Q+A: Types of resumes

Questions from our Readers
Answered by Michael Pollock

Q: I have heard about different types of resumes, but know nothing about them. What are the different types and what are the pros and cons of each?

Those who like to categorize things seem to divide resumes into three types: chronological, functional and targeted.

The chronological resume presents your work history in yes you guessed it chronological order. Hopefully this shows a steady progress of gaining knowledge responsibility and experience, but emphasis on the timeline can often obscure your skills.

The functional resume focuses on your skills, the things that you do well and allows you to sidestep the chronology, if it’ s not a strong suit.

The targeted resume is crafted to best position you for a particular position. In this case you present (dare I say “spin”) your experience to the best advantage for that gig.

Probably the first thing the hirer will look for is: what are your skills. If that looks good, then they will want to see that your experience is relevant to them. There is very little desire to train in this market a new hire that can hit the ground running is the ideal. Hence functional could be indicated.

They will want to see that your career has been moving in a positive direction – they don’ t want to bring you in if you are on a downward path. Hence chronological could be the choice.

Your resume needs to present the most persuasive and complete picture to the target you are sending it to. It has no value unless it speaks to the receiver’ s needs. So in order for it to be effective you need to show some understanding of your reader and what she is looking for. Hence targeted.

In almost all cases you will want to create a hybrid of the various types. But know that you have the freedom to use components of each in the appropriate balance to make your strongest case. What counts is the effect it has, not the category it falls into.