What is the Difference Between Reverse Chronological vs. Functional Resumes?

by ResumeEdge.com - The Net's Premier Resume Writing and Editing Service

In modern resumes, information about skills and experience can be listed using three distinct formats:

  1. Reverse chronological
  2. Functional
  3. A combination of the two

Reverse chronological

Generally speaking, hiring managers prefer that employment data is provided with the most recent job listed first, followed by the next most recent, and so on.  In that way, it's easy to see career progression from an entry-level position to a more senior status. It's also easy to detect gaps in dates of employment.  These gaps lead some candidates to use a functional format instead.


Functional formats stress what skills you have, rather than where and when you used them.  These formats are best for students who have just graduated from college and have little "real-world" experience, those who have been out of the workforce for long periods because they were raising children, and job seekers who are transitioning from one career or industry to another.  However, sometimes combining a functional format with a reverse chronological format makes the most sense. These are called combination resumes.


With this format, skills that are relevant to the current job search are placed in a special section by function, while the Professional History or Work Experience is presented in a standard, reverse-chronological format. This format offers the best of both worlds, and is highly popular with modern job seekers and hiring managers.


Reverse Chronological -- Sample One
Reverse Chronological -- Sample Two
Reverse Chronological -- Sample Three

Functional -- Sample One
Functional -- Sample Two
Functional -- Sample Three

Combination -- Sample One
Combination -- Sample Two
Combination -- Sample Three

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