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Resume Formats – Pros and Cons

Depending on what field your are in, the extent of your experience, and any strengths you wish to showcase or challenges you may wish to hide; the decision of which resume format is correct for you is critical.


The most standard and common format for a resume is chronological. This lists your most recent position first and then your previous positions in descending order.

Pros include:

  • Highlights a well known and respected organization or corporation. Were you the assistant to the CEO of Procter and Gamble? Did you have an intern position at the White House? This format allows you to showcase the company in addition to your skills and therefore gain more recognition by simple association.
  • It is far easier to review and obtain information for the recruiter. Many recruiters will say that if a resume is too difficult to decipher, they simply will move on to the next applicant's materials. This format clearly lists the name of the company, dates, title, and specific job duties.

Cons include:

  • Perhaps you do not want to highlight your previous employer. Were you an Accountant at Enron? Did you intern for Bernie Madoff's organization? It is not always beneficial to be associated with an organization that known for something negative and therefore if you spent a large amount of time with this employer, the functional format may be more beneficial for you.
  • If you have large gaps in employment, too many positions, or too little experience at all. If you were a stay-at-home mother, out on disability, or even as dramatic as being in jail; you have gaps in your employment that would be much easier to over look with a functional format resume. In addition, someone that has had too many jobs in a short period of time is a huge red flag for many employers. As well as someone that may just be out of school or just entering the workforce for the first time.


An alternate to the standard resume format can be a useful tool for many that need a creative spin on their employment history or perhaps work in a progressive field such as education that may prefer the focus on someone's accomplishments, vision, and projects rather than the traditional name, rank, and serial number type of information.

Pros include:

  • You can hide long absences from the workforce or de-emphasized too many positions or too little experience at all.
  • If your career is in an industry that you would repeat the same job duties for each position. It would beneficial to focus more on the projects and accomplishments as a cumulative synopsis. Such as a waitress or bartender.

Cons include:

  • This type of format is very difficult in the review process for a recruiter and you run the risk that they may not want to take the time to review a document that takes more time to understand.

More Resume Writing Articles

Making Your Career Success Our #1 Priority

The Resume Professionals Team

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Career Self-Assessment Tool
Developing Your Career Strategy
Steps to Advancing Your Career
How to Succeed in a Management Role
  Interview Advice:
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How to Succeed at a Phone Interview
Answering Questions Regarding Weaknesses
How to Handle Second Interviews
  Job Search Tools:
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Traditional Job Search Tools
Mastering the Online Job Search
Search Jobs Online
  Career Resources:
Career Articles
Interview / Job Search Articles
Cover Letter Articles
Resume Writing Articles
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