When you apply for a job opening, your goal is to show the employer why you would be a good fit for the position. While you may get the opportunity to demonstrate your skills in an interview, your resume is the first thing an employer will request during the application process, and the format of your resume has the potential to influence your potential employer’s decision. You can make a good impression by formatting your resume to pique an employer's interest. Let's take a closer look at how and when to use the chronological, functional and combo resume formats.
What's a Chronological Resume Format?
You are probably already familiar with the chronological resume format. This format requires you to list your work experience in reverse chronological order, which means that your latest job will be featured first on the list and your earliest working experience will be featured last. If you have been in the workforce for a very long time, consider omitting any positions you didn't hold for a significant amount of time. If you leave out these kinds of positions, your resume will be more concise and are likelier to show growth in a particular field.
The chronological format is typically used by those who don't have many extended gaps in their job history or by those who have spent most of their career working in a particular industry or profession. It's also the format preferred by most employers as it is easy to read and provides a relevant overview of experiential qualifications.
What's a Functional Resume Format?
Instead of creating a chronological list of previous employers and accomplishments, the functional resume emphasizes the skills you have acquired. In some cases, it won't be necessary to include dates of employment or the names of specific employers. Functional resume formats may be most appropriate for college students or recent graduates with limited work history or experience limited to internships and other unpaid work. The primary feature might be a skills section, where skills are identified followed by experiences that developed or prove those abilities. Such resume formats also come in handy if you are transitioning from the military to a field in which you have little experience or you simply have very little professional experience to discuss.
What's a Combo Resume Format?
A combo resume format is a hybrid between the chronological and functional resume. This format allows you to take advantage of the functional resume while including a chronological work history. As with a chronological resume, you list your previous work experience, but you may decide to only name the employer, where the employer was located and when you worked for that employer. You won’t need to list your job title or accomplishments with a specific employer if you adequately describe your professional experiences and achievements in the functional component of your resume.
Which Resume Format Is Best?
All three resume formats have benefits that may help you land a job interview. However, most hiring managers favor the chronological format. While you may receive an interview opportunity or even a job offer by using the functional or combo resume formats, many employers are interested in your prior experience in the workforce.
Whether you are new to the job market or looking to advance your current career, let your resume stand out. LiveCareer has authoritative advice and up-to-date tips to help you appropriately format your resume and get the job of your dreams.