Government Resume Formats

Resumes can be chronological, functional or combined. Let's look at these one at a time.

Chronological Resume

This type of resume is the most popular. It lists experiences in a time sequence with the most recent
experience first. It works best for people who have had no gaps in employment and are well on their way
up their career ladder.

Employers and recruiters tend to prefer this format as it is the easiest to read and follow, and doesn’t take
as much time to interpret as the other formats. It also demonstrates an applicant’s steady and upward
career growth, and accounts for all time periods. The focus of the chronological resume is on time, job
continuity, growth, and achievements.

A chronological resume will be less successful if you are seeking a career change and your most recent
position is unrelated to the type of job you're applying for. It is also less successful if you have had a string
of unrelated positions or gaps in your employment history. Job hunters who have such a background often
use a functional resume format to present their credentials.

In general, chronological resumes are the best ones to use when applying for government jobs.

Example of the first page of a chronological resume:

chronological resume

Functional Resume

This type of resume is the least popular. It lists your experience by skill areas, and the emphasis is on what
you have done, not when or where you’ve done it.

Accomplishments, qualifications and experience are grouped together, to emphasise your talents in specialty areas. For example, your skill areas might include marketing, public relations and management. Then, under each of these categories, you can describe the skills you have gained from all your work, volunteer experiences and professional development.

This format can be very effective for those who have held several of the same kinds of positions, those who
wish to focus on skills to change to another position, or for those who are returning to the workforce after
a prolonged absence.

The negative aspect of using this format is that many employers and recruiters will have difficulty reading
and understanding this format. This format makes it more difficult to find out when and where an
applicant's accomplishments occurred, and employers and recruiters are aware that applicants who are
trying to conceal serious liabilities in their backgrounds sometimes use functional resumes. As such, if you
do use a functional resume, be prepared to answer detailed questions about your work history during the

It's best to use this kind of resume when:

  • You're returning to the workforce, for example, after maternity leave
  • You've been unemployment for more than 2 years
  • You're changing industry
  • You've been employed by the one organisation for more than 10 years

Example of the first page of a functional resume:

fuctional resume

Combination or Hybrid Resume

A combination resume is exactly as it sounds, a combination of a chronological and a functional resume. It
uses a career profile similar to that of the functional resume, and then proceeds to describe employment
and education histories in reverse chronological order.

A combination resume is a good way to highlight key successes, while also showing when and where they
occurred. Combination resumes are preferable for highly experienced applicants applying for high level
(e.g. executive) positions, with impressive achievements to highlight.

Unfortunately, as most resumes get only an initial glance and aren't read in their entirety, most employers
and recruiters will not read all the way through. If you are applying for a position that you expect will get a
number of applications, it is best to stick to a simple and straightforward chronological resume.

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