Chronological Resume, Functional Resume, and Skills Resume

When preparing for resume writing, the first step is to determine the best resume format for you. Choosing the wrong resume type or format could cost you your dream job. Each type of resume offers different advantages to the job seeker. Using the wrong type of resume can put you at an unfair disadvantage, because you have not accentuated your strongest points. The resume format you choose should highlight your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.

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Reverse Chronological Resume

To focus on your work history, you should write a resume in reverse chronological format. A reverse chronological resume begins by listing your work history, emphasizing your most recent position first. Many employers prefer these resumes because they are easy to navigate. Employers can easily see the jobs you have held and the dates you were employed. If you have a strong work history, this type of resume will accentuate your solid work ethic.

Use the reverse chronological resume if: you have a steady employment history,

the majority of your work history is in the same field, and you are interested in staying in the same line of work. If you are looking to branch out into a new industry, focusing on your work history will do little to provide pertinent information that shows you are qualified for the new line of work.

When using this resume type avoid these mistakes:
• Including a long list of jobs – this may alert the employer to a failure to commit to a position for a long period of time, or could signify that you have lost several positions at places of employment.
• List your jobs in chronological order (versus reverse chronological order). In doing this, the emphasis rests on the job the first job that you had in the field. This could signify to the employer that you are struggling at your current job, or struggled at your most recent place of employment. This could also show that there is no advancement in your position. If you have worked in the same field for a long time and show no advancement, employers might wonder what is holding you back.

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Functional or Skills Resume

A functional or skills resume emphasizes the skills you have and the experience you have gained, instead of the chronology of your work history. The functional resume is the best option for someone who wants to change career paths, a recent college graduate, or for a person with large gaps in their employment history. The focus of a functional resume is the transferable skill that you have acquired through your work history.

A transferable skill demonstrates that although you have no experience in the industry, you have acquired skills from your other line of work. These skills can directly translate into success at the new position, because they are necessary in the new line of work as well. A functional resume can also be used to put a large emphasis on your achievements. These achievements could come from a past job, but you can also list achievements from extracurricular activities and groups, volunteer work, or hobbies.

Mistake(s) to avoid when using the functional resume format:
• Using information that is not related to your job goal – Putting additional information into this form of resume not only takes the emphasis off your accomplishments (which should be the focus), but also gives the employer obstacles. Employers may lose focus of what you are trying to emphasize. This is a huge mistake. Employers spend very little time looking at resumes, and if you give them the opportunity Resumes are supposed to be clear and concise. Leave any unrelated information off your functional resume. This clarifies your purpose and focuses the reader on your accomplishments.

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Combination Resume

A combination resume is a resume that combines the functional resume with the reverse chronological resume, putting more emphasis on the functional resume. This type of resume is great for someone who may have some experience in a field, but not enough to make that experience the focus of the resume.

To make a solid combination resume, a job seeker should emphasize their accomplishments and transferable skills. Do this by separating experience into separate areas of expertise. Then, show what you have accomplished. Instead of only using this technique, add in work experience. Instead of dragging your work experience out (to be the focus of the resume) make sure that you only briefly cover each place of employment, along with your job title, and length of employment.

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Modified Letter Resume

A modified letter resume is composed in a completely different format than most resumes. This resume is written in the form of a letter. The modified letter format (also known as a broadcast letter) is usually designated for people who are making a career change or reentering the job market after a leave of absence. Their goal is to persuade the employer to give them an interview. The tactic is to make their lack of experience in the industry as invisible as possible. Then, once the applicant gets their foot in the door, they can answer any question about their employment history that the interviewer throws their way.

The resume should be one page in length. The letter should emphasize accomplishments and transferable skills. These accomplishments and skills should reflect the goal of the employer: to show that your experience, even in an unrelated industry, will help the employer meet their needs. If you have persuasive writing skills, this type of resume will help you get the job that you want.

Many people use a hybrid of the letter resume when writing a cover letter. A cover letter is similar to a letter resume, only the cover letter accompanies a formal resume. The cover letter is supposed to intrigue the employer enough to look at the resume, unlike the letter resume, which tries to get the employer to offer an interview.

By selecting the type of resume which best fits your qualifications and work history, you can ensure that you’re presenting yourself to the employer in the best light possible.

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