How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Types of Resume/CV
There are several different types of resume/CV, as described below. It can be useful to have several different varieties at hand, ready for use.
For many, the difference between a Resume (also written with accented vowels as 'Résumé') and a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is nothing, other than in the USA the common term is Resume whilst CV is used in the UK and some other countries.
This should not be important in job hunting across borders, as there is no real need to say 'Resume' or 'CV' on you application.
There is, however, sometimes a difference, where a resume is a shorter summary, which may be and CV is a more comprehensive one page. description. If you are not sure which to use, then check with the target company or tend towards a shorter format with a note in your cover letter that 'more details are available on request'.
A variant of the short summary is the brief biography. This tends to be even shorter and used on websites, for conference proceedings, book jackets and so on.
The chronological CV plots your previous jobs and career through time. This gives a sense of a story to your life, helping the reader make sense of your choices and letting them see your career progression.
Use of a chronological resume/CV is appropriate when your career has followed a logical progression, typically within a single subject/industry.
The forward chronological resume/CV puts your earliest jobs first and then others in time sequence after this.
If you had any breaks, for example for travel, military service or education, these may also be shown within the time sequence (although these may also be shown separately).
Note that the forward chronological sequence is less common these days. If in doubt, use the reverse sequence.
In the reverse chronological resume/CV, jobs are listed in the reverse order, with the latest job first, then the one before that and so on backwards in time.
The reason for the reverse chronology is that the person reading the resume/CV is scanning quickly and recent jobs are generally considered to be more important than ones from longer ago (this can be easily challenged, but sadly this is the mental model that is commonly used).
Length of chronology
Most employers are only interested in the last five to fifteen years. This typically depends on how fast the knowledge and skill areas change in the given role and industry. There is also an assumption by some that people forget so much that previous skills and knowledge will have faded significantly.
When to use it
Use this format when you have a career that has a logical progression that will make sense to a recruiter. Typically this is, as mentioned above, when you have had the same types of job and where you can show a progression of increasing responsibility.
The functional resume divides the description of what you have done into sections where the work was of a similar type or where it used similar skills.
This lets you say 'I have a broad experience that gives me a deep ability in this area.' by showing what might otherwise be seen as different activities as actually having a sensible connection.
You may have worked across different jobs doing a similar type of activity, for example project management, business improvement or company turnarounds. Your job titles in such roles may have been quite different, but the actual work could have been very similar.
Sometimes the work may have been quite different, such as HR management and software development, yet the underlying skills such as analysis or leadership have sufficient similarity for you to claim a breadth of ability in these areas.
When to use it
The functional CV is good for people who have had an eclectic mix of jobs that do not necessarily make sense as a coherent career and which may confuse a recruiter.
It can also be helpful when there are specific skills and abilities required for the role that you have acquired across a range of jobs.
A 'job requirements' resume takes headings from a the description you are given for the needs of the job and then shows how you fit this particular need. It may well have the format of the functional resume, only with customized content to fit the job.
This styling is less common and if you are concerned that this will not go down well, you can vary the headings slightly to create an intermediate format that is not so obviously a 'job requirements' force-fit yet stands out as being a remarkably good match for the job.
A more explicit method is to use a table where one column details the words of the job requirement as given whilst a second column lists your experience and qualifications that indicate how well you cover this area.
When to use it
Use it when you can give good evidence in most job requirements areas. Avoid it if there are gaping holes in your experience or qualifications that are being asked for.
As an alternative, you could use it within a cover letter to show in a slightly less formal setting how well you suit the job.