Which Type of Resume is Right For You?

tasmeea February 14, 2012 0

A quick look through The Fruit Bowl might make you think that the Gradberry Bloggers seem to be a tad bit obsessed concerned with writing, perfecting and primping up resumes (Resume your way to a graduate career, 7 words I never want to see on your resume etc). In our defense, we haven’t become resume tyrants for no reason- your resume is what gives employers a first impression of you and we want that first impression to be fabulous! While most graduates probably get drilled about the role of content in a resume, how many know about the different formats for resumes and their importance in different job positions that they apply for?

In a nutshell, there are four different types of resume formats: chronological, functional, targeted, and combination format. Although nothing beats the importance of content in a resume, it is also necessary to tailor your resume to a specific employer’s requirements to enhance your chances of landing the job. Your resume will also look a lot more appealing if you choose the type appropriate for your situation, depending on your job and personal circumstances. So read on to find out which resume type is for you.

  • For those with a stable work history: The Chronological Format

Yup, this is the format that you learnt in high school or college, which lists your work history right at the top of the resume in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent job experience. Not only is it used widely, the chronological format is also preferred by a lot of employers (almost 90%) as your work history is evident at a glance. If you’ve had stable work experience in your field and can demonstrate new skills acquired at each position, play it safe. Stick to the chronological resume format and find your next employer.

  • For those who want a career change: The Functional Resume

If you just spent a year backpacking around Europe and now have large gaps in your work history, then this is the resume for you. The functional resume places more emphasis on skills and experience, giving little attention to where and when these skills were obtained. When you haven’t worked in the field that you are applying for, or have a gap in work experience, it makes sense to showcase your skills rather than the fact that you haven’t worked recently or don’t have experience in that field.

Despite the limited experience, you can still use a group of skills to compete with other applicants. This makes the functional resume work well for fresh graduates and for career changers. But keep in mind that some employers can still be picky and may not like this format because it tends to hide the lack of a stable job background. So extra effort may be necessary on your part to sell yourself as a candidate and land that interview.

  • For those who want a particular position: The Targeted Resume

If you’re applying for a position that you really want, a targeted resume might be the way to go. It is similar to a chronological resume, but perfected for the job that you are applying for by playing up your strengths and qualifications relevant to the position at hand. So you can highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to the job you want and eliminate experience which is not related (like getting rid of ‘part-time dj’ when applying for an auditing position). But remember that polishing your resume content for every application is a time consuming process so you might need to forget those weekend plans!

  • For those who can’t decide: The Combination Resume

Can’t decide which format works for you? As the name suggests, the combination resume allows you to combine two resume formats for a different result. The most common type uses a mixture of the chronological and functional resume formats. Think of it as a hybrid resume where your skills and experience are listed first, but work history is also included below. This way, employers get to see your important achievements first but they can also see your work history. So if you need to use a functional resume but are worried about turning off potential employers, go for the hybrid resume. Instead of leading with your work history (or lack thereof), you can focus on the skills that would make you suitable for a particular position.


So as you can see, each of the four types of resumes have their own advantages. Regardless of which format you select, remember to adhere to resume guidelines (not exceeding two pages, etc) and proofread your resume. Do a bit of research and think about which resume meets your immediate career needs.  You never know, choosing the right style could give you an edge over other candidates!