Does Your Resume Use the Best Formatting?

Many job seekers don’t realize this, but there’s more than one way to format a resume. Chances are, yours follows the standard reverse chronological presentation, but that’s not the only way to do it.

Tailoring your resume for each job you apply to is a must, and part of this includes choosing the format that presents you in the best manner possible. Several factors go into deciding which setup to use, so learn about the two main types.

Reverse Chronological Formatting

The traditional resume format, the reverse chronological presentation places a heavy emphasis on your work history. As implied, each job you’ve held since starting your career is listed, starting with your most recent position. This makes it easy for the reader to map your career progression, and see how you’ve grown and advanced since entering the workforce.

If you’ve followed a conventional career path, this format is typically your best choice. You’ll list the company name and location, your job title, dates of employment and main responsibilities associated with the position.

There’s several different ways to write a reverse chronological resume, but they typically include an objective, summary, and education portion, along with the experience section. You’ll want to tailor each segment to fit the job you’re applying for, because this will make it stand out from the others piled up on the hiring manager’s desk.

Functional Formatting

Sometimes a career path takes unexpected turns, which is where a functional format comes in. If you have gaps in your employment history, are new to the workforce, have changed jobs more than most people, or are trying to change careers, this type of presentation is your best option.

Rather than focusing on past employment, a functional format highlights your applicable skills and experience. Transferrable skills gained from unrelated jobs in other industries, volunteer work and other facets of life are brought to the forefront to show your fit for the job. It involves a lot of time and effort, but this should be tailored for each opportunity you apply to.

Of course, you can’t leave your work history off your resume entirely, but it’s located at the bottom of the page, under your qualifications. Give a brief snapshot of your previous jobs, including company name and location, the position you held, and your dates of employment.

The idea is by the time the reader gets to the bottom of the page, they’ll already be sold on your fit for the job. Therefore your lack of related work experience won’t seem as big of an issue as it would’ve in a chronological format. Work history is often viewed as the deciding factor governing your fit for the job, but this isn’t always fair. A functional resume allows you to shine as a nontraditional candidate.

Presenting yourself as the best person for the job is the key to success. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next behavioral health position, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at

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