A resume is a written summary introducing you and your accomplishments, abilities, skills, qualifications and experience to a potential employer. To properly manage your career today, you need a resume, or resumes, that will work for you in a variety of ways.
The traditional resume—a paper, or hard copy that was either handed or mailed to a company—used to be the only option. With technology came the dominance of scannable and emailable resumes. Whether a traditional, scannable or emailable resume, there are a number of formats that can be used when creating your resume. Where you are in your career and what you want your resume to accomplish will help determine the type of format you choose. Below is a brief description of each format and suggestions on when to use each.
The Chronological Resume
The chronological resume is the most popular and widely accepted resume format. It is organized by job title and presents your work experience in chronological order. This type of resume is easy to read and can be quickly scanned for employment history. Consider using a chronological resume when:
- Your employment history is steady and consistent, with no major gaps in employment.
- You haven’t changed career tracks recently.
- Your course of employment includes positions that progressively increased in responsibility and scope.
- Your past position titles are impressive and/or you were recently employed at a well-known company.
- Your major career accomplishments were achieved in your most recent positions.
The Functional Resume
The functional resume highlights your career skills, accomplishments and qualifications at the top, regardless of when they occurred in your career. Your employment history is not the focus and is accordingly positioned near the bottom of your resume.Consider using a functional resume when:
- You want to emphasize skills and accomplishments outside of your most recent position.
- You were out of the job market for an extended period of time and are reentering.
- You have held a variety of unrelated jobs.
- You are switching careers.
The Combination Resume
The combination format blends and amplifies the benefits of both chronological and functional resume formats. By beginning with a summary (functional format) of your most impressive qualifications, skills and accomplishments, combination resumes immediately place the emphasis where you want it. An employment history section (chronological format) follows your summary of career strengths. Consider using a combination resume when:
- Your employment history is steady and progressive.
- You are applying for a position for which the chronological resume is expected but you also want to highlight qualifications from earlier positions.
- You need a fast, effective means to match your skills to the job requirements. IBI