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Resumes That Get Noticed – Part 2 of 8

This is the 2nd in our 8 part series. Follow us on Twitter at for other recommendations that get your resume seen by the hiring manager.

iStock_000020920969SmallResume Styles

There are several kinds of resume styles. But, all styles generally fall into three main categories:

• Chronological
• Functional
• Targeted

The Chronological Resume
The style we most often recommend using is the Chronological Resume. This format is also mostly preferred by employers and recruiters. It lists name and contact information at the top, followed by employment history (in reverse order with most recent job first) followed by Education and Training. Since it is so easy to see the work history, employers and recruiters prefer this format.

The chronological format works particularly well for candidates who have consistent work histories, without unexplainable gaps, and with increasing levels of responsibilities, skills and education. With the chronological resume the reviewer can easily see a progression in a candidates responsibilities, experiences and work histories.

The Functional Resume
With the functional style, the resume is formatted providing the candidates goals, objectives and experience in a functional format rather than a chronological format. The skills are presented and job functions are presented that demonstrate skill sets cutting across industry and career boundaries. Unlike the chronological which emphasizes order of occurrence, the functional emphasizes skills and accomplishments in order of importance. It deemphasizes chronology.

The functional style does include an Employment History section. Typically, this part of the resume is brief and presented in a chronological manner. It may only list the company names, titles and dates, leaving the descriptions of the work performed to the functional portion of the resume.

We do not usually recommend using the functional style. But, there are situations where a functional resume is the best choice.
• The functional format may be useful for a candidate who is changing careers or job focus. In this case it is sometimes best to highlight skills and accomplishments that were not central to recent jobs. Such experience may be older experience or skills developed outside of the typical work place such as with volunteer experience.
• The functional resume is often used for candidates having significant interruptions or gaps in their work histories.
• The functional style may be used for a candidate whose career has detoured. In this case it is important to demonstrate consistency in skill sets and job function.

The Targeted Resume
Without a doubt, the Targeted Resume is the best approach for grabbing the recruiter or employer’s attention. This format is an adaptation of the basic chronological resume and is rapidly replacing it. In this technique it is critical to gather as much information as possible about the job opening. Do your reconnaissance and learn about the skills required of the position. This can be done by researching the company, conversations with other employees and mining requirements and key words from the job description or posting. Use this information to tailor your resume to fit the requirements of the job opening.

With the targeted style it is necessary to customize your resume to fit the needs of the job. You want to demonstrate that your background is a close match for the job opening. Identify matching skills, experience and responsibilities from your past employment and education and highlight these on your targeted resume. Include related responsibilities in the descriptions of your previous employment. Mention specific education, training, awards and research that match the requirements of the job. Be sure to mine the keywords from the job posting and weave them throughout your job description, thereby demonstrating your match to the specific requirements of the job.

It is appropriate in the targeted resume to include a Skills Summary section, just beneath your contact information, that outlines specific skills identified in your research for the position. You want to build up your strengths while playing down your weaknesses. Make your strengths standout and demonstrate how they match the requirements of the job opportunity.

The targeted resume takes more time and effort to research and write. It is the best choice when applying for a position that closely matches your skills and abilities. You will have a better chance of securing an interview for the job if you put forth the effort required to create a custom/targeted resume for each of these positions.

This is the 2nd in our 8 part series. Follow us on Twitter at for other recommendations that get your resume seen by the hiring manager. Previous articles in this series include:

Resumes That Get Noticed – Part 1 of 8: Introduction
Resumes That Get Noticed – Part 2 of 8: Resume Styles


Sources & Related Articles:

1. “Tips and Advice on How to Write a Resume” (multiple articles)
By Alison Doyle, Guide

2. “Customized Resume Objective Gets Better Results”
From Laura Schneider

3. “Should You Use a Chronological or Functional …?”
By Roberta Chinsky Matuson, Monster Contributing Writer

4. “How to Target a Resume for a Specific Job”

5. “10 Steps: How to Write a …”
by Susan Ireland

6. Put Your Education to Work on Your …”
By Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Steve Copeland

Executive Editor

Steve Copeland

Steve Copeland is a seasoned career advisor and energy engineering professional. He earned his MBA from Georgia State University, graduated from Georgia Tech with a Mechanical Engineering degree and is registered as a Professional Engineer. He developed his engineering skills working in design, manufacturing, power, construction and consulting. He began consulting in the Staffing/Recruiting arena in 2002 and has advised corporations, senior executives, mid-level managers and engineers with career services since that time. He owns two companies focused in different aspects of career search. His personal bio can be found at

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