What resume format is best? Should you put together a Chronological or Functional resume?

(extract from “How To Write a Résumé That Blows Away the Competition” – available in The Australian Resume Writer software by Aussie Résumés)

A functional resume focuses on your skills.  Thus, this style tends to highlight the strengths you can bring to an employer and downplays your employment history – facts such as dates and so forth.

We highly recommend that you DO NOT put together a functional resume.

Why?  Almost all hiring managers who participated in the Aussie Résumés Employer Survey were vocally opposed to functional resumes. We are also in constant contact with HR professionals in a wide variety of industries which has given an insight into what they do, or do not, want to see.  We’re passing on this knowledge to you!  Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t put together a functional resume

1)  This style has long been associated with those who have been long-term unemployed or have a large number of job gaps.  On sighting a functional resume, first opinion is that the applicant has an unstable work history.  If you do have a few job gaps or have been long-term unemployed there are numerous ways around this and we have covered it within the Employment History section in “How To Write a Résumé That Blows Away the Competition”.

2)  It annoys a hiring manager.  Employment is usually all over the place (i.e. most relevant placed at the top of the list, even though the applicant may have worked in that position 20 years ago), thus they have to spend more time trying to work out the applicant’s recent experience.  Some applicant’s even leave off dates altogether and instead write “2 years”, etc; thus, a hiring manager has no idea what real experience an applicant has.  You should never waste a hiring manager’s time – make everything easy for them!

3)  Hiring manager cannot determine the recent skills of an applicant.



What is a chronological résumé?

Essentially, it lists your employment and education in reverse chronological order; providing the hiring manager with an immediate picture of your experience.

True-to-form chronological resumes can be quite boring as they generally give no insight into a person’s attributes and skills.


So what’s the best way to format?

We recommend a combination of functional and chronological.

This approach works tremendously as you are providing hiring managers with what they want to see!  That is, a clear outline of your employment history in reverse chronological order, and a summary of your skills, attributes and abilities.  This approach is the preferred method by hiring managers as it gives them a full picture of who you are and what you can bring to their organisation.

Want to blow away your competition and put yourself ahead of the pack? Check out our interview-winning resume writing service.