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Do employers like reading Functional or Chronological resumes more?

Does the type of resume you have work better for different industries? I have a functional resume that I use in the financial services industry and a chronological resume that I use for non-profits is my method fine? #jobs #financial-services #resume-writing #nonprofits #job-application

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Kieran’s Answer


You are right - different industries would likely look for different resume types. When I am hiring, I want to see what skills you can provide right up front, so I prefer seeing Functional resumes. That's because I typically hire looking for specific technical skills - such as branding, digital communication, and graphic design. It's much easier for me to see those skills on a Functional Resume versus filtering through bullets on a Chronological resume that might have a lot of "fluff" that I'm not looking for.

However, there are other industries that really need to see the timeline of your work history. One I can think of is in Education. If I am hiring a teacher, and I know that it's unlikely someone without the credentials would apply for the position, I'd prefer to see a Chronological resume so I can see how many years they've been an educator. From there, I can review the skills they detail more closely.

I think it's great you work with non-profits as well as in the financial industry. Don't forget, those skills can overlap. If you have experience in volunteering at a non-profit that makes you a stronger candidate for a job in the financial industry, do not neglect to include that experience!

Good luck!


Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer! Mounia
Thank you comment icon You are welcome. Please let me know what happens next! Ken Simmons
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Jessica’s Answer

In my experience, Functional has been more accepted by employers. You are able to target key skills that apply to that particular position, but it really depends on what you are putting on the resume. Here are some differences when using each format:


A stable work history with few breaks

Staying in the same career field

Job titles show an increased responsibility

Past job titles match job requirements


Graduates or people going through a career change

To highlight specific skills, knowledge or abilities

If you are re-entering the job market

Variety of work experience or large gaps in your work history

I hope this helps! With either format, make sure you are highlighting why you would be a great fit for the position. Make sure you are being short and brief. You want to grab their attention and hopefully invite you for an interview. Resumes are meant to let the employer know your skills, but also make them want to meet you in person. That is where you can truly show who you are! Good luck with everything!

Thank you comment icon This is very helpful! Thank you for your answer! Mounia
Thank you comment icon You are very welcome! Jessica Montgomery
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Carole’s Answer

If you have some work experience, such as a part-time job as the editor of your school paper, you should use the chrono-functional resume format, which by the way is the one that I use for myself. Recruiter and interviewer like to see some kind of work history, even if it doesn't relate to your job objective because it demonstrates that you have a good work ethic. the chronological is good for listing your employment and your job duties. An Interviewer like the short sentences to read because they are easier to find your skills. The qualifications is also good for a short list of one or two words each and that way the one
reading can zero in on whether you might be a good candidate.

The functional part of the resume has to do with: a short objective such as: "A career in Public Relations". also sometimes your experience can be shown with a couple of sentences which give the reader an idea of what you did; then underneath this you can use skills in chronological order to show the reader how you will fit into the company and this is easier to read. If your most recent job has skills that you would be using for the job you are sending your resume for then a short couple of sentences would be good to write about this job and be sure and mention the skill that would transfer to this new job. the other job you put on the resume can be done in chronological order with dates, name of company and position that you held. You can also put dots before each skill that you have. The Education area can also be chronological listing dates of each school; if you received a degree or certificate; you should list name and the dates.
The Chrono-functional is the easiest way to form a good resume and the easiest for the reader, but you have options to make it all Chronological or functional. Function is more difficult to write and take more time to read. When listing job duties under your experience you should focus on your accomplishments and achievements, even if they are small. Example: Lifeguards at a busy beach established recycling program for bottles and cans. That is a great accomplishment and show that you are very resourceful and has good thought processes.

If I were you I would pick up a good resume book at the library or search on line for some samples so you can see the difference between the two and decide which is best for you. Remember don't put anything personal on your resume such as age, weight, race, religion and others, and don't put references on your resumes, bring an extra paper with your references. You should also only list your hobbies and interest if they are in direct relevance to the type of job you are seeking.

I use the Essential Job search and Resume writing book by Laura Morin. There are many others that are good also.

I wish you the best in deciding which resume you prefer, but remember think about the reader and which one would be easier for that person to find out who you are. Do a little research to see which way is best for you. Please let me know if you have any other question.

This is the way I would usually set up a resume:

Name, address and city, phone and email go in the left hand corner or in the middle up on top of the page. Each has a line of its own.

  1. Objective

  2. Qualifications Summary

  3. Education or Experience (If you are a new Grad Education should come next with name of school, date and degree. or if experience is more recent then that comes next and the education came come after the experience.

  4. Awards can come next especially if they are related to the job.

  5. Activities or clubs; and if you help an office for this club.

Thank you comment icon Thank you very much Carole! This is extremely helpful! Mounia
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Ken’s Answer

Hi Mounia!

You asked a very important question.

Most importantly, functional resumes are most effectively used to highlight the attributes that you want to use again and that you deem most appropriate for the position for which you are applying and thus should be used for all situations.

When I was running my reemployment program, people kept commenting that they were being hired for the positions which they did not want. My comment was that they were using a chronological resume and simply listing everything that they had done and people were hiring them for those things that they had done before. After I helped them develop a functional resume highlighting the things that they had enjoyed doing, felt were accomplishments, and wanted to do again, the problem went away.

Also, the functional resumes are easier for the employer to read and relate to an opening.

Here are some helpful tips:

Let me know if and how this helps. Keep me posted. I would like to follow your progress.

Thank you comment icon Thank you for your answer! Mounia
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Russell’s Answer

Resume preferences are really a question style. I don't care what the resume style is so long as it is crisp, clear and makes sense (chronological, functional, etc...). More importantly, when someone is looking to fill a position, they look for specific words that indicate knowledge in a specific area. For example, in IT vendor management I look for words such as 'scorecard' on resume which indicates ability to manage performance. Then in an interview, I ask about what specific items are in their scorecards. So, target something specific to a job and ensure you have specific references to it. Usually the hint of what is needed is in the job requirement!