When Do I Use A ‘Functional’ Resume?

MGR Accounting Recruiters in
on May 10, 2014. Posted inBlogging In Balance

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There are three styles of resumes: chronological, functional, and a blended format.  The blended format can vary, but is basically a combination of the other two.  The chronological style is as the name implies, a resume that orders your jobs in chronological order (most recent first, please).  But what is a “functional” style resume, and when is it appropriate?

A functional resume is a resume that lists the details of your duties and accomplishments all together, sometimes grouped by type, but not separately under each job.  Speaking purely from the practical standpoint, it truly is not for most people because HR professionals typically consider it a sign of one thing:  JOB HOPPER.

Even if you have not changed jobs often, by the time the reader notices the dates on each position, which are usually grouped very close together on the page, they already have started to get a negative impression.  Unless they have noticed something pertinent to the position being filled in the first few seconds, they are already starting to question the fit based solely on the visual appearance of the page.

So when is a functional resume appropriate?  It truly is only appropriate if you have had to change positions frequently, and therefore are trying to focus the reader’s attention Question mark - MGR Accounting Recruiterson your abilities rather than your longevity.  If all of your positions have been for less than 2 years, and you have had many of them, then it may make sense to use this format.  However if you have had a few positions that have been longer and a few that have been shorter, then there are other ways to focus the reader’s attention on the longer-held positions.  Simply using more bullet points under the longer positions and putting less information under the shorter positions will visually focus the reader’s attention on these longer sections and therefore emphasize the job longevity you have had.

To summarize, beware that the common perception among hiring managers is that a functional resume is the sign of someone that changes jobs often.  Fair or not, appropriate or not, that is how it is typically viewed.  For that reason it is best to stay away from this resume style unless you truly are in that position.

Until next time, I wish you the best in your search.