Choosing a resume format is a crucial decision; you want to ensure that you are creating a document that best showcases your skills, strengths, and achievements. Do you choose chronological – the better known and recognized format, or do you go with a functional version – the lesser utilized and often underappreciated version? Decisions, decisions! Well, how about I make it even more difficult for you; why not consider the hybrid resume? Just like it sounds, the hybrid resume is a combination of a chronological resume and a functional resume. It pulls a little from both styles for an entirely different document that allows you to draw attention to your strengths and success while simultaneously providing a career history.
To determine which version is right for you, read on for an overview on the different formats and then choose the one that will allow you to present your value in the best way.
This is the most common resume format, and for good reason; it’s easy to read and is well accepted by hiring managers. If you have a good track record when it comes to your career, meaning consistent employment for 2-3 years at a time, then a chronological format makes the most sense. Start with your most recent employment and then work backwards. If you have an extensive work history going back 15 years should be sufficient.
It seems like the functional resume is often unfairly viewed as the lesser resume format. I personally am a fan of the functional format. When used correctly it can be a huge asset to your job search. A functional resume differs from a chronological in the way that the main focus if on your skills and accomplishments rather than on the positions you held. There are certain times when a functional resume may serve you better than a chronological format including little work experience, reentering the workforce after an extended time off, or if you have numerous short-term positions.
A hybrid resume is a combination of the chronological format and the functional format; it takes the most beneficial aspects from each version and merges them into an entirely new document that puts an equal amount of focus on your achievements and career history. I like the hybrid and utilize it quite a lot with my clients. I feel that it’s the best of both worlds. It gives you the opportunity to share some of your crowning achievements while also providing a history of your professional positions. I also like it because it’s a bit different, but not too different. It’s still easy to read and a hiring manager can find the information that’s needed but it has a slightly uncommon look that may make you stand out in a crowd of candidates.
When choosing which format is right for you, you need to take into consideration your work history, your career accomplishments, the industry you work in, and the position you are applying for. What works for one person may not be what works for you. There are no set in stone rules as to which one will work best for you, you have to evaluate your personal needs, strengths, and achievements and decide how to best present them on a resume.
by Megan Koehler