Friday, January 18, 2008

Writing Your Best Resume - The Functional Approach


Your key skills, knowledge and related accomplishments are the primary organizing principles of this approach by citing relevant examples of effectiveness as proof of your ability to contribute.


This approach provides an opportunity to establish the transferability of skills and accomplishments for candidates who are starting or changing a career. Grouping these items in self-contained categories builds a case for your ability to function in a new situation. The conventional resume format dilutes or contradicts this talent.

Not limited to paid employment, you can give status to qualifying experience from every area of life. This format widens the scope of informal experiences supportive of your career objective, including special projects, internships, community service and relevant leisure pursuits. It eliminates distinctions that discount their importance.


For qualified candidates with a linear career path, this format challenges the standard presentation of personal strengths. Executive recruiters and other employment professionals prefer a job-by-job description to trace with clarity exactly what has been done, for whom, where and when.

Some employers may suspect that this format hides background information of importance.

In a purely functional resume, key time/space anchors that employers expect are not given. This information can be essential to credibility.

When to use:

The functional approach is particularly effective and highly recommended for people without direct experience in the area of their career objective. Since it accents skills and achievements, it is effective and often desired by people who are well established in a career.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Writing Your Best Resume - The Chronological Approach


Your employment record is the primary organizing principle for this format, a job-by-job historical narrative of your work effectiveness.


This format emphasizes formal qualifications for the work you are seeking. It is most appropriate for directly qualified candidates with linear progression paths and showcases the track record of clearly pertinent, often increasingly responsible experiences. Use of judgment in grappling with job challenges is emphasized.

Recruiters and some hiring managers are accustomed to, and often prefer, the chronological format. Many find it familiar, straightforward and easy to use when making preliminary decisions concerning the candidate.


For candidates who are starting or changing a career, this format emphasizes the lack of direct, in-depth experience in the targeted career area. It underscores past identity rather than future potential.

Gaps in employment, conspicuously brief or long affiliations, and time periods elapsed since certain qualifying experiences are spotlighted.

Rather than accenting accomplishments on the job, it lends itself to a somewhat dry, repetitive recitation of job responsibilities.

It often does not help the candidate who is in the latter stages of their career. Someone with many work experiences can struggle making their pitch with a chronological resume because their best skills and attributes can get lost in the details.

When to use:

The chronological format is particularly effective for people with clear-cut qualifications, who are continuing or advancing in a particular career direction. It can be acceptable for other, less qualified people. This format is productive if you cite relevant skills and tasks that support your career or job search objectives.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Writing Your Best Resume - Choose an Approach


Deciding upon the best approach for your resume format is a major decision. Real and compelling differences characterize the two most common formats, which have impact on the receptivity employers have to your initiatives.

No universally "right" format is appropriate for all people. Your review of your own objective and background will be your most effective guide to selecting the best format for you.

Most resumes are served by two approaches: Chronological or Functional. The chronological approach states work experiences in the order they were incurred. The functional approach focuses on particular job functions the person has experience with. I will provide the pro's and con's of each in coming posts.