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Chronological or skill-based resume?

If you are currently in the job market then you know how important it is to have a resume that’s presented at its best and highlights your strengths. However, you may be wondering which format is best for submitting your resume, a chronological format or a skilled base format? This is important because employers receive hundreds of resumes for each job position that they have opened.

Since the primary purpose of a resume is to get an employer to become interested enough in your skill set to invite you to come in or an interview, then it’s really important to submit resumes in a manner that they are more accustom to. Otherwise, you may find that you will receive little to no responses concerning the status of your resume with regards to the position that you applied for. Having stated that, you may consider having the most commonly used resume format and ready to go. However, should your preference be a skilled base resume one that is less popular and not as user-friendly you should use it as a backup should you need to presented in a manner that places greater emphasis on your skills as opposed to the order of your employment history? Some of the major differences between the two consist of the following.

Chronological Resumes

Chronological resume seems to be more popular than any other format used. It typically consists of a career objective or a career summary along with a listing of your employment history and chronological order with the most recent being listed first. Analogical resumes also contain academic and educational information, to include any certifications or degrees along with any specialized skill set, such as computer skills, the ability to use special machinery or other skills that are relevant to the job position that you are applying for.

The issue with the use of chronologically formatted resumes, however, is that it works great for those who have a history of work experience to add to their resumes, (which typically takes up the majority of the page.) However, those who do not have previous work experience may have challenges using the chronologically formatted resume. In situations such as these, a skilled based resume may be the solution.

Functional or Skilled Based Resumes

Although functional also referred to as skill-based resumes are not as popular as the chronologically formatted resumes. They do provide employees with the opportunity to highlight and place emphasis on some of their core, relevant skills as opposed to their work history.

Your skills should be listed in a manner that ties more to the job position that you are applying for. This could include areas such as typing abilities, organizational abilities, abilities to use various software programs, computer skills and so forth. You can also list any volunteer work that you may have performed that could be relative to the job or the industry that you are applying for. A listing of any education or relevant academic insights, in addition to a summary of your work experience (if any), should also be included.

You may be asking yourself if the chronological resume is more popular than the skilled base resume, at what point should a skilled base-resume be used?

The skilled-base resumes are also useful for individuals who have gaps in their employment or are reentering back into the job market. Those who change jobs frequently, are transitioning into new careers or have a long-term disability or medical leave may find the functionally formatted resumes more useful.

Another benefit of using the functional or skilled base resume is that it also allows you to make note of any transferable skills that you may have acquired between jobs or as you were transitioning into a new industry. The key in this situation is to make your skilled-based resume as easy to follow as possible and easy to scan by the employer.

The bottom line is to remember to properly package yourself by providing employers with the same information but in a different format. Also, remember to also highlight areas that are more relative to the job that you are applying for. For example, use key buzzwords that are found in the job description to help beef up your resume and package it up in such a way that lets the employer know that you are indeed a good fit for the position.

My name is Joost and I have been active as a recruiter for the past 5 years. At, I share my experience, tips and the "secret" tricks to help you get a job. Do you have questions? Please send me an email via the contact form.