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Chronological Résumé vs. Functional Résumé

What’s the Difference?

The two most commonly-used résumé formats are: Chronological and Functional. Below you will find descriptions of these types of résumés, plus their respective advantages and disadvantages:

ChronologicalFunctional
  • Use if you have extensive, uninterrupted employment in the area in which you are seeking employment
  • Lists, describes and dates the specifics of each job and educational experience separately
  • Listings under each category are placed in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent
  • Use if you:
    • Lack direct job-related experience
    • Have too much or too varied professional experience and wish to consolidate it
    • Are attempting a career change and need to emphasize transferable skills
    • Are experienced, but have ”gaps” in your work history that you would like to minimize
  • Focuses on your strengths and skill areas, and de-emphasizes positions and dates
  • Skills are organized into categories
  • Always add a Work History section after your skill categories to give credibility to your experience and skills
Advantages
  • Easy to read, write and follow
  • Has been the most traditional
  • Emphasizes continuity and career growth
  • Usually stresses the most recent employment
  • Highlights the name of employer
  • Maximizes impact in a functional area without being tied to "paid" work experience
  • More flexibility in organizing information, e.g., according to interests, not chronology
  • De-emphasizes short–term work history
Disadvantages
  • If done the traditional way, hard to communicate skills and general strengths/qualities
  • Emphasizes gaps in employment
  • Dramatizes short-term employment
  • Most dependent upon past experience
  • Some employers are not accustomed to this format, and it can be confusing for employers to follow
  • It tends to play down direct work experience with specific employers