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Resume Styles

The first decision you will need to make before putting pen t paper to write your resume is to decide what style is right for you. The style of a resume is not the font type or the color of the paper it is a reference to the organization and sequence and emphasis given to the information included in the resume.

Luckily there are not too many styles so you will not need to stress too much over deciding which style is right for you.

There are basically threes styles of resumes and the third is simply a combination of the first two.

The three styles are

  1. Chronological
  2. Functional
  3. Combination
As the name suggests the resume is written in chronological order. It is really a history of your work experience with the most recent position first and one before that next and so on. It is really written in reverse chronological order. This is really the most common style of resume and employers are very familiar wit the style. There are both advantages and disadvantages to this style of resume.


As it is the most common type of resume style seen by employers it is generally the one that is most liked.

It is easy to follow and give the reader a glimpse of your experience

It covers what you are dong now and this is generally what is most important to employers

This is a terrific style of resume if your experience shows you made consistent progress as you moved from position to position.

If the position you are going after is in the same field as your experience this is the resume style for you


The chronological resume style does not work for everyone depending on your experience and background and the position you are going after.

The following are some reason you may not want to use the chronological style resume.

You are seeking an entry level position and have little or no work experience to showcase. In this case you can use the cover letter to explain

The position you are applying for is unrelated to any of your experience

You are trying to move to an industry in which you have no experience or are looking at a career change

You have several gaps in your work history

You have moved jobs several times in the past few years

Functional Resume
The functional resume is organized around your experiences and accomplishments rather than around the positions you have held. In fact the positions you have held may only be mentioned in very general terms. A good cover letter is needed with all resumes however the cover letter needed for a functional resume needs to provide the reader with some information as to why there is very little mention of former positions. If this is not provided the reader or the resume will be suspicious and may think you are hiding something.

A functional resume works best when …

  • You have little or no experience or are an entry level job seeker
  • You are seeking a career change to an industry in which you have little or no experience
  • Your former positions show little progress from position to position
  • You have gaps in your work history. It is expected that you may have one or two gaps but numerous gaps of lengthy periods of time do not look good to prospective employers.
  • You are re entering the work force after a significant break
  • You have a history of changing jobs frequently.
There are several advantages to this style or resume

It highlights your accomplishment and experience so prospective employers immediately see what you can do

It takes the focus away from any areas in your experience or background that can be seen as negative. This is a huge advantage and can get you around several areas you may not feel comfortable with sharing on your resume.

Of course there are also disadvantages to the Functional style..

The functional style resume is not something employers have embraced although it is becoming more common. It does have the effect of arousing suspicions in the readers mind especially as the work history is not included. The reader may think you have something to hide.

Employers reviewing resumes generally want to know what you are current or last position was. When this is not included they may not even want to interview you.

Although your accomplishments are highlighted the reader will have difficulty in understanding the context of these if there is no reference to former positions.

Combination Resume
A combination style resume is as the name suggests a combination of the functional and chronological styles and is really a combination of the best of both styles. This style of resume provides the reader with the key information of your accomplishments like the functional resume but also has some information on your work history like the chronological resume. The work history provided is not in nearly as much detail as that provide in the chronological resume.

The combination resume should be seriously considered in the following situations

  • You are seeking a career change to an industry in which you have little or no experience.
  • Your work history show little progress as you moved from position to position

Your accomplishments and skills are highlighted to the reader and put in to context with the information you provide on work history.

You reduce the chances of the reader becoming suspicious by lack of work history as you do provide this even though it is not in as much detail as in a chronological style resume.


Some employers wan the detailed work history provided in the chronological style that they are used to seeing however this is changing as the combination style is becoming more common and accepted.

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