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Types of Resumes

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There are three basic types of resumes: chronological, functional, and one which is a hybrid of the two. The type of resume to be used should be based on the job and industry. Each type of resume has characteristics which make it the more desirable choice depending on the job for which you are applying. A resume writing service would recommend the appropriate type of resume.

Below, you can learn about how each of the three types of resumes are formatted, and the situations in which they should be used.

Chronological Resume

Just as the name suggests a chronological resume is one which outlines the experience of the applicant in (reverse) chronological order, and traditionally spans the preceding ten to fifteen years. Each position* is listed with the title held, and the starting and ending date. The chronological resume is a good way to highlight accomplishments and growth; for this reason, a chronological resume is not recommended for those who have been out of work for a while or those who have large gaps in their employment history.

*Promotions or job changes within the same company should be listed separately.

Functional Resume

A functional resume is organized based on the applicant’s skills and work experience and is categorized by job function and skills. The skills highlighted in a functional resume are not tailored to a specific job but are rather a showcase of professional abilities and summaries of capabilities in a more detailed fashion as compared to a chronological resume. A functional resume is useful for those changing careers, returning to work after a long absence from the workforce, or ones with large gaps in the employment history.

Combination Resume

The combination resume incorporates the strengths of both the chronological and functional resume into a hybrid format. The combination resume begins with a functional overview of the applicants skills, and is followed by a chronological outline; this approach tends to duplicate some information which is less desirable since the goal of the resume is to make a quick impression and incorporate the full breadth of the applicants experience in as brief a format as possible (without sacrificing quality, of course).

Comparison Chart

ChronologicalFunctionalCombination (Hybrid)
OverviewLists the work history of the applicant in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent (hopefully relevant) position.Highlights the skill and capabilities of the applicant and organizes them based on skills and abilities.Combines features of both the chronological and functional resume.
AdvantageIt is the most common type familiar to hiring managers, and is an easy-to-write format, which highlights job titles, and career advancement.Draws attention away from a work history which has gaps by highlighting specific skills, and abilities.Show career advancement while at the same time highlighting abilities which may specifically be advantageous for a position.
DisadvantageDraws attention to employment gaps which can be seen as lack of reliability and consistency. It is also difficult to highlight skills.It is not popular among employers as it may indicate the applicant is trying to hide something (e.g., age, gaps in work history).The acceptable formatting of the hybrid resume pushes the work history down into the second page which is not desirable.
Best Use CaseIt is best used to highlight career advancement, particularly in a field directly or closely related to the field in which the applicant is targeting.Ideal for highlighting skills which are transferable across industries, and also helpful for people entering the workforce for the first time, or after a long absence therefrom.It is best used for when someone is changing careers, and needs to highlight experience and skills rather than career advancement within a specific industry.
NotesAvoid this format if you have gaps in your employment history for which you do not have a good explanation.Avoid this format if you are looking to highlight career advancement within a specific industry.Avoid this format if you have limited experience or have large gaps in your work history.

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