There is a bit of a negative connotation associated with functional resumes and they have often been perceived as deceptive within the hiring world. I personally think that a functional resume format can be an asset to a job seeker – when used correctly.
Whereas a chronological resume follows the natural progression of your career history and highlights job specific strengths and accomplishments, a functional resume puts the focus on your overall skills, strengths and accomplishments with the positions you held secondary.
So why the deceptive reputation? Functional resumes are often used by job seekers that have held numerous positions for short periods of time or someone with gaps in their employment history in an attempt to draw attention away from these things. By utilizing the functional format it may appear to hiring managers that they are hiding something and raise a red flag.
There are some situations where a functional resume can have an advantage over a chronological resume. If you are a recent graduate or have little job experience, focusing on your skills and strengths may be the way to go. Or if you are trying to transition to a completely new industry you may want to consider a functional resume. The key is to use transferable skills that you have acquired in your previous positions and can readily apply to the new position.
It has become more common for job seekers to have held a variety of positions and have gaps in their history and using a functional resume to try and disguise this is not in your best interest. As the number of job seekers that find themselves with similar histories grows, hiring managers have become more accepting of these scenarios. Being straightforward and honest will probably serve you best in these situations.
Using a functional resume when appropriate however, can give a boost to your job search and set you apart from other job seekers. You just need to know how and when to use it to gain the biggest advantage from it.
by Megan Koehler