Singapore Resume Format: Theory vs. Practice

We all know the theory. There are three Singapore resume formats – Chronological, Functional and Combined. When writing a resume, you need to decide on the format which is best for you, depending on your work history, education and job targets.

However – “In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is.” — Jan L.A. van de Snepscheut or Yogi Berra.

So keeping that in mind, let’s start with a round-up of the theory explaining each Singapore resume format, along with their pros and cons.

Chronological Resume Format

This format focuses on the chronology of your work history by highlighting dates of employment, places of employment, and job titles. This format directly ties responsibilities and accomplishments to companies and time frames.

Use this Singapore resume format if you:

  • Want to highlight stability, consistency, growth, and development in your career.
  • Are looking for a similar or more senior position within the same industry.
  • Have job titles that are impressive stepping stones and your most recent position is the one most likely to impress prospective employers.

Advantages

  • Enables an employer to determine, at a glance, where and when you’ve worked and what you accomplished at each job.
  • Is the most common and widely accepted format.
  • Provides the employer with a clear sense of your career progress.

Disadvantages

  • Limited work experience and employment gaps are obvious.
  • Could reveal a history of changing jobs frequently.
  • Could reveal if you were in the same job too long or have held the same type of job too long.
  • Does not highlight skills and accomplishments as much as it highlights work history.

Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format emphasizes your skills, capabilities, and accomplishments, and de-emphasizes your job titles, employers, and dates of employment. The functional format allows you to prioritise your experience and accomplishments according to their impact and significance, rather than chronology.

Use this Singapore resume format if you:

  • Have changed jobs frequently in the past few years.
  • Have gaps in your employment history.
  • Have limited work experience in your job target.
  • Are changing careers.
  • Gained significant experience outside your career path.

Advantages

  • Highlights accomplishments, skills, and experience most relevant to your career objective.
  • Takes focus off gaps or inconsistencies in your work history.
  • Draws from a range of paid and non-paid experiences.

Disadvantages

  • Experience is not directly tied to specific job titles and dates of employment which can lead employers to suspect you’re trying to hide something.
  • Does not emphasize promotions and career growth.
  • Makes it difficult for hiring managers to tell exactly what the candidate did in each job.

Combined Resume Format

The combined format includes the traditional Experience section of a chronological resume as well as the skills and accomplishments sections of a functional resume.

Use this Singapore resume format if you:

  • Are a senior-level professional or executive and have significant accomplishments.
  • Want to highlight your relevant abilities during a career transition.
  • Want to emphasise skills and abilities you have not used in recent jobs.
  • Have been freelancing, consulting, or performing temporary work.

Advantages

  • Highlights your primary skills and accomplishments at the top of your resume.
  • Format can be arranged to emphasise either skills and abilities or work history, whichever is most appropriate for your career objective.

Disadvantages

  • Resume could become longer than necessary and may lose the employer’s interest.
  • Resume may contain redundant information or lack focus.

You can see examples (courtesy QuintCareers) of the 3 resume formats here [CV formats].

Now, based on my experience with resumes, job seekers and recruiters, here’s what I suggest you do in practice, for picking a Singapore resume format:

  • For most people the Combined resume format (with detailed descriptions of previous job responsibilities/achievements and not just a list of jobs held), works quite well. It’s probably what you should use as well.
  • In case you really can’t get a Combined Singapore resume format to work for you, then use the Chronological format.
  • As far as possible, don’t use the Functional resume format. It’s confusing and irritating to read. Recruiters & hiring managers are not stupid and will still be able to figure out any gaps in your work history, or other things you might be trying to hide.

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