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Choosing the Best Format for Your Resume

In today's highly competitive business climate, there is tremendous pressure to fashion a resume that can easily be distinguished from the flood of other resumes that pass over the recruiting office threshold. While one can certainly be creative in crafting a resume, a job seeker does not want to be overly imaginative. A resume that resembles a wedding invitation, for instance, would be considered unprofessional and rather odd.

When formulating a resume, it is important that a job applicant follow standard business procedures. By doing so, the applicant shows that he or she is accustomed to working in a professional, success-oriented environment. While you may be able to add your own personal touch to your resume, it is best if you present a resume that is in one of the following formats: chronological, functional, or a combination of the two.

Taking the Chronological Course

By and large, the chronological resume is the simplest to compose and, in fact, many employers actually prefer it. The advantages of such a resume are that it indicates clearly up at the top what you've been doing in your most recent position. As the prospective employer scans down the resume, he or she can see where you came from and what special skills you've acquired along the way.

And yet, there are some noteworthy drawbacks to such a resume. For instance, if you've held a number of different jobs in the past few years, such a resume may suggest instability and a lack of follow-through. A chronological resume can also be a detriment to your job search if you have accumulated little work experience, if there are gaping holes in your employment history, if you have held widely divergent jobs, or if you've held the same job for a long period of time.

When Functional Works Best

If you believe that a chronological resume simply will not fit the bill, you might be better off with a functional format. Such a format de-emphasizes job history. Instead, the focus is on your professional achievements, your job skills, and your education. With this resume, you'll be spotlighting your most relevant qualifications near the beginning of the resume. You'll also be confident that you are showcasing your assets in the best possible way.

Yet, there are also some noteworthy disadvantages to a functional resume. To begin with, it is far from the standard format, so it can make an employer feel uncomfortable. In addition, an employer might jump to the conclusion that you are trying to hide important information by failing to list your jobs in chronological order. In fact, a number of resume-writing experts recommend avoiding the functional resume if at all possible.

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