When searching for a job, there are four basic resume types that employers use to determine which candidate is right for the job. When to use each type of resume depends on the experience level of the applicant, and as workforce professionals, it’s our duty to make sure job seekers know when to use which.
Using a Chronological Resume
According to ResumeGenius.com, the chronological resume is the most commonly used resume among job seekers as it accommodates all industry types and levels of experience. A chronological resume starts with a short career summary, then lists all of the jobs the applicant has had in reverse chronological order, starting with their most recent position.
According to TheBalanceCareers.com, a chronological resume works best when you have an extensive work history in the career field for which you are applying. Putting your work history first demonstrates to the employer that you have the necessary experience to do the job well. An example of a chronological resume can be found here.
However, the chronological resume does not work well when you are changing careers, have gaps in your work history, or have changed jobs frequently. Only highlight your work history if it pertains to the job you are applying for. If you don’t have the experience needed to be competitive off work history alone, use a different type of resume that highlights why you should be considered.
Using a Functional Resume
According to USNews.com, a functional resume does a better job than a chronological resume of highlighting your specific strengths. If you are in a career transition, highlighting your relevant transferable skills is more important than your work history, especially if that work history is unrelated to your new position. Instead, focus on highlighting the skills you gained in that role that will help make you successful in your next one.
If you have gaps in your employment history, if you are switching careers, or if you are a recent graduate with little to no experience, using a functional resume will work better than a chronological one. A functional resume will shift the focus away from “when” you worked and will highlight what skills you gained from previous jobs or volunteer experience and highlight the knowledge you gained from your course of study. A sample of a functional resume can be found here.
However, moving your work history to the bottom of your resume does not guarantee that a hiring manager will overlook your employment history (or lack thereof). According to an article on Forbes.com, a functional resume may work better when applying for a job through a virtual recruiter (like NCWorks), but may not fare as well when a person is reviewing the resume.
Using a Combination Resume
Monster.com states that a combination resume incorporates the best parts of both the chronological and functional resumes. This format allows you to state your most relevant qualifications up front, but still list a detailed work history that HR professionals like to see.
A combination resume can work for a lot of professionals, but this resume type may prove most beneficial for: older workers with an extensive work history that needs to highlight specific and relevant skills; job seekers making a career change that is closely related to previous positions they have held; or for applicants re-entering the job market that have the necessary experience and skills, but do not want to highlight their time spent away from the workforce. A sample combination resume can be found here.
Using a Targeted Resume
According to WorkitDaily.com, targeted resumes are your best shot at getting an interview. That’s because, this type of resume is customized for each specific job you apply for, increasing your chance of your resume containing “key words and phrases” that employers (or job search engines) are looking for in the work history and skill set of interested candidates.
This resume format will contain your desired professional title, and will also include a summary of your skills and list your related credentials. Creating a targeted resume for every position in which you apply can become tedious, so it is best to create a “Master” copy for your records and customize that copy each time you apply for a job. Use the job description of the position you are applying for and other similar positions to help you phrase your accomplishments in a similar language to what that position requires. A sample targeted resume can be found here.
As workforce professionals, we work with individuals from all walks of life, that need our expertise in finding a career in their field of choice. Creating competitive resumes is a crucial part of this process, so use these resources at your disposal to help your clients meet their career goals!