Since no one has the exact same background of experience and education, no two resumes are exactly alike. However, there are generally three main types of resumes that most job seekers use to show their qualifications and apply to job openings: chronological, functional and combination. Depending on your unique work background and experience, there may be a type of resume that will best highlight your strengths. Simply Hired has put together descriptions of the three main types of resumes below.
A chronological resume starts by listing out your work history, beginning with your most recent position first and continuing in reverse chronological order. To supplement each position listed, key accomplishments and qualifications are included to give potential employers a sense of the kind of work you have done in the past and what you are capable of doing. An Education section follows, including the schools you attended and when, degree earned, your majors/minors, and any honors or awards received. For new grads: list Education first, then Experience. In addition, you will typically also include a Skills section which will include computer skills, laboratory skills or languages spoken, etc.
Employers typically prefer this type of resume because they can easily scan what jobs you have held, when you held them, and what you accomplished there. Chronological resumes benefit job seekers with a strong work history.
A functional resume focuses more on the skills you have acquired rather than a listing of positions you have held. Functional resumes usually highlight a few key areas of experience and list responsibilities and accomplishments for each experience area. These skill clusters should be specific and filled with lots of context, as well as targeted to the jobs you are applying for.
You may want to consider a functional resume if you are a new graduate without much professional experience or if you have noticeable gaps in your work history. In addition, a functional resume can benefit those job seekers who are changing careers to a field very different from their previous experience. However, keep in mind that many recruiters and employers do not prefer functional resumes and they are not accepted on most online employer career pages and job sites.
A combination resume is a hybrid of chronological and functional resumes. Skill clusters with accomplishments are listed first, followed by a work history section in reverse-chronological order. The work history section need only be your job titles held, name and location of the companies, and your dates of employment. You do not need to list what you did at each job, because that information is already included in your professional skills section.
A recent SimplyHired.com poll shows that respondents took the combination approach – a mix between Chronological and Functional resumes. However, depending on your unique background of experience and education, there may be a resume that will make you stand out against other applicants. After finding the right type of resume that is bests suited to your background, you can best highlight your qualifications to potential employers and expedite your job search!