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Chronological Resumes With a Functional Twist:
How to sell your skills and experience, not your last job

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

Before being chosen for my current position, I was one of the most active commercial loan officers in the entire system. Finding deals, cultivating relationships with customers, and seeing the tangible benefits of my work (building renovations, new product developments, etc.) was really satisfying and made a significant bottom-line contribution.

After some careful consideration, I've decided to move back into the commercial loan area.  Because opportunities with my current employer are very limited, I'll need to investigate positions with other banks.  My question for you is: Given that my most recent experience hasn't been as a commercial loan officer, how do I put together a resume to emphasize my sales accomplishments? If I follow the typical format, “Senior Vice President of Marketing Services” will be in the place of honor at the top of the positions listed. I prefer not to have it there, but I can't leave it out, can I? Short of writing a functional resume, which bankers don't appreciate, what is the best way to represent my experience on paper?

Answer: You're correct in assuming that bankers prefer a chronological format to a functional one. Their attention to detail naturally compels them to look for job titles and dates in exact reverse order with no gaps in work history. To be credible, your resume must conform to this mindset.  However, ever a chronological resume has some maneuvering room. Let’s look at how you can spotlight your sales skills instead of your marketing experience.

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

After your name, address, and phone number, state a career objective. Resumes should be targeted sales tools. The more you tailor yours for a given job, the better your chances of getting an interview.

Unfortunately, in an effort to appeal to everyone, many people either leave out their objective or frame it so broadly it serves no purpose. Don't make this mistake! To catch a potential employer's eye, tell him or her what you want to do. If you have a job title and a company name, use it.

Experience Example:

XYZ Bank 2004 to present Vice President, Commercial Loan           Division and Senior Vice President, Marketing Services

Put your last employer first, along with the dates of employment. Rather than list each job title with its accomplishments, mention them both just under the employer heading. You can even put dates with each title if you want, but don't emphasize the marketing services position by listing it first with a description. This sidetracks the potential employer into thinking of you as a marketing strategist rather than a loan professional.

Instead, concentrate on the main functions of the job you want now.  For instance, as a loan officer, you developed relationships, closed deals and monitored client performance. After you've identified your key activities in commercial loans, think about your most satisfying accomplishments (not duties) for each. Resume readers are looking for unique contributions. 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.

After you've discussed your main loan accomplishments, add marketing services. This will highlight your “big picture” exposure, and bankers will expect some reference to it. If you delete it, they might think you're trying to hide something.

With your heavy commercial loan and general marketing background, you may wish to pursue a management position where you can supervise other officers and work with the large accounts yourself. While marketing isn't what you want to do, it's inclusion adds authority to your sales expertise. The remainder of your experience section can easily follow the typical chronological style, emphasizing commercial loan achievements as much as possible.

Education Example:

MBA, University of Connecticut   


Dale Carnegie Sales   Course


Integrity in Banking 


Social Media and Your Company   


Along with your degree(s), list your continuing education related to sales. Noncredit courses increase your banking expertise and show an ongoing commitment to augmenting your skill base.

Example Volunteer Work:

American Red Cross

Board of Directors   



Fund Development Committee       

The Snyder Foundation  

Grants Committee        


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. And, banking leadership usually encourages its employees to give back to the community to build visibility, credibility and contacts for themselves and their organization.

References: References don't need to appear on a resume. However, you should have some in mind if a potential employer asks for them.  Be sure to include one or two key customers who can attest to your commercial loan acumen.

 Career Dimensions ● 214-208-1706 ●

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