Is the functional resume format right for you?

Very often we have clients come to us at Distinctive Career Services asking about having a functional resume written.

Most often, after discussing the reasons why they may want a functional resume, we advise against one.

While a functional resume can be beneficial and effective in some situations, you must be very strategic and think carefully about the pros and cons before deciding on one for yourself.

The reason?

The functional format raises serious red flags when a recruiter or potential employer comes across them as this format is often used to “hide” or “mask” something less-than-desirable in a job seeker’s background.  So much so that many recruiters won’t even accept a functional resume and will simply toss it aside and move on to the next resume.

But, even if the recruiter or employer does read it, do you really want your resume studied with an eye out for the flaws in your background? This isn’t usually the way to make the best first impression.

Functional Resume for a Career Change

A functional resume format focuses on the skills, qualifications, and achievements that a job seeker offers, but not in chronological context. This functional resume that was written for a career changer illustrates.

So with all of these negatives, you might ask why a functional format would ever be used. It’s simple. Some situations simply don’t lend themselves to a reverse chronological resume.

When might a functional resume be the best choice? As yourself these questions:

    1. Are you changing careers? Career changers, especially those who are trying to enter a very different profession, have a need to emphasize transferable qualifications. A functional format can help you do that in a way that simply isn’t possible in a chronological resume. Here are some examples of functional resumes written for a career changer.
    2. Do you have significant gaps in your work history? A functional format can help to minimize large gaps of unemployment in your work history that would otherwise eliminate you from consideration before you even had a chance for a face-to-face interview. Here is an example of a functional resume written to minimize work history gaps.
    3. Are you returning to the workforce after a long period of unemployment? Whether you have intentionally taken time out of the workforce or have been out for unintentional reasons, you may want to consider a functional format. Here is an example of a functional resume written to help a client return to the workforce after years of unemployment.
    4. Has all your past work been of a very similar nature? Rather than being repetitive, if your entire career has been in a very similar type of role, a functional format might be a good choice.  In the strictest sense of the term, a pure functional resume would not include dates on the work history. But, there are some cases where you would want to include them. This is one of them. Here is an example functional resume for an auto technician.

Some other situations in which you MIGHT consider a functional format include

  • if your work history presented in a chronological format would make you look overqualified,
  • if you are a recent graduate with little-to-no work experience in the field you are targeting, or
  • if you have a very diverse work history without a clear career path.

As always, we advise that you consult with a professional resume writer. At Distinctive Career Services, we have worked with countless thousands of clients and have helped our clients deal with nearly every imaginable work history challenge.

We can help you not just decide whether a functional resume or chronological resume is best for you, we can help you write one that will give you an enormous edge in the job market. To get started with us, book a free consultation today.

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