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Which Format Is Best for Your Resume?

Your resume is an all-important document that will greatly influence how successful your job search is. That’s why you’ll want to use a resume format that effectively showcases your skills and highlights your qualifications. While most people stick to a traditional, chronological resume, others may want to use a functional resume. Here’s how they differ, and how to decide when a functional resume is a good idea.

Chronological Resume

This is the most common type of resume where you present your objective, job history, education, etc., in reverse chronological order. Hiring managers can then comb through your information to learn more about your experience and qualifications. Using a chronological resume makes sense when you’ve got significant experience in an industry and few to no employment gaps.

Functional Resume

This differs from a chronological resume because it focuses more on your skills and abilities rather than your actual job history. Although you’ll still include a brief summary of your work experience, a functional resume is primarily designed to sell yourself to potential employers. The idea is that by the time they make it to the end of your resume and see what you bring to the table, they’ll want to contact you for an interview.

When Would I Want to Use a Functional Resume?

This is ideal when you don’t necessarily have an extensive work history, there are gaps in your employment or you’re looking to enter into a new industry. Using a chronological resume under these types of circumstances would probably hurt your chances because a hiring manager would be likely to pass over you simply because you don’t have the right qualifications thus reducing your odds of landing an interview.

However, a functional resume with its emphasis on your talent and strengths is more likely to capture their attention.

Should You Have Both Formats Ready?

It definitely doesn’t hurt to have a resume in both formats, and this can increase your likelihood of landing a job. If you’re applying for a position where you’ve got plenty of relevant experience and have held jobs in that industry over the past five years or so, then a chronological resume would make sense.

But if you’re applying for a job where you lack relevant experience and haven’t held any jobs in that particular industry, you’d be better off sending in a functional resume.

Seldom is a resume one-size-fits-all. You’ll want to ensure that you’re presenting a resume that plays to your strengths and paints you in the best possible light. If a chronological resume simply doesn’t make sense, a functional resume should help you get your foot in the door. But for maximum impact, it’s ideal to have a version available in both formats.

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