Resume – Best Format?

(Part 2 of a series on Resumes)

Chronological, Functional or a Combination of Both?  Which is best for you? 

resume image

There are times when a chronological formatted resume is best and other times when you will want to use a functional formatted resume.  Most job seekers use a chronological resume; however, if you are changing careers , industries or transitioning from government/military to private sector/civilian jobs, the functional resume is your best bet.

A chronological resume lists your job progression, experience and skills in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. 

  • This format works best for those with a strong and continuous employment history
  • Worked a long time?  Consider deleting those positions which are over 10 – 15 years ago.  Most employers are interested in reviewing your most recent positions rather than a string of jobs which are dated and, possibly, unrelated to the one you are now applying for.

A functional resume highlights your accomplishments and skills.  It is ideal when your goal is to identify the potential employer of your transferable skills more than where and when you acquired them.

  • When applying to multiple  positions, you may need multiple functional resumes in order to highlight the specific skills and abilities
  • Laid off and have a gap between jobs?  The functional resume will highlight your experience over the continuous employment; however, be truthful and do not disguise the fact that you may have not worked for a period of time
  • Tip: use the job description or job posting to identify those transferable skills which you possess.  Highlight those in your resume and add detailed information based on your experience and accomplishment

A Combination resume is customized to highlight your strong and continuous job progression as well as your expertise and skills. Depending upon the job being applied for, it is best to customize it with specific skills relevant to the posted position.

  • Start with highlights of your skills and accomplishments, followed by the chronological references to jobs held.
  • Identify no more than five signature strengths and skills, adding details to support them.

Next in the series:  Resume Details that spell Success

(Need help with writing your interview-worthy resume?  Contact me at

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