The biggest difference between a chronological resume and a functional resume is the fact that a chronological resume, when done correctly, is easier for hiring managers to read. Potential employers will usually read a chronological resume starting with your employment experience, and look at everything else afterward. Because of this, those with gaps in their employment history may find it difficult to explain.
If you see these gaps in your history, they may be keeping you from getting a job. Hiring managers like the chronological format because it’s laid out in a coherent fashion, and gives them a good idea of your background-for better or worse. If you’ve been with the same company for many years this is a bonus (proving a long history of reliability), but like many career changers it could be cause for concern.
Obviously, there can be numerous reasons for employment gaps. Maybe you took time off for your children, you had health concerns, or you went back to school. A company being downsized will also create a vacuum in your resume, as will a tour in the military or an impending recession. Whatever your reason, if you have such gaps, you’ll need to use the functional resume in order to emphasize your various skills and accomplishments-instead of the years you were unemployed.
To begin with, you need to create a resume that clearly states at the beginning what sort of position you want. Write a brief statement that has a history of your career up till now-what fields you’ve specialized in and your previous employers. But be sure to highlight everything that’s important to your prospective company. Emphasize your leadership experience and managerial skills that coincide with what the hiring manager is looking for.
If the job you’re hoping to get was advertised, examine the ad closely and make certain to form a connection between the job description and everything you have done in your life that would fit that description. Form a list of all your qualifications so the manager reading your resume will be able to find everything at a single glance. Also, if you happen to know your prospective employer utilizes software that automatically scans incoming resumes, try using keywords that correlate to your potential job; this will ensure that your resume will at least be highlighted and seen from their resume database.
If you’re changing careers and find yourself with significant gaps in your employment history, planning a resume that will get attention isn’t difficult, but it will take time. If you can tailor each resume you send to match the needs of each potential employer rather than focusing on your work history, you can be sure you’ll be getting plenty of callbacks.