Chronological vs. Functional Resume: Which Is Right for You (Guest Post)

Finding a great job starts with building a great resume. Depending on your work experience, there are two distinct types of resumes chronological & functional, you must choose between before moving forward with your job search. The chronological resume is considered industry standard, but when used properly, the functional resume can also be a powerful option.

eb-5 visa agents ad

Chronological Resume

What is a chronological resume?

By and large, chronological resumes are considered the norm in the application process. Starting with your current or most recent position, these resumes function as a list of your work and education experience.

You should consider using this format if:

  • You have a lot of experience in the industry you’re applying in. There is no better way to communicate your value to a potential employer than to show them a relevant history of success.
  • You have progressed into positions of leadership. Businesses love interviewing candidates who have leadership experience. This is especially true if your work history indicates that you started in a lower position, and earned promotions through hard work and dedication to your field.
  • You have no major gaps in employment. A history of consistent work shows potential employers that you take your professional life seriously. Having no gaps in your work history shows employers that you make careful decisions, and that you are serious about applying to their company specifically.

Chronological resumes have some decided strengths, but they can backfire if used in the wrong situation. This format makes it difficult to draw attention away from the details employers might not like to see. If any of the three points above are not part of your strengths, using this format risks putting a spotlight on your weaknesses.

Click here to download chronological resume format in Microsoft Word for free.

Chronological vs. Functional ResumeImage Credit to Asierromero / Freepik

Functional Resume

What is a functional resume?

This type of resume is one that prioritizes your skills over your experience. You have much more room on a functional resume to create stories about how you developed your skills. Though there are some people who argue functional resumes are never the best choice, they do have some distinct strengths.

You should consider using this format if:

  • You are moving into a different career. If this is the case, you will not have any relevant work experience to impress a potential employer. Instead, you will emphasize your skills through personal projects and achievements. Functional resumes are great for creative career fields that prioritize impressive portfolios.
  • You don’t have any Without any work history, you simply wouldn’t be able to create a chronological resume. This is a great opportunity to show potential employers the skills that you can bring to the table. In this situation, it is important to use language that shows your enthusiasm to learn and gain experience. Employers sometimes favor the most eager candidates over the most experienced. In general, functional resumes will perform best among these employers.
  • You have significant gaps in your employment history. In some ways, a functional resume is part resume and part cover letter. You have much more space to communicate the narrative that surrounds your situation as a candidate. This format allows more space to describe any gaps in your work history. Alternatively, you can emphasize your strengths and pull attention away from the employment gaps entirely.

The functional resume is a legitimate contender if you don’t have the experience for a chronological resume. Keep in mind, however, that some employers are concerned only with a candidate’s experience. Additionally, some employers just don’t like the format.

Click here to download functional resume format in Microsoft Word for free.

Which Format Should You Use?

If compared side by side, a top quality chronological resume will almost always beat an equivalent functional resume. If you have the experience, use a chronological resume. But if you’re passionate about starting a career in a field in which you have no experience, a functional resume can be a great option to emphasize your enthusiasm.

Ready to build an appealing resume for FREE?

Helen Cartwright
About Helen Cartwright


Helen Cartwright is a passionate blogger, who excels in the Digital Marketing and Technology niche. When not wired in marketing strategies she ghost-writer for a variety of authors who have their work published on leading online media channels such as The Huffington Post and

This entry was posted in Guest Posts, Resume Tips.

  • Tim Cunningham

    True functional resumes have one major drawback that almost always works against those who use them. Because the skills mentioned are usually separated out from the jobs in which those skills were developed, hiring managers tend to suspect that the candidate is using this format to hide something (since many people have used this format to minimize gaps in their work history). One can gain all the advantages of a functional resume without this disadvantage by using the “Hybrid” resume in which a candidate will list a number of key achievements demonstrating key skills in a “Career Highlights” section immediately after the opening summary.

  • i like more functional resume, i think it’s more useful!