Saturday, 22 September 2012

Functional or Chronological Resume, Which is Best?

I recently read an article that advocated having a functional resume rather than the  traditional chronological resume. The reasons given were particularly in relation to  those that are "in a career transition", have employment gaps or suffer from "little experience". The points were well made and the arguments presented were, from my point of view, quite sound. What really got my attention was the large numbers of comments that disagreed with the writers suggestion.

Typical of the comments were: "…recruiters dislike functional resumes and you need to get through the recruiter's screen first. I strongly recommend a chronological resume…" and "… I'd be really careful about this. Most hiring managers hate functional resumes, because they immediately make us wondering what the person is trying to hide; they look shady."

I decided to conduct a resume preference survey and my findings are below. I will admit the samples are small however no less than the number of commenters on the original blog post.

Now I'm not sure whether this adds to the difficulty of choosing which style is best however it is worth further discussion and perhaps yip need to send of both formats if you are unable to "suss out" which style is preferred by the recruiter you are approaching.

I would like some comments and the style I prefer is here: resume example.


  1. I have already commented - on your survey. But, to expand slightly, I think recruiters like to feel that they have understood your 'story' by the time they finish your resume. I do not favour wholly chronological because there is no useful narrative. What one wants is something like 1980-1985 Meat packer for ABC, 1984-1990 Supervisor of meat-packers, DEF, 1990-1995 Strategic planner of meat marketing for GHI 1995-2000, CFO of JKL Meat Packers Inc, 2005-10, CEO of Supreme Meat Packers 2010- present!

  2. I think it can be a bit of both, If you have been in your career a long time, you need to be careful that you are not judged on your age. So you need to be careful not to go back more than 15 years, You can give a blend of experience without giving away the store that you have a 40 year career so you are tossed in the circular file because you have grey hair.