Chronological? Functional? Combination? What difference does it make which format you use for your resume?
It's all about timing. With the right format, you can grab an employer's interest during his or her initial eight-second scan of your resume.
During those few seconds he or she wants to see:
If the employer can't grasp that information in a quick scan, he or she is apt to set the resume aside or, even worse, discard it.
The right resume format (chronological, functional, or combination) organizes your information so that it passes an employer's eight-second test.
So which format should you use?
The best format for you to use depends on what type of career transition you're making, and one format is usually the most effective (see below).
Here are guidelines for when to use each format.
The most traditional format is the chronological resume. This format highlights your dates, places of employment, and job titles, presenting them as headings under which your accomplishments are written.
The chronological format can be most effective when:
The functional resume presents your work experience under skill headings, which gives you the freedom to prioritize your achievements by their relevance and impact rather than by chronology. The dates, names of employers, and job titles in your work history are listed concisely in a separate section, usually at the bottom of your resume.
This resume format is not highly regarded by most employers because it's not easy to figure out what happened where in an applicant's work history. For that reason, do not use it unless:
Recruiters typically do not respond well to functional resumes.
This is the format most popular today. The combination resume format is a hybrid of the chronological and functional resumes.
Starting with the functional format, a small section at the top of the resume -- often called the Summary of Qualifications -- highlights the job seeker's skills apppropriate to the job they are seeking.
The rest of the resume is in the standard chronological format. Skill headings are inserted under job title and employer headings to emphasize the relevant skills used on that particular job.
Employers like the combination format because it clearly displays the job seeker's work history. Job seekers like this format because it highlights their skills.
The combination format is a great choice if: