Chronological and Functional Resume Formats

The chronological resume is the gold standard of formats; it gives your job history in an easy to read format, and it’s the choice of recruiters everywhere.  This recession has made many workers rethink their careers and retrain for new ones, and that means that they need a new format to market their skills.  Enter the Functional Resume – a way to talk more about what you can do, and less about what you’ve done in the past.

Previously, employers viewed functional resumes with resignation.  They knew that the functional format indicated a career changer – someone who knew in their heart of hearts that she wasn’t qualified for the position at hand.  Now, the functional resume format may also alert them that the candidate is a motivated jobseeker who may bring extra value to the position.

The combination chronological and functional format is one that gives you the best of both worlds.  You can use the top of the resume to highlight skills for the position, and demonstrate your experience in the chronology below.  This format can give quick assurance that you meet educational requirements use other headings that emphasize qualifications.

For instance, you might emphasize your management, administrative, budgeting or purchasing skills in any combination or order.  If you use this format to highlight skills, be sure to emphasize your accomplishments. 

Instead of this:

“Responsible for managing a team of sales reps in large territory”

Try this:

“Managed a high-performing team of sales reps in four state territory; increased annual sales by over 30%.”

The career site offers this advice on action verbs in a transitional resume:

“Drove, taught, and worked are all acceptable action verbs. But know that not all action verbs are equal. Some action verbs have more punch. And the good news is that they can be easily substituted for the less powerful verbs. Rather than driving a delivery truck, why not operate the delivery truck? The word operate implies more than the word drive. It implies a level of professionalism, a more than casual interest in propelling a vehicle from point A to point B. Operate is a more sophisticated way of saying that you drove a truck and, like it or not, reviewers will lean toward sophistication.” offers a series of articles on the merits of different resume styles with examples of chrono-functional resumes and the rest.  Find the information here.

1 thought on “Chronological and Functional Resume Formats

  1. Rosemary

    Always good advice. Thanks


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