Creative Job Search
On-line Job Search Guide

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Resume Comparison Chart

FORMAT
Characteristic
Advantage
Disadvantage
Use
Don't Use If
Chronological
Presents info in reverse order, most recent experience listed first

Offers concise picture of you as a potential employee

Easy to write

Emphasizes steady employment record

Format is familiar

Calls attention to employment gaps

Skills are difficult to spot unless they are listed in the most recent job

To emphasize past career growth and development

When continuing in the same career

When the name of former employer may be significant to prospective employer

There are gaps in your work history

Calling attention to your age could be a problem

You have changed jobs often

Entering job market for first time or after a long absence

Functional
Focuses on specific strengths and skills important to employers Brief and well-structured

Focus on skills not history

De-emphasizes a spotty work history

No detailed work history

Content may appear to lack depth

When entering the job market or when reentering after a long absence

When work experience has been varied or unrelated

When changing careers

When primarily consulting or doing freelance work

Want to emphasize growth or development

Responsibilities and functions in recent jobs were limited

Combination
All the flexibility and strength of the functional and chronological combined Shows off a strong employment record with upward mobility

Showcases relevant skills and abilities and supportive employment record

Emphasizes transferable skills

Work history is often on the second page and employer may not read that far When shorter functional format would be too sketchy

To offer a complete picture of abilities and work history

Experience is limited

There are wide gaps in work history

VARIATION
Characteristic
Advantage
Disadvantage
Use
Don't Use If
Keyword
Allows for focused resumes that target skills Skills are listed briefly and at the beginning of the resume

Easy for employer to scan and find skills

May be redundant information to include keywords at the top of your resume

Still an unfamiliar format to many employers

For all scannable systems of job screening

For all new graduates, reentering the work place, changing careers

There is rarely a time you cannot use this variation. It can be used in combination with any or all of the other formats
Targeted
Highly focused document aimed at a particular job

A "capsule" of work experience

Brief and direct

Easy to read

May focus too tightly on one particular job

Content may appear sparse

When job target is specific

When you need separate resumes for different career paths

You are not prepared to put the effort into writing an excellent resume

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This page was last updated on April 17, 1997
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