Résumé Styles

You can be as creative as you want with your résumé; however, it is easier to be creative once you have a solid base to work from.

Before you start developing your résumé, we recommend that you select a résumé style to use as a guide.  Using an existing résumé style will give you a structure to follow.  By having a format, you will be more focused, which will save you time in the long run.

There are many different résumé styles to choose from, so for the sake of simplicity, this post will focus on the two most common styles:

  1. Chronological Style Résumés
  2. Functional Style Résumés

Chronological Style Résumés

This is the traditional résumé style.  It’s structured around paid employment experiences; therefore, if you choose to develop this style of résumé, the main body of your résumé will highlight your employment history (companies, dates and experiences).  This style always starts with your current or most recent employer and works backward through your work history.  

Functional Style Résumés

A functional style résumé is a skills-based résumé; therefore, the main body of this résumé style is structured around a skills section.  This section is organized into key skill categories so you can showcase the skills you’ve developed through your past experiences.  Like the chronological style, the functional style résumé includes an employment history section, however, past employers and dates are secondary to the presentation of your skills.

Employer Preference

As a job seeker, you will likely prefer one résumé style over the other options.  Employers will also have their personal preferences.

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing which résumé style a specific employer will prefer.  You may guess that employers from traditional fields and conservative companies will prefer a chronological style, but that would only be a guess.

It’s important to note that even if an employer has a résumé style preference, they will usually accept any style.

Your Decision

You will want to select a résumé style that is the best fit for your field, in addition to being the best choice for presenting your skills, experiences and personality.  

The traditional chronological style résumé is a “safe” choice because employers are familiar with this style.  People also seem to find the chronological style to be the easiest style to develop.  However, if the chronological style doesn’t work for you because:

  • you’re changing careers
  • you’re returning to the workforce
  • you’re just out of school
  • you want to highlight skills from non-paid experiences….

….it is nice to know you have the option of using a functional style résumé.

In the end, you may want to consider developing both a functional and chronological résumé. Having both styles means you can select the one that will work best for each position you apply for.