,
and an objective statement just prior.
The Functional Resume Format
In a departure from a timeline concept, the functional format relies on a categorical,
skills-based section to demonstrate your relevant qualifications. It collects the
marketable skills you've mastered from past work, organizes those skills into three or
more succinct categories, and places those categories front and center on the resume.
And in doing so, it cuts out all mention of the chronological job listings from which
those skills were lifted.
8 Real-Life Scenarios That Call For The Chronological
Check your professional status. If you fit into one of the following groups, then your
resume will generally be best served by a chronological format.
1. Your work history shows progressively responsible experience within the
same professional discipline, if that discipline remains your objective.
2. You've worked for impressive employers (i.e. nationally recognized "Blue
3. You're a candidate for a senior management or executive position.
4. You're going to be working with an executive recruiter.
5. You anticipate an international job search.
6. You're reentering the work force after an absence.. but remaining in your
7. You're transitioning from military to civilian life... but you're looking to
perform a similar job function (i.e. materials management).
8. You're a new graduate... and you have experience in your chosen field.
5 Real-Life Scenarios That Call For The Functional
If you fit into one of the following groups, then your resume will generally be best
served by a functional format.
1. You've experienced frequent job changes or you have gaps in your
2. You're changing careers (i.e. warehousing to sales).
3. You're transitioning from military to civilian life... and you're looking to
perform a different job function (i.e. from materials management with the
military to sales in civilian life).
4. You're overqualified for the position you're now seeking.
5. You're a new graduate... and you have no relevant experience in your chosen
Might A Combination Format Be Right?
Short answer: yes. In fact, a combination or 'hybrid' of both chronological and
functional formats makes sense for many professionals. Combining the positive
elements of both formats results in a resume that retains its familiarity to tradition (for
those who expect and favor a detailed chronology) while focusing initial attention on
a skills summary that puts a candidate's job qualifications front and center for those
critical first few seconds of reading. Learning how to effectively combine the two
becomes the challenge.