Functional & Chronological Resume — What Is the Difference?

Eva Lee
Eva Lee
Aug 29, 2017 · 4 min read

Drafting a flawless resume requires more than making it free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It is a marketing tool that helps you convey the best of your abilities and make the employer schedule your interview. The resume format you once used as a student will definitely not work when you have worked for higher positions in your career. Hence, it is necessary to have knowledge on difference between functional resume vs chronological resume. Knowing the basics of these two common formats will help you showcase your talent and capabilities perfectly.

When you have no idea about the two formats, it could lead to a dilemma, and you may falter in the very first step of job application. So it is necessary to understand points that differentiate a chronological resume from functional resume. This will assist you in writing the document in a correct and concise format, sell potential qualities and boost your chances of being employed with a firm. Following points can help you interpret the differences in the two resume formats.

Functional Vs Chronological Resume

Basic information

This part of resume can remain same for both types of resumes and is mentioned at the start of a document. It usually contains candidate’s name, residential address along with the name of city and state, personal phone number, and a valid email address. If you have a Linked In profile, you can mention it in the document. This part is optional, and one has to make sure the stated URL is current.

What is a functional resume?

This type of resume emphasizes on skills and achievements of an individual rather than focusing on work history. It is an organized document where the concentration is on areas of expertise instead of work experience. If a person has opted for career change, has frequently hopped jobs, or is re-entering the workforce after a long absence, then this is the format to opt for. The document starts with a summary, then areas of expertise and qualifications followed by work history at the end. The focus is on selling yourself to the probable employer rather than where you have worked previously in your career.

What is a chronological resume?

This is the most popular format and conveys information to the point. This is an ideal resume format for individuals who have been in the same field for years in different organizations and have got a linear career growth. It helps them in listing their skills, job they did, and how good they are at it. The focus is on work history, and the document is drafted in such a way that it demonstrates experience and mentions key accomplishments. It begins with a career objective statement, includes a list of all major achievements and states your experience with different employers along with the job title and the time you were employed in an organization.

Functional resume vs chronological resume: difference

Functional resumes are fit for people who have extensive gaps in work history, have frequently changed job, are looking forward to making career transitions, have good transferable skills, or do not match the job descriptions of a particular position. It gives an individual a chance to showcase skills gained in the past, and can be listed by using appropriate subheadings. The purpose is to emphasize capabilities instead of where the person was employed before. A chronological resume, on the other hand, has a set structure and can be used by students who are employed in entry-level jobs or are recent graduates. It can also be used by professionals who have been employed in the same field in various organizations for many years and have climbed up the ladder in their career by playing different roles. The work experience is listed in a reverse chronological order with the most-recent position at the top gradually going to the past. In every position, the skills obtained and main accomplishments must be listed. This is explained by specifying the job title, the company where the individual was working and the time period he/she was employed at that organization. It helps the hiring manager determine an individual’s performance at a particular organization.

Even if chronological resume is the preferred format, it does not stress on a person’s skills to the max. It can highlight your employment gaps and short term employments thus creating a negative impression on the mind of recruiters. On the other hand, a skill based resume, may not be understood by certain employers or even get less importance by recruiters when they notice no relevant experience.

Selecting the right resume format is essential if you want to get the desired job. Therefore, you must understand the different type of resumes and define your goals before drafting this document. Doing this preparation will help to write a perfect resume and increase chances of being invited for an interview.

Eva Lee

Written by

Eva Lee

Eva Lee is a blogger who writes on Resumes, Career oriented topics.