‘Conflicting’ Résumé Advice-Case I

A common frustration many job seekers describe involves how often they hear conflicting information about composing quality résumés. Much of this stems from the fact that résumés have different styles and formats depending on many factors; level of experience, employer markets, and types of jobs applied for to just name a few. The job seeker may not understand that the résumé advice someone gives them often reflects that individual’s role in the labor market and the type of hiring situations he or she typically deals with. In multiple posts, I will outline some common scenarios I come across where what appears to be conflicting advice is more a reflection of varied roles within the labor market.

The Marketability of a Chrono-Functional, Hybrid or Combination style Résumé   

In the 2010 Labor Market, many job seekers have found that the profound market shifts affecting their career fields have altered the landscape so much that a career change becomes anything from an option all the way to the only choice they have. The best résumé format for a career changer to showcase their skills is the chrono-functional. Organizing information by skill categories makes it much easier to demonstrate to a prospective employer that one has skills needed for a job than when such skill statements are listed under a job title from a different field.  My boss, Steve Gallison, told me recently that in an informal polling of members of the Professional Résumé Writers Association, writers reported that nearly 40% of the résumés they write currently are combination/hybrid. This represents a true reflection of the times. As more workers seek to make career switches, the demand for chrono-functional résumés will increase. 

Quite often when I discuss developing such a résumé with a career changer, they hesitate. A common argument they give is “A headhunter or recruiter told me to never use a chrono-functional résumé. It means you’re trying to hide something. ” What the career changer may not understand is that most successful “headhunters” or recruiters specialize in specific markets and work mostly with experienced candidates in that field. Unless a recruiter works in a market with a talent shortage, he or she typically would not work with many career changers. Given the fees recruiters charge for a successful placement, they’re  not going to want to explain a different background or format to an employer. From such a perspective, it’s easy to see why a recruiter has little use for a chrono-functional style résumé. But, in most cases as a career changer, you will not likely be working through a headhunter anyway. Your best résumé feedback should come from a career coach or advisor that has worked with individuals making career transitions in the past.


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