Which type of resume is right for you?
If you’ve written multiple job applications recently, you’ll have a pretty good idea of the basic do’s and don’ts of resume writing. But you may not be aware that there are actually a few different types of resumes, each of which will suit a slightly different purpose: Chronological, Functional or Targeted.
While it is important to make sure your resume has all the nitty gritty covered (spelling, grammar, evidence etc.), you should also look at the bigger picture and consider which of these formats will be best suited to your experience and the kind of job you are looking for.
Chronological resumes list your career history upfront and in reverse chronological order, with detailed information about the companies you’ve worked for and the roles you’ve worked in. These resumes are aimed to place the emphasis on your long and varied work history and show how you have developed within and between roles.
Chronological resumes works best for candidates with an impressive work history connected to the target job. It is also perfect for candidates who have had a series of job positions under one same umbrella or industry, and with this they prefer to engage themselves in a career that belongs in the same field.
You should consider this style of resume IF:
You have had a consistent, stable career with no or few employment gaps;
You may not meet all application criteria exactly, but have sufficient experience/ability to learn
You have worked with some key organisations relevant to the industry you are applying to work in and want to highlight this; or
You are applying for a senior or management level role and want to demonstrate your professional growth
What if you don't have a lot of experience to boast or have taken regular career breaks in recent years? Functional resumes allow you to draw attention away from your limited work experience and instead onto what skills and capabilities you can bring to a role. These resumes begin by listing key skills and qualifications upfront, while other aspects such as work history, education are added at the end.
Functional resumes are ideal for you IF:
You have only recently graduated or received a qualification
You have changed careers continuously, with different roles in different industries
You have had little work experience;
You are re-entering the workforce after a career break or have gaps in your employment for other reasons;
You are applying for a job in an industry you haven’t previously worked in
Whether you are joining or re-entering the workforce or you're looking for a career change, a functional resume puts the emphasis on your transferable skills rather than your experience.
A targeted format combines the chronological and function formats. While every resume you write should be customised to the role you are applying for, a specifically targeted resume is 100% tailored. This kind of resume will often require you to write an entirely new resume, revising your skills, responsibilities, and experience to match the requirements of the job or the company. This eliminates extraneous information about previous jobs that don't relate to the one that you're seeking.
A target resume might be the right approach IF:
Your skills, qualifications and previous roles are completely aligned with the specific one you’re applying to
You are applying for a high level leadership/executive/managerial role
You have been invited to apply to the job through someone in the company or have been referred by someone in your network
You are not responding to a specific announcement of an opening, but rather are looking to create a role for yourself in a company you like
While they are a little more time consuming to write than a general resume or a general cover letter, targeted resumes can be well worth the effort, especially if you feel you are perfectly suited to the job.
Looking for more resume writing tips and tricks? Read our blog on the essential do's and don'ts of great resume writing.