Formatting your resume is an important decision in the resume development process. If your qualifications are presented in the right format, the reader can identify you as a worthy candidate in less than eight seconds. There are two basic resume formats: chronological and functional. Decide which format works best for you by reviewing the following guidelines:
The chronological format is the most traditional resume format. It highlights your job titles, places of employment, and dates of tenure by presenting them as headings under which your achievements are listed. The chronological format is most useful when:
- You are staying in the same field.
- Your overall work history shows growth, making your job objective a natural next step in your career path.
- Your most recent (or current) position is one you are proud of.
- You have no gaps in your work history.
The functional format presents your experience under skill headings, giving you the freedom to prioritize your accomplishments by impact rather than by chronology. In this format, your employer history is listed very concisely in a section separate from your professional achievements. The functional format is most useful when:
- You are changing careers.
- You are reentering the job market.
- You need to emphasize skills or experience from an early part of your work history.
- Your volunteer experience is relevant and needs to be highlighted.
- Your most recent position is not impressive.
- Your job titles do not accurately reflect the level of responsibility you had.
Both chronological and functional resume formats require achievement statements to describe your experiences and results in past working environments. Be sure to include proper dates, company names, and responsibilities regardless of the type of resume you use.