How To Choose Between Resume Formats

When creating a resume, you have a choice of two different resume formats. You can write your resume in the chronological resume format, or the functional resume format. There are specific reasons for choosing one over the other.

Chronological Format Is Most Common

The chronological resume format, generally used as the reverse chronological resume format, is the best for those job candidates who have a strong background in one field, with progressively more responsible positions, and who are applying for a position in the same field or industry. The chronological resume format is also the best choice for college students who have recently graduated and have little or no work experience. College students applying for an internship should use the chronological resume format as well. 

Functional Resume Format Highlights

The second resume format, the functional resume format, is the best choice for job applicants whose experience and skills can be transferred from one industry to another, or who wish to change career fields.  This resume format works better than the chronological resume format to disguise the fact that the applicant has not advanced in their prior field. The functional resume format is ideal if the job applicant has had a number of positions that on the service seem unrelated.

By using a functional resume format to focus on skills, the job applicant can tie all former positions together into a package that clarifies how she or he can be a good experienced fit for the applied-for position.
No matter which resume format you choose, however, you should prepare your resume to be scanned. Here are some tips on the best resume format for easy scanning by potential employers. 

General Resume Format Necessities

The first thing you should include, no matter which resume format you choose, is your contact details. Here is where you give your name, your full address, your telephone number and your e-mail address. Keep in mind that you'll want all information to be active several months after you submit the resume. The use of initials, nicknames or personal information such as your date or birth or social security number are never appropriate no matter which resume format you choose. 

Prior to giving anyone your contact information, study your voice mail greeting on any phone you've given as contact. Make sure it sounds professional. Also advice anyone living at your home that you're expecting business calls and they should answer accordingly. No matter which resume format you choose, or how professional your resume, if someone answers your phone, "Joe's Bar and Grill" you may lose that interview. Nor will an employer typically e-mail to or No matter what your resume format keep your contacts business like and professional.   

The next part of any resume format is your objective. This is not fluff, nor should it be vague. It is appropriate to designate specific objectives, and even specific job titles or at least industry as well as a specific employer here.

Generally your resume format should have your education following your objective, as long as the education is impressive. If, however, you never attended college you may not even want to include education as part of your resume format. As part of your college education do note your GPA if it's high. If not, but the grades you achieved in your major and the area of concentration that is pertinent to the job for which you are applying are high, list those instead. Include all degrees, honors, awards, certificates and training as part of your resume format.