Creative Job Search
On-line Job Search Guide

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Resume Formats

There are three common resume formats: the Chronological, the Functional, and the Combination. By using a resume comparison chart you can determine which format and variation will best display your strengths. Your career objectives will also influence your choice. Another way to select the best format is to complete the accompaning resume worksheets.

Chronological -

The emphasis for this format is on a chronological listing of employment and employment related experiences. The format highlights the recent employment, while de-emphasizing experiences further back in time. The chronological resume is for those with a consistent employment history, no gaps in employment, and whose past employment experiences are directly related to their current employment goals. A steady work record with increasing responsibilities can be effectively showcased using this format. You would begin by listing your most recent employment experiences and working backward. Include dates, names and contact information such as address and phone numbers. This may NOT be the best format for individuals with job gaps, new graduates or a person changing careers.

When listing your experience, chronicle 5 to 10 years of employment history. Experiences over 10 years ago begin to lose impact and open the potential for age discrimination. If you have valuable experience beyond 10 years, there are ways to present it other than chronologically (see Functional and Combination resume formats).

Functional -

The functional resume highlights skills, experience and accomplishments without identifying specific dates, names and places. In this format, information is organized by functions or skills, advertising the specific qualifications needed for the occupation. This format works very well for people changing careers, including military personnel moving into civilian employment. It is also effective for those reentering the workforce after a gap in employment, first time job seekers, and people who want to emphasize experience that may be viewed as outdated. In a true functional resume there is no chronological listing of employment. Consequently, many employers do not like this format; it creates suspicion that the person may be trying to hide something. The employer may suspect a job hopper, an older applicant trying to disguise age, a lack of career progression, underemployment, employment gaps, or too little relevant experience.

Combination -

The combination resume brings the best of both the chronological and functional resumes. It features a functional section that highlights skills, accomplishments and experience. It also includes a chronological listing of employment, education and employment related experiences. The combination resume is a very effective format for many job seekers. The best chronological resume can be enhanced with a section highlighting skills, accomplishments, and experience. The functional resume can be strengthened with a chronological listing of employment experiences.

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