July 3, 2023


By Alex Harrington, Founder and Chair

In 2010, many agencies across the federal government underwent a major overall of their hiring processes, with one significant change to “allow individuals to apply for Federal employment by submitting résumés and cover letters…” What this meant to job applicants was that they no longer had to drudge through a complicated federal application, but instead submit a professional, tailored résumé. However, while the hiring reform allowed jobseekers to use formatted résumés, it was still up to them to know which type to use.

Keep in mind: the résumé format you choose can significantly impact – good or bad – how a hiring manager perceives your knowledge, skills, and abilities. That's why understanding the different types of résumé formats, and more importantly, when to use them is crucial.

The three most common résumé formats are: chronological, functional, and hybrid/combination.

Chronological Résumé


* The chronological résumé is the most traditional format that is used by most job seekers; typically, those with more than two years of steady work in a career field.

* It provides a clear and concise chronology of your employment journey, making it easy for hiring managers to understand your career progression. It particularly underscores your professional accomplishments and illustrates how they collectively contribute to the ascending trajectory of your career.

* The chronological résumé also emphasizes consistent employment across 10 to 15 years and is particularly good for demonstrating value and commitment to each organization.


* If you have significant employment gaps, the chronological résumé will make them very apparent.

* This format tends to emphasize tasks, not necessarily skills or accomplishments (this includes non-work experiences, such as volunteer work or extracurricular work activities).

* It may not be suitable if you are thinking about changing careers, as it focuses on job titles and experiences in chronological order.

Functional Résumé


* The functional résumé is skills-based and is helpful if you have gaps in your employment history or plan to change careers fields.

* It can emphasize relevant skills for the job you’re applying to, regardless of where or how they were developed – e.g., volunteer work or extracurricular work activities.

* This format allows you to showcase your transferable skills and relevant accomplishments upfront.


* Since it's less traditional, some hiring managers may find this format confusing or think you’re trying to hide something.

* It doesn’t present a clear chronological history of your work experience, which some employers want to see.

* It may not work as well for those who have not yet developed a broad set of skills.

Hybrid/Combination Résumé


* The hybrid résumé allows you to highlight relevant skills while also providing a chronological list of your work history.

* It is flexible, making it a good option for people with diverse skills or a mix of freelance and full-time work experience.

* This format is excellent for demonstrating both your skills and how you've applied them in a work context.


* If not well organized, this format can easily become confusing for the employer.

* It can be longer than traditional résumés because it includes more detailed information.

* For those with little professional experience, it might be challenging to fill out both sections thoroughly.

So, it’s very important to choose the correct résumé format that best fits your current career situation.

1) The chronological résumé is best used by individuals with a steady work record, who have grown in their responsibilities, and who are pursuing work in the same or similar areas.

2) The functional résumé is best used by individuals with little or no previous work experience, who have employment gaps and are frequent job changers.

3) The hybrid/combination résumé is best used by career changers or people in transition, individuals entering the job market after an absence, and contract workers.

Right click and download our Top 3 Résumé Formats Infographic:

Top 3 Resume Formats

‍About FCC, Inc.

Federal Career Connection, Inc. is an all-volunteer program. It consists of a cadre of federal insiders and workforce development experts, including hiring managers and trainers, whose mission is to increase awareness and participation of public, national, military, or other federal service professions for individuals who have a calling to serve.

To stay up to date on FCC, Inc., please visit our website, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter, and sign up for our events and much more through our partner organization Career Network Ministry’s Meetup page. You can also support us financially or volunteer with us.  

Editorial Note: All the information inthis blog is published in good faith and for general information purposes only.The text of this blog was supported by ChatGPT (2023-07-03). OpenAI Blog doesnot make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy ofthis information. Any action you take upon the information you find in thisblog, is strictly at your own risk. FCC Inc. will not be liable for any lossesand/or damages in connection with the use of this blog.

Alex Harrington
Chair & Founder
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