1st-Writer.com Home DepotSue Campbell offers 15 years experience as a professional resume writer and marketing consultant helping clients achieve their career, business, and marketing goals

Resume Services  |  Career Resources  |  Resume Examples  |  Job Search Articles  |  Job Sites  |  About Sue Campbell

Student Center  |  Site Map  |  Do's and Don'ts - Effective Job Search  |  8 Worst Resume Mistakes  |  Resignation Letter

1st-Writer Home

Resume Services

Resume Examples

Career Resources

Job Sites -

* Jobs By Industry
* Jobs By State

Job Hunting Articles

Student Center

Electronic Formats

Professional Bios

Web Page Design

About Sue Campbell

Client Comments

Take A Break!

Site Map

Privacy Policy

See why I use these funny shoes throughout my site

See why I use these funny tennis shoes throughout my site.

"If we choose to be no more than clods of clay, then we shall be used as clods of clay for braver feet to tread on." - Marie Corelli

Marketing Services
Small business marketing plans,  newsletters, Web page documents, brochures, copyediting, graphic ads (online and print mediums) and more.
If you need it created,
1st-Writer can help.

"If you don't feel like the most important client I've ever worked for, then I haven't done my job."
~Sue Campbell

 

 

Reverse Chronological, Functional & Mixed Resume Formats
By Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com

When writing your resume, which format is better to follow: a reverse chronological format that lists your most recent positions and responsibilities in priority and in detail, a functional format that highlights your various areas of expertise without addressing where or when these responsibilities took place, or a mixed format that attempts to present relevant skills and experience in priority by presenting this information under the split headings of “Relevant Experience” and “Additional Employment History?”

For most job candidates, a reverse chronological format is the best choice. It provides the reader with a logical history of the job candidate's experience and achievements in a format that is easy to follow and reference. If written well, this format will also take advantage of the job candidate's areas of expertise and give the reader a full sense of what the job candidate has to offer.

For others, a functional format may be viewed as the best choice, particularly for those who have gaps in their employment, are reentering the job force after an extended absence, are targeting positions that are more in line with positions held in the distant past, or are changing careers and want to bring skills outside their applied titles to the forefront.

For example, an administrative assistant who wants to apply for marketing positions may choose a functional format as a way to bring his or her marketing skills to the forefront, while these skills may be less appreciated or undervalued when placed beneath the title of “Administrative Assistant.”

The problem with using a functional format is that potential employers are quite aware of why this format is used, and may look at a functional resume with some skepticism, initially, as they try to ascertain why a candidate chose to use this format.

Another alternative is a mixed format where a job candidate lists positions and responsibilities most relevant to the targeted position in priority, regardless of their over all chronological order, and includes a secondary heading of “Additional Employment History” at the end of the document to address additional, but less relevant, positions held. The problem with this format is that it can be confusing for the  reader, and it can create a sense of gaps in employment where none actually exist.

When we consider that the resume document is written for the benefit of the reader (potential employer or hiring manager), and that the average resume only receives an initial “reading” time of 15 seconds or less, any perceived value one may have in choosing a functional or mixed format may be lost in its actual application. Therefore, the majority of job candidates would be best served by using a reverse chronological resume. The reverse chronological format remains the format of choice by both job hunters and hiring managers.

(To see resumes in all the file formats used in an effective job search: word processed, PDF, HTML and ASCII files, see "Free Resume Examples.")

Reverse Chronological Resume

To bring specific skills or areas of expertise to the forefront, begin your reverse chronological resume with a strong professional summary section (see Resume Basics and examples of resumes).

A reverse chronological order of employment information begins with the most recent position, and moves backward in time in a reverse chronological format.

Most employers are only interested in that information which is most current (10-15 years of most recent experience) and most relevant to the position being targeted. Therefore, it’s only necessary to go into detail regarding the most recent positions. Older positions can be listed with less detail, with the knowledge that they can be discussed or addressed at greater length at the interview.

Example:

Most Recent Job Title

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Present

  • Responsibility and achievement…

  • Responsibility and achievement…

  • Responsibility and achievement…

Next Most Recent Position

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

  • Responsibility and achievement…

  • Responsibility and achievement…

  • Responsibility and achievement…

For job candidates who can show progressive growth within a single company, this growth can be illustrated in the reverse chronological format by beginning with the company name, followed by individual titles, dates and responsibilities held within the single company, in a reverse chronological format.

Example:

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Present

Progressively promoted to positions of increased accountability

Most Recent Job Title & Promotion  (Month Year - Present)

  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…

Next Most Recent Position & Promotion  (Month Year - Month Year)

  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…

Whichever order of listing you choose (title or company name in priority), keep it consistent throughout the document.

You can bring skills relevant to the positions you’re targeting to the forefront of your individual job listings by listing them in priority and by using industry specific language. This is true even when targeting jobs that are outside your previous titles. For example, if you’re an administrative assistant wanting to target marketing positions, you can augment your actual title with the area of expertise you want to target and then list those applicable responsibilities early in your list of responsibility statements.

Example:

Administrative Assistant - Marketing

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

  • Designed and developed marketing strategies that…
  • Created a customer newsletter to promote
  • Identified potential target markets…and…
  • Represented company at industry trade shows
  • Communicated with existing and potential clients to promote

Education isn’t always listed in its order of historical occurrence, even in a reverse chronological resume. Where education is listed is determined by its ability to qualify you for the position you're targeting. If, for example, your educational achievements are your strongest qualifications for the position, then the education section would take priority over applied experience. However, if you have applied experience that is directly relevant and valuable to the position being targeted, even if your education is your most current achievement, it will usually take priority, as applied experience almost always holds preferential value.

What does this mean? It means that while your educational achievements may be important, and may even be a determining factor in your ability to secure the position (a job ad notes, for example, that a Bachelor of Science degree is required for consideration), a potential employer will likely be more interested in what you've done and where you’ve applied your skills in the past, and how your efforts and contributions impacted previous employers.

Consider, for example, that it’s extremely important for you to know that your dentist has the credentials and educational requirements necessary to practice dentistry, but that you may be more comforted to know that he or she has performed a specific procedure (successfully and with excellent results) many times in the past. Relevant past experience is the greatest indicator of future performance.

If you have little or no applied experience in your targeted industry, then educational achievements can and should take priority in the document. (See New Graduate.)

The basic order of information in a reverse chronological resume:

Name
Contact Information
Objective Statement (optional)
Summary of Qualifications
Professional Experience
Educational Achievements
Relevant Professional Associations (optional)

Functional Resume

A functional resume attempts to bring relevant skills and experience to the forefront of the resume document, with no explanation regarding where and when these skills and responsibilities took place.

Typical headings in a functional resume can include: Sales; Management; Project Leadership, Marketing; etc., with priority given to those headings that are most relevant to the position being targeted.

Following the functional headings, an employment history follows, but with little or no detail.

Example:

MANAGEMENT

  • Management skill, responsibility and/or achievement…
  • Management skill, responsibility and/or achievement…
  • Management skill, responsibility and/or achievement…

SALES & MARKETING

  • Sales and marketing skills, responsibilities and/or achievements…
  • Sales and marketing skills, responsibilities and/or achievements…
  • Sales and marketing skills, responsibilities and/or achievements…

PROJECT LEADERSHIP

  • Project leadership: responsibility and/or achievement…
  • Project leadership: responsibility and/or achievement…
  • Project leadership: responsibility and/or achievement…

EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

Name of Company, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

Name of Company, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

Name of Company, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

Name of Company, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

Within the functional headings above, the responsibilities and achievements listed could have taken place this year or ten years ago. It will be up to the interviewer to determine where and when these responsibilities took place.

The basic order of information in a functional resume:

Name
Contact Information
Objective Statement (optional)
Functional Headings (Marketing, Management, Project Leadership, etc.) in order of their value and relevance to the positions being targeted
Employment History (in reverse chronological format, with little or no detail)
Education
Relevant Professional Associations (optional)

Mixed Resume

A mixed resume attempts to bring more relevant history to the forefront by breaking the employment history in to two sections: “Relevant Career Background” and “Additional Employment History.” Each section follows a reverse chronological format, but with the relevant section of information taking priority. The first position listed under the "Relevant Career Background" may or may not be the candidate's current or most recent position.

Example:

RELEVANT CAREER BACKGROUND

Most Recent Relevant Position

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…

Next Most Relevant Position

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…
  • Responsibility and achievement…

EDUCATION (listed in priority if it's more relevant to the targeted positions)

University Name, City, State

Year

  • Degree

University Name, City, State

Year

  • Degree

ADDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

Position Title

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Present

  • Responsibility and achievement…

Next Position Title

Company Name, City, State

Month Year – Month Year

  • Responsibility and achievement…

The basic order of information in a mixed format resume:

Name
Contact Information
Objective Statement (optional)
Summary of Qualifications
Relevant Career Background (beginning with the most recent relevant position)
Education (the priority given this section is determined by its qualification value)
Relevant Professional Associations (optional)
Additional Employment History (in reverse chronological format)


Should I Hire a Professional Resume Writer?  /  1st-Writer.com Services

See more articles on job hunting

Good luck in your job search! Sue Campbell, 1st-Writer.com - over 15 years experience helping clients achieve their career and business goals. Feel free to e-mail me with any questions you may have. I'll be glad to help!


1st-Writer.com P.O. Box 1128, Keystone Heights, FL 32656-1128 (904) 248-2493   E-mail Sue Campbell

Home   |   Resume Services   |   Marketing Services   |   Career Resources  |  Privacy Policy
Professional Bios   |   Web Design   |   Job Search Articles   |   About Sue Campbell

Site Map   |  Student Center  |  Job Sites by Industry  |  Job Sites by StateSue Campbell has over 15 years experience as a professional resume writer, career strategist and business marketing specialist.

Copyright©1996-2012 Sue Campbell - All rights reserved
This page last updated: 04/23/2012