Saturday, March 20, 2010

What is more correct--- Chronological or Functional Resumes?

There’s a  hot controversy brewing when it comes to marketing your career with a chronological or functional resume. Resume writers have logical arguments for supporting the type of resume they recommend. Some strongly disagree about what kind of resume a potential employer wants to receive from a potential applicant.

Displaying your skills in a functional resume is still an important way of attracting a potential employer. Yet, it remains controversial. Other professionals see it as a red flag that a person is trying to use to cover up gaps in their work history. This is sometimes true in other cases it is not.

Still others believe that if a resume is well written and the skills and achievements are properly highlighted, it doesn’t matter what format is used.

"Whatever works is based on knowledge of the industry and company. Functional resumes are generally used for the mid to upper six figure jobs. I just coached an executive with a $155K income and he put together a functional resume and got four interviews.” according to Mark Harris, an Outplacement Consultant and Trainer.

Your resume is still the major way of capturing an employer’s attention. So it makes sense to become familiar with problems associated with these two resume styles and learn how to positively change them.

Chronological Resume 
A chronological resume starts by showcasing your work history with the most recent position listed first. The rest are written in reverse order containing details about what you did. You also should list the beginning and end date of each job. This resume works for job applicants who have a strong, solid work history with a series of the same types of positions. It is easy for an employer to see how you’ve moved up in the company and have a consistent work history with few job gaps.

However, this type of resume does not normally focus on your job skills. You can change this into more of a hybrid resume by breaking out your most important achievements in a section called major  skills or accomplishments. These skills can also be described in a summary at the top of your resume located under your name, address, phone etc.

Similiar to a proposal
Writing your resume is similar in some ways to writing a proposal—you must know everything about the product and the prospective customer to make a sale. Strategy, content and design must be superior to get noticed. and the average length is two pages for an experienced professional. Candidates with less experience can format their background and qualifications into a one page resume.

Functional Resume
The functional resume divides your resume into a summary of your work experience and two or three different skills sets. For example, one heading could be management, another administrative and the last sales skills. Relevant jobs are formatted and fit under the appropriate heading. Generally, the dates are not included. This style resume is good for someone who has had several different types of jobs and wants to focus on experience. Often this job seeker wants to change careers. They may have job gaps or want to emphasize a particular set of skills that would not be highlighted in a chronological resume. Perhaps the skills they want to emphasize occurred at a job that is more than ten years old. This style resume acknowledges that work was performed but does not focus on the dates. Some employers object to the functional resume because it may hide job gaps but not always. In some cases, the person has a steady work history but the type of career they want in the future uses different skills than those mentioned in a chronological resume. To show consistent employment, you can always turn your resume into a targeted resume by adding a section entitled Work History. The work history section lists the job title, name of business and the dates. A targeted resume highlights only the experience and the skills you have that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

If for any reason the functional resume is not getting interviews, you must try another kind of bait to meet the conditions to attract new fish.


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