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Chronological Resume, Functional Twist

hiring manager reading a resume By Taunee Besson, CMF, CareerCast.com Senior Columnist

Q: For the past three years, I've been a senior VP of marketing services for a large bank holding company. My job requires working with several departments, developing new products and services for our commercial customers. I manage projects, offer advice, and coordinate interdepartmental communication.

Before getting my current job I was a commercial loan officer, finding deals, cultivating relationships with customers, and seeing the tangible benefits of my work (building renovations, new product developments, etc.).

The fact is I enjoyed working in the commercial loan area more than my current job, so I want to move back. Opportunities at my current employer are limited, so I need to look elsewhere for a new gig. But since my current job isn’t in commercial loans, how do I write a resume to emphasize my sales accomplishments? If I follow the typical, chronological resume format, I would list “Senior Vice President of Marketing Services” at the top. But since that’s not the job I’m looking for, I’d prefer to focus on my commercial loan experience instead. Short of writing a functional resume, what’s the best way to represent my relevant experience while maintaining the standard chronological resume format?

A: Most hiring managers prefer a chronological format to a functional one. However, ever a chronological resume has some maneuvering room. Let’s look at how you can write a chronological resume that highlights your sales skills instead of your marketing experience.

Objective Example: A
Commercial Loan Officer serving large corporate accounts for Citi Group

After your name, address, and phone number start your resume with a career objective. Resumes should be targeted sales tools. The more you customize your resume for a specific job, the better your chances are of getting called for a job interview.

In an attempt to write a resume that works for any job, many people leave out the objective or make it very generic. Don't make this mistake! You need your resume to tell hiring managers exactly what you want to do. If you have a job title and a company name, use it.

Experience Example:

XYZ Bank 2007 to present
Vice President, Commercial Loan Division
and Senior Vice President, Marketing Services

Put your last employer first, along with the dates of employment. But instead of listing all your accomplishments next to each job title, just list each job title. You can put dates with each title if you want, but don't emphasize the marketing services position by listing it first with a description or HR will think of you as a marketing strategist instead of a loan professional.

Now that you’ve listed your recent employment history, use the next part of your resume to concentrate on the main functions of the job you want now. As a loan officer you developed relationships, closed deals and monitored client performance. So list these activities after your employment history. Then think about your most satisfying accomplishments (not duties) for each job, and list those as well. Hiring managers are looking for your unique contributions to a company. Responsibilities aren't nearly as impressive as achievements.

Quantify your successes, if possible. You might mention your loan volume, low percent default rate, and increase in new client accounts, all excellent possibilities for impressing potential interviewers. Generally, it's best to list successes in their order of
importance to the employer. The remainder of your experience section can easily follow the typical chronological style, emphasizing achievements in the area you want to pursue (in this case commercial loans) as much as possible.

Education Example:

MBA, University of Connecticut 2000
Dale Carnegie Sales Course 2001
Integrity in Banking 2002
Social Media and Your Company 2008

Along with your degree(s), list your continuing education related to the field you want to pursue. Noncredit courses show an ongoing commitment to augmenting your skill base, and are especially useful when you want to change careers.

Example Volunteer Work:

American Red Cross Board of Directors, Fund Development Committee 2008-present
The Snyder Foundation Grants Committee 2006-2008

Often job seekers don’t think of volunteer work as real experience. However in this economy, that mindset is changing. A great number of unemployed people are involving themselves in satisfying projects that add important skills to their portfolios. For instance, nonprofit boards consider many of the same issues for-profit ones do.

References: References don't need to appear on a resume. However, you should have some in mind if a potential employer asks for them.


taunee besson Senior Columnist Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979 that works with individual and corporate clients in career transition, job search, executive coaching, talent management and small business issues. She is an award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and a best-selling author of the Wall Street Journal's books on resumes and cover letters. Her articles on a variety of career issues have appeared on numerous career/job websites and trade and business journals. Ms. Besson has been quoted numerous times in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money, and a number of other websites and publications.

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