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Resources for finding and applying for jobs during or after college.

How to Do a Resume Using Different Formats

Jun 30, 2010 Marcus Baker

Learn how to do a resume by selecting the most appropriate resume writing format to best communicate one's strengths to a potential employer.

Part of knowing how to do a resume effectively depends on understanding the difference between the two most common types and being able to decide when to use the best resume writing format for one's purposes. Since a resume is a document intended to market oneself to a potential employer with the aim of obtaining an interview and ultimately the job on offer, choosing the best format is an important consideration in the resume preparation process.

How to do a Resume Using the Chronological Resume Format

The chronological resume format appears to be the most common way to organize one's information. It lists one's various employment positions and achievements starting with the most recent, followed by education, memberships etc.

The advantages of using this format is that one's most recent experience is highlighted and one's background can be viewed quickly in a logical and straightforward manner.

How to do a Resume Using the Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format emphasizes one's strengths by organizing one's work experience by function and skills at the beginning of the resume. A chronological list of one's experience follows towards the end of the document.

The advantage of using this format is that one's most recent experience is down played which is sometimes useful if one is applying for a position that does not relate directly to one's current or most recent job.

When is it Best to use the Chronological Resume Format?

It is best to use the chronological resume format when one is changing companies within the same industry. It will best show one's career progression and demonstrate one's commitment to a chosen career path.

The chronological resume format is also best to use when one wants to apply for a job in a related industry. For example a stage actor wanting to move into the film industry. This format will show how one's career has developed over the years and that one's desired move is a logical step.

When is it Best to use the Functional Resume Format?

A functional resume format is recommended when one's employment history has been erratic but one has developed skills that are suitable and transferable for the position for which one is applying. This also holds true when one wants to create a career change resume.

This format is also useful to use when one's most recent experience is not required for the job for which one is applying or in the case of having moved away from a certain career path and now desiring to return to the same path.

Another group who should think about using this format are recent graduates looking to prepare entry level resumes. Without substantial or any work experience one would highlight one's education as well as skills and experience obtained doing internships or doing part time jobs.

Choose the Most Appropriate Resume Format to Develop Your Resume Writing Skills

Each of the resume writing formats discussed demands different resume writing skills when it comes to the organization of one's information. By being clear about one's own situation one will choose how to do a resume in the best possible way for one's own circumstances.