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Chronological vs. Functional Resumes

Your resume has about 30 seconds to impress a recruiter. Choosing the right resume format can help put your resume in the "to interview" stack. The good news is that for most professions, there are just two types of resumes to choose from: chronological and functional.

While each type of resume has its own benefits, recruiters do prefer one format over the other.

Chronological Resume

Three out of four employers prefer chronological resumes. In fact, most online job sites only accept this type of resume.

So what is a chronological resume? A chronological resume is a timeline of your work experience, in reverse order. In other words, your most recent experience will be listed on your resume first and your least recent experience will be listed on your resume last

A chronological resume is best suited for individuals who:
Recruiters tend to like the chronological resume format because it shows a logical progression in the candidate's career. The format is also easier for recruiters to read.

Functional Resume

If you feel that your previous work history is a major obstacle for you in finding a new job, a functional resume might be right for you. Functional resumes can be used by individuals who:
A functional resume allows you to organize your resume by the skills that you have, rather than by your dates of employment (as required in the chronological format).

Regardless of your work history, it is strongly recommended that you avoid using the functional resume format as it automatically raises a red flag when it comes across the recruiter's desk. Often times, individuals who use functional resumes have something to hide, and recruiters are aware of this.

In order to get around the red flag, briefly explain the situation upfront in your cover letter and submit a chronological resume instead.

Resume, interview and other career-related articles written by Tony Lim of <> . Empowering Job Seekers.