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There are two main types of resumes which can be utilized for your job search, and they are typically known as “chronological” and “functional” resumes. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and which one will work best for you depends on your background and career goals.

A) Chronological: A chronological resume (which is technically a reverse-chronological resume) is basically a normal resume. In this type of resume you will find a list of jobs, from newest (at the top) to the oldest (at the bottom). Each job will contain details about what tasks you performed at each job.

B) Functional: A functional resume is a different approach. Functional resumes group all of your relevant skills in one section (typically titled Core Competencies or something similar). Directly following this section you will find a list of jobs from newest (at the top) to the oldest (at the bottom), but there will be no job details listed under each job.

Now, you may be wondering why a functional resume even sounds like a good idea. I’ll tell you. Functional resumes are ideal for 1) people changing careers, 2) recent college graduates, and 3) people that have held several similar jobs. Details are below:

1) Career Change: Let’s say you have been a construction worker for your entire career, but are interested in getting a job as a Sales Representative. When a hiring manager takes a look at your resume, they will have absolutely no interest in your construction-related duties. Hanging drywall is not related to negotiating $100K deals with potential clients. This is when a functional resume can help. Creating a “core competencies” section which highlights all your experience interacting with customers, addressing their concerns, and educating them on various products will be highly beneficial to your job search (much more so than talking about installing flooring or windows).

2) Recent Graduates: This scenario is very similar to #1 listed above. If you’ve been a server at a restaurant during college, but just graduated with a degree in Business, you need a functional resume. Nobody wants to read about what you did as a server, because let’s face it, everyone already knows what you did. Plus, it is not directly relevant. But, a functional resume will highlight your related customer service and sales skills, and that will help you land an interview.

3) Similar Jobs: Let’s say you have been a Sales Representative for your entire career. You sold cell phones at AT&T, Verizon, Cricket, and Sprint. A job opening for a Sales Representative has just opened up at T-Mobile, and you are dying to get the job. What should you do? You guessed it – a functional resume! Rather than listing out identical responsibilities for each job you’ve had (sales, sales, sales, sales, etc.), you can consolidate all your skills into a Core Competencies section. This will keep employers from reading the same information over and over, and will make your resume much more effective.

So, there is a basic overview of the two main types of resumes. There are several variations (hybrid, achievement-driven, etc.) of each type, but first you will have to determine if you are going to use a traditional resume (chronological) or a functional resume depending on your background and career goals. Good luck!

By Drew Roark