Why You Should Never, Ever Use a Functional Resume

I have covered this topic before, but am frequently asked about functional resumes by jobseekers, so I figured I’d address them again here. I strongly advise against using a functional resume. Ever. Period. No matter what.


Most recruiters and hiring managers dislike functional resumes. They are more difficult to read and immediately raise a red flag. The reader asks him/herself “What is the candidate trying to hide by grouping together their competencies and not showing me what they did where? A gap in employment, excessive job jumping or lack of experience?” Regardless of your reason for using a functional resume, you are doing yourself a disservice. The last thing you want to do is cause any negative feelings — and confusion is a negative feeling. You want the reader of your resume to feel nothing but positive feelings about you and your professional accomplishments.

The goal of your resume is to pique the interest of the reader and entice them to invite you in for an interview, right? So, don’t annoy them. Make it easy for them to see the value you would add to their team. I will help you connect the dots between the results you deliver and their business needs. Packing your resume with specific career achievements provides proof that you are a valuable asset.

Your Functional Resume Is Probably Hurting Your Job Search

If you are using a functional resume because you were advised to do so — find a better source of employment advice. Ask someone who has been trained in current resume writing techniques, because the resume world has drastically changed over the last few years. If you are trying to overcome an employment barrier, the hiring manager will see it anyhow. It is better not to attempt to hide anything. While being completely honest, a well trained resume writer has ways to neutralize anything an employer may see as negative. You can also explain it simply on your cover letter and let the employer know why it will not be a problem. They just might appreciate your honesty and directness.

I write for a living and won’t even write a functional resume. If a client comes to me requesting a functional resume because they want to highlight their transferable skills, I show them how we can effectively position them for their next role with a branded reverse chronological resume. Still not convinced? Give me a call and I’d be glad to discuss it. I love talking about and writing resumes. My direct line is (860) 658-6480.

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A Certified Career Transition Coach specializing in overcoming employment barriers, Trish McGrath has been helping people across industries advance their careers since 2009. Whether you are competing for your next promotion, looking for a complete career change or trying to identify your best fit career, Trish will make sure that you are prepared for success. An experienced resume expert, job search coach and LinkedIn trainer, she guides her clients through the job search process to make it less overwhelming with quicker results. Contact Trish at trish.mcgrath@edgecareersolutions.com or (860) 658-6480 to see how she can help you build a more satisfying career.

⇒ Read her 30 LinkedIn recommendations from happy clients now working in jobs they enjoy. ⇐

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