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Why Your Resume Shouldn’t Be Chronological or Functional

Resume Target
Peter Alfred Hess

Peter Alfred Hess


Deciding on the right resume style for your work experience is often just as frustrating as trying on jeans at your local mall. You take both a size six and a size eight into the fitting room — one is too small and the other is too big. Nothing ever fits perfectly.

The same frustration occurs while you sit in front of your computer, debating between a functional or chronological resume — neither of them really fits, and neither is effective. Your resume should be a compilation of your most relevant experience, placed in the order that is most effective and easy to follow for the hiring manager.

We call this a “combined resume” because it combines all of the strengths of a functional and chronological resume into one document that will actually get you interviews. Here are some resume tips that will get you noticed.


Step 1: Determine the relevance

Read through the job posting and identify your most relevant experiences that align with what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. Make sure you can draw parallels between yourself and all of the requirements from academic background to daily tasks.

Here comes the tricky part: You want as much of this information as possible to appear on the first page of your resume.

Step 2: Create a value statement.

Delete your objective statement and create a five-sentence introduction to your resume that states you meet all of the minimum requirements for the role. Use this checklist to help.

  • Number of years of experience
  • Industry expertise
  • Current role and title
  • Academic background
  • Most impressive related achievement

Step 3: List the right keywords.

Identify the most important keywords embedded within the job posting and place them into a Core Skills table below your value statement. Only include the keywords that pertain to your experience.

Step 4: Highlight significant achievements.

Similar to a functional resume, you want to highlight your most relevant skills and achievements, regardless of where they appear on your timeline. You can do this by creating a “Significant Achievements” section that states your top three experiences that show you are perfect for the role. Ensure you attribute these points to a specific role that is listed within your experience section to give it context.

Step 5: Keep your experience in order.

After highlighting your significant achievements, you must tell the hiring manager what you currently do for a living. This will inevitably be the question at the top of her mind, and there’s no better way to answer this question than chronologically.

Work backward from your most recent role to a maximum of 10 years prior. Under each role, include a brief scope of your accountabilities, and then focus on your contributions, achievements and improvements throughout your time with the company. If your most recent experience is academic, then place your education section before your work experience.


Your resume will always have elements of a chronological and a functional resume, but you shouldn’t feel like you are stuck to a template. A resume begins as a blank document, and you have the power to shape the information to explain your career history in the most effective way possible.

ResumeTarget.com provides professional resume writing services for clients of all career levels across North America. We are the only resume writing company that offers a professionally written resume coupled with the guidance of recruiters, to guarantee that your resume will get results.

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