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What Is the Difference Between a Functional and Chronological Resume

What Is the Difference Between a Functional and Chronological Resume?

When it comes to job searching, nothing is more important than the resume. It is the point of contact that will paint a picture of you and, most importantly, show your experience and skills to employers. Resumes are the first thing that will determine if a job opens or closes its doors to you. With so much riding on them, many people get flustered when it comes time to write one. While the process can appear stressful at first, it gets a lot easier when you know what to do. The first thing you need to know is that resumes are not fixed in format. There are numerous types of resumes, and each has its pros and cons. However, the two most popular ones are the functional resume and chronological resume. Both have their advantages, and it is essential to know whether a chronological or functional resume will present your achievements in a better light.

Getting the right resume is all about tailoring it to your specific situation. MyComputerCareer aims to not only provide technical and certification training to students but also show them how to present their knowledge during a job search. Find out how we can help you secure a job in your desired field.

Chronological Resumes

Chronological resumes are the most common resume format used by job seekers. Chronological resumes contain an objective, career summary statement, and a chronological listing of previous employment history and accomplishments. Along with this, an individual adds information about education, as well as certifications and special skills. While all this information can be found on any other resume, it is a timeline of reverse work experience with brief explanations of each job that makes them what they are. In order to identify if a chronological resume is the right thing for you, it is vital to understand their main benefit.

Great For an Overview

A chronological work history format puts a timeline on relevant professional experience and achievements. Hiring managers like this resume type because they give a clear overview of a candidate’s previous positions and are easy to scan through. They are a popular choice due to how straightforward they are to put together. However, it is important to know that chronological resumes are not always the best choice. In certain situations, they can even end up costing you an interview.

When Should You Use a Chronological Resume

A chronological resume style is a perfect format for people that have a good work history in a certain field. Chronological resumes are a good choice for:

  • Experienced workers seeking a job similar to their previous experiences: If you love your current job duties but just want to change employers, then the chronological resume is the go-to option. It allows hiring managers to go over your work history and see exactly how much experience you have in a particular field. 
  • People that have always held similar job titles: Any job seeker that has amassed a lot of experience in a particular field is better off going for the chronological resume. It gives insight into your specialized job history and helps highlight the skill you have, as well as your dedication, experience, and relevance in the field. If the job description highlights a need for your skills, then you will have a significant upper hand.
  • Climbed the professional ladder: Chronological resumes are a great way to show that you can strive for improvement and are able to learn and accept more responsibility. A lot of prospective employers are interested in hiring ambitious and hardworking people.
  • No unaccounted gaps: Anyone that has a stable and regular timeline in their industry should go for the chronological resume. It shows that you have continuous work experience in your field.

Functional Resumes

Functional resumes, also called skills-based resumes, are the second most popular type of resume format applicants tend to use. They present information by showing useful job skills, instead of listing job titles and job history in reverse chronological order. The aim of the functional resume is to paint a picture of an applicant’s skills. Because of the fact that these resumes focus more on an individual’s skill set, they allow applicants to better tailor content to a specific position they are trying to get.

When is a Functional Resume Best

While a functional resume is more customizable, it is not always the best option. Some employers consider them a red flag and might think a candidate is hiding something. However, they are a good option in certain cases:

  • Perfect for a recent graduate: Anyone that has little to no job history should opt for a functional resume. You might lack the experience that more seasoned professionals have, but you can make up for that by highlighting your skills in the field.
  • Job hoppers: Job hopping can be considered a red flag by certain hiring managers. Whether this is a personal choice or the result of pure chance, then it is better to use a functional resume.
  • Career changers: People that have gone through different fields and jobs numerous times are likely to have a wide array of skills. In such instances, it can be best to focus on these skills instead of your chronology. If you want to include some job history as well, then consider a hybrid resume that combines aspects of both functional and chronological resumes.
  • Switching careers: Anyone who is transitioning into a brand new career should consider functional resumes. It allows you to highlight skills, certifications, and the education you have. Shifting focus on this can be a lot more attractive than listing unrelated job titles and duties.
  • Gaps in work history: People that have a gap in their employment history can avoid drawing attention to that by using the functional resume format. It allows you to show your skillset, experience, and knowledge, while not highlighting the gap in your work history.

When it comes to resume writing, it is important to know what the resume objective is. Are you trying to portray your impressive history and relevant skills associated with that, or are you trying to show your versatility, knowledge, and potential? This is what the chronological vs. functional resume debate boils down to. If you are unsure how to proceed with writing a resume, or are even having issues with other aspects like the cover letter, then consider the help of career coaches. They can help you tailor resumes, provide cover letter tips, and assist with networking. MyComputerCareer provides highly sought after IT courses and career services that help you land a job as quickly as possible. For more information about our services, contact us today

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