Functional Resumes – When Should You Use Them?

Resume Writing 101

The extremely short (we can probably end this post now) answer to “Functional Resumes – When Should You Use them?” is almost never. Oops, we threw “almost” in there, didn’t we?

For the most part, hiring managers cringe when they see a functional resume come across their desks. The immediate assumption is that you have huge gaps in your employment history or that you’re a job hopper. In fact, there was an article on Jobscan’s website where a healthcare recruiter said functional resumes are a “waste of time.”

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume is a resume that focuses on what you know and the career skills you’ve gained. It starts like any other resume with your name and contact information, followed by a summary paragraph, and perhaps a skills list. Then it gets different. Most resumes would then go into the professional experience section. Not a functional resume, though. A functional resume then has a career proficiencies section followed by a work history section that simply lists the jobs you’ve held.

Here’s what one looks like:

Functional Resume Sample
Functional Resume Sample

Is it EVER okay to use a Functional resume?

Remember we said you should almost never use a functional resume? This is similar to you should almost never speed in your car. There are things that happen, often beyond our control, that require us to do things we would ordinarily never do. There are 2 instances Always Typing recommends a functional resume:

  1. When you’ve been out of the job market for several years (e.g., stay at home moms).
  2. If you’re changing careers – even with this there could be alternatives if you have SOME relevant experience.

As you can see, even with the 2 instances we would suggest a functional resume, one is still a maybe. Always Typing has templates for changing careers. So if you have some relevant experience, we would use one of those layouts.

Aren’t functional resumes good for reducing the appearance of job-hopping?

opposite day

First, what is job-hopping? Job-hopping is when you’ve been at a job for less than 2 years. It does happen occasionally, but if it consistently happens then that’s job-hopping. Hiring managers, recruiters, and HR personnel all go directly to the work history section when they’re handed a functional resume. So, functional resumes don’t hide job-hopping, they actually highlight it.

Always Typing’s suggestion is to use a normal reverse chronological format. Take the time to think about the reason you left each position and just be ready to make explanations. Hiring managers will appreciate that honesty rather than someone trying to hide something.

If you have questions about the next step of your career but you’re worried about how your career history may affect your success let us help you.