Chronological and Functional Resumes

Is your resume working for you? Are you getting interviews for the roles you want?

At Transition Solutions, we help companies with workforce changes and individuals during career transitions. A core component of career searching is developing an effective resume. The major purpose of writing a resume is to obtain interviews. If your resume is not producing interviews for you, then it likely needs to be revised. This critical document creates an image of the product – you!  It is your advertisement.

Your resume should not be a description of job responsibilities. Instead, the quality and content of your resume should promote your accomplishments, reflect your capabilities and strengths and create enough interest for an employer to invite you in for an interview.

There are three resume formats used to describe past work history.

  1. Chronological: This is the format most often recommended. It contains a history of employment, starting with your most recent job, including job title, employment dates (mm/yr) and a bulleted list of accomplishments.
  2. Functional: This format is frequently used when changing careers and/or when you have a broad range of experience. It outlines your core competencies, followed by a list of accomplishments.
  3. Combination: This format highlights your core competencies and is followed by a history of employment and accomplishments.

Which style should you choose?

Indeed recently shared their thoughts on considerations for choosing between the functional and chronological formats for your resume summarized below.

Chronological recommended for:

  • Accomplished professionals looking for a higher position in their current industry.
  • Job applicants with a structured work history and a clear career path.
  • Professionals who got an entry-level position in their degree field and have worked their way up to a higher position in a company.

Functional recommended for:

  • Job applicants who have held a variety of job titles and are looking for an entry-level position in a new industry.
  • Individuals who have a non-standard work history or who have gaps in their career timelines.
  • Professionals who are looking to make a mid-life career change to highlight their skills and their potential for success in a new role.

Regardless which format you choose, remember an effective resume provides the employer with an idea of what you have done — not just a job description. Hiring managers already know the job description; they want to know what makes you stand out from others who have held similar positions. Differentiate yourself by focusing on your results and quantify them whenever possible.

At Transition Solutions, we have been helping companies and individuals with workforce changes for thirty years. Our strong reputation for consistently delivering exceptional service at value sets us apart. If you would like more information on our services please check out our website at or you can contact us directly at 888-424-0003 or email us at