Crafting a resume entails more than just writing out the details of your skills, experiences, and accomplishments (although this is, of course, extremely important). Resumes should do more than convey your professional responsibilities and achievements—they should introduce who you are as a professional to potential employers. While there are many factors that can contribute to the personality of the document, including the style and the verbiage, the way in which your information is organized can make a tremendous difference in how you are perceived by hiring managers and recruiters. Ultimately, there are two major organizational approaches to choose from: chronological and functional.

Chronological Resumes: Focusing on Your Career’s Timeline

A chronological format is perfect if you have worked your way up the corporate ladder and are looking to show off the promotions and increased responsibility that you have accumulated throughout the years. By showing your professional experience chronologically, you can visually convey the fact that you have constantly moved up in your career, taking on positions that have challenged you and helped you to grow as a professional.

Chronological resumes are by far the most common, but it is important that yours focuses on the aspects of your experience that are most relevant to the job you are looking to land. Otherwise, readers may get bogged down in the details.

Functional Resumes: Zooming In on Your Most Valuable Skills

Functional resumes are skills-based, meaning that they focus on the professional capabilities that have been developed over the course of a career. The information that is offered on a functional resume is the same as that on a chronological, but the organization allows readers to focus on the abilities that you have to offer, rather than the chronology of your career.

If you have large gaps in your career’s timeline or if you are looking to change the trajectory of your career and enter a new industry, a functional resume might be the best fit for you. This organizational structure doesn’t hide anything; however, it places the emphasis on the skills that you have developed rather than the titles you have held. The goal here is to show that you are qualified for a position before a hiring manager or recruiter discounts you because of a lack of experience or because of time that you have spent out of the workforce.

Choosing the Best Format

While chronological resumes are, by far, the most popular, there are certainly instances in which functional resumes are the way to go. As such, it’s a great idea to talk to the professional resume writers at Chic Resumes by Grammar Chic, Inc. to determine which best suits your professional history and career goals.