Chronological vs Functional Resume: What Are the Differences?


Did you know that a significant number of hiring managers spend only a minute or so on each resume they see? That’s why it’s so important to hit the nail on the head when it comes to structuring your resume. 

If things aren’t in tip-top shape, you might fall away in a stack of unread resumes. We’re going to look at one characteristic your resume-crafting session should focus on today, giving you some insight into the difference between a chronological vs functional resume. 

We hope the ideas below will give you some confidence for your next resume. Let’s get started. 

Chronological vs Functional Resume Tips

Let’s start with the chronological resume. 

This is a way of structuring your resume that cites your most recent work experience first, followed by the previous experiences in chronological order. All of your relevant jobs and accomplishments should be cited in reverse from the perspective of the reader. 

Chronological resumes are very common, and many jobs you apply for call for them. It’s still important to know when the best time to use a chronological resume is, though. Some situations aren’t great for this type of document. 

When to Use a Chronological Resume

Chronological resumes are used when your work experiences generally fit the requirements of the job at hand. For example, if you’re making a lateral move in your field, you would want to use a chronological resume. 


This shows employers that you’re equipped with the right job experience and lets them know how fresh your experience is. You might also use this type of resume when you have only a few work experiences to cite.

Take a look at this free resume builder and try to create your own chronological resume.  

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume is one that pieces things together to highlight your work history in ways that fit the position. You might create a functional resume to zone in on a particular skill or set of experiences that you have. 

Things don’t need to be in order. Instead, you might craft things in order of importance or according to what looks the best on the page. 

When to Use One?

Use a functional resume when your work experiences aren’t directly tied to the job you’re applying for. Use your experiences craftily to show that you have the skills needed for the job even though you haven’t had similar job titles. 

You might also use this type of resume if you’ve been out of work for a while. You want to focus on your skillset rather than a gap in your employment history, so the functional resume highlights things in random order. 

That way, any gaps in employment history can come up in the interview rather than dissuade hiring managers via your resume. 

Need More Help in Your Job Search?

We hope the information below was useful to you as you create your resume. There’s more to learn if you want to increase your chances, though. We’re here to help. 

Explore our site for more ideas on crafting great chronological vs functional resume samples, finding jobs, back to school tips, and more. 

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Experienced Educational Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Passionate about early childhood education and empowering educators to make informed instructional decisions to meet the needs of all learners. Skilled in professional development, instructional design, curriculum development, educational marketing, and educational publishing and editing. Strong consulting professional with a M.S.Ed. in Curriculum Development and Instruction from California State University at Fullerton. Currently living is Seoul.


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