A resume is a means to obtain a job interview; a way to get a foot in the door and prove that one is worthy of the job available. Employers screen job applicants by perusing resumes and attempting to choose the best candidate for the job opening. Choosing the right form of resume will depend upon the applicant's skills and job history.
The most common resume is the chronological resume. A chronological resume present the work history in chronological order beginning with the current employment and working the way back in history. These sorts of resumes work very well for someone who has been in the same job for years or is simply moving from a similar job position to another. Many include upward mobility in the current employer as an example of how they've moved through the ranks and would be a great asset to a new company.
For those who haven't had an extensive work history, have gaps in employment or other breaks that are more difficult to explain a functional resume is in order. A functional resume can showcase skills and experiences that would be the greatest asset to a person applying for the job position at hand. Volunteer work as well as education can be worked into this resume very easily thus explaining gaps in employment. They work well for a former stay-at-home mom returning to the work force, a person getting back to work after illness or someone who took a break between jobs for further education.
Many people choose to use a combination of the functional and chronological resume. Although this is risky it can work in some extreme cases where someone has researched the information and woven it in very carefully.
Job applicants seeking to be hired would be wise to remember that resumes should be kept short, sweet and to the point. When someone adds too much information to a resume recruiters often toss those out. It's too much work to read through the resume and decipher all of the information.
A nice cover letter is also a requirement. The cover letter doesn't have to be very long but should include a brief introduction stating that the resume is enclosed. Don't include information on the resume in the cover letter. In today's job market it's a given that references will be provided upon request so that is another line that isn't necessary on either the cover letter or the resume.
Stay focused and adjust the resume as needed to fit the job being applied for and chances are the efforts will pay off and the applicant will at least secure an interview.