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Chronological, Functional or Combo

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Resume Formats

There are three major resume formats

  • Reverse Chronological (traditional)
  • Functional
  • Chronological/Functional.

I'm a firm believer in the superiority of the Chronological/Functional resume because it focuses on your achievements and skills, but still provides the comfort of a job history. However, it is not for everybody. The chart below explains the appropriate situations for each type. Also, pay attention to the needs of the resume reader when possible. If you think they want a different format than you used, give it to them.

Reverse Chronological Functional Chronological / Functional
Advantages Everybody understands it.

Clearly demonstrates career path including skill acquisition, advancement and titles.

Underscores job stability.

Emphasizes skills and achievements.

Makes skills and achievements from unpaid work and volunteer work as relevant as paid work.

Avoids repetition.

All of the advantages of both the Chronological Resume and the Functional Resume, except "everybody understands it", though most people will understand.
Disadvantages Highlights unstable employment history and career setbacks.

Repetitious if you've had the same responsibilities in multiple jobs.

Points out lack of appropriate experience when changing careers.

Does not showcase career advancement.

Creates suspicion due to lack of clear employment history.

Emphasizes unstable employment history and career setbacks.
Relevant and stable job history. Career changes or unstable job history. Relevant career or career changes, and stable job history.

Sections Profile, skills, job history with details, education and other interests.
Profile, achievements, skills, education and other interests. Profile, achievements, skills, job history without details, education and other interests.


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