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Should You Use a Functional Resume?

Should You Use a Functional Resume?

While the functional resume seemed great for covering up dates that were less than impressive, no resume writer ever really wanted to recommend someone use the functional resume. There are strategies one can use to make a functional resume quite engaging and professional, but the problem is, employers want the dates. No matter how you try to hide them or leave them off, it will always set off red flags for employers.

Hiring officials and recruiters want relevant information as quickly as possible. They want to be able to scan down the first page and easily see what the most recent job was, where it was, and how long it lasted. They want to know your title and your accomplishments. They want quantifiers, and they want everything packaged and easy to read because they have a stack of 100 to go through before lunch.

The most popular crowd to use a functional resume were stay-at-home-moms returning to work. They may have stayed home with their children for the past ten years and now they are looking to return to the job market. However, homemakers may actually have relevant experience and a chronological listing may not be crazy after all. It is a good thing to think about as a homemaker too. Perhaps volunteering in a capacity that is relevant to the job market they will be returning to is a good idea.

Another group who typically use the functional resume format is people who have been in prison. Of course, keep in mind that the functional resume is going to set off some red flags so be prepared to answer the questions as professionally as possible.

Whether you are a homemaker, or an offender, the best way to get back into the workforce is through networking, internships, volunteer opportunities that turn into paid positions, or temporary work.

A functional resume is not a good idea for anyone with a work history!  Two of my mentors have the following to say:

Wendy Enelow writes executive resumes for senior executives.

“Although 95% of job seekers should write chronological resumes, there still exists a place for the functional resume – for career changers, people returning to work after an extended absence, job hoppers, ex-offenders, and others with employment challenges. … Functional resumes won’t fool anyone but, hopefully, your skills and achievements are enough to generate interest, an interview, and an offer!”

Louise Kursmark is an expert in resume writing and is a trainer of other resume writers.

“Functional resumes are a bad idea for most job seekers. They don’t work with ATS, they are often viewed with suspicion by HR and hiring managers, and they make it impossible for readers to truly understand the career story. But for some, the functional format is the best option. When done well, a functional resume can paint a strong and cohesive picture of a great candidate. If you’re using a functional resume, you must be aware of its limitations and—even more than most job seekers—network into opportunities rather than relying on job postings.”