Career Action Center

Chronological vs Functional Format

There are two common formats for a resume. Choose the one that presents your background to the best advantage.

CHRONOLOGICAL

  • Shows employers in reverse order, most recent job first
  • Gives duties and accomplishments under each position
  • Lists starting and ending year for each job
Advantages Disadvantages
Familiar format to employers Doesn’t show themes in your experience
Shows off strong & stable work history Shows gaps in employment
Emphasizes employer & job titles Repetitive if job titles & duties similar

Use a chronological format when:

  • Staying in the same field
  • Job history shows continuous progress
  • Name of last employer is impressive
  • Prior titles relate to next step

FUNCTIONAL

  • Job duties and accomplishments arranged by skill categories
  • Work history, including dates of employment, appears as last item
Advantages Disadvantages
Emphasizes major skills & strengths Not as familiar to employers
De-emphasizes unrelated or erratic  
Work history  
Minimizes past job titles  
Easy to include experience from hobbies  
Volunteer work or household management  

Use a functional format when:

  • Changing careers
  • You have little related experience
  • Entering job market for first time