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Career Action Center

Chronological vs Functional Format

There are two common formats for a resume. Choose the one that presents your background to the best advantage.


  • Shows employers in reverse order, most recent job first
  • Gives duties and accomplishments under each position
  • Lists starting and ending year for each job
Advantages Disadvantages
Familiar format to employers Doesn’t show themes in your experience
Shows off strong and stable work history Shows gaps in employment
Emphasizes employer and job titles Repetitive if job titles and duties similar


Use a chronological format when:

  • Staying in the same field
  • Job history shows continuous progress
  • Name of last employer is impressive
  • Prior titles relate to next step


  • Job duties and accomplishments arranged by skill categories
  • Work history, including dates of employment, appears as last item
Advantages Disadvantages
Emphasizes major skills and strengths Not as familiar to employers
De-emphasizes unrelated or erratic work history  
Minimizes past job titles  
Easy to include experience from hobbies  
Volunteer work or household management  


Use a functional format when:

  • Changing careers
  • You have little related experience
  • Entering job market for first time