Most Employers Detest Functional Resumes


Mike writes:
I just read the QuintCareers article regarding the use of a functional resume. I am writing to you because my particular situation was not specifically addressed as one that would be appropriate for using a functional resume although I am still wondering whether my situation might be appropriate.
Due to circumstances beyond my control in some instances as well as some instances that were well within my control I have held six jobs in the past 10 years. I was laid off my last job a few months ago and during my current job search I have had several recruiters and/or prospective employers question me specifically about my checkered job history. I answer their questions to the best of my ability (I’ve actually gotten pretty good at it since I’ve done it so much) but I have no doubt that my checkered job history has been a hindrance in me being able to find a job.
I have been thinking lately that a switch to a functional resume might be in order since it would emphasize the diverse experience and skills I have acquired working in various organizations over the years and de-emphasize the number of jobs I have held during that same time period.
Do you think the move to a functional resume would be an appropriate switch for someone in my situation? Any light you might be able to shed on the subject would be greatly appreciated.


The Career Doctor responds:
The functional-resume article was published at a time when functional resumes were much more popular than they are now. Since then employers have increasingly expressed distaste for this format. Still they can be effective in some situations especially when the job-seeker’s history is so problematic that he or she seems to have no other choice .
I have 2 pieces of advice:

  1. Never use a strictly functional resume; use a chrono-functional resume that lists your job history in bare-bones fashion following your skills clusters.
  2. Experiment with the chrono-functional format to see if it works for you but if not be prepared to go back to a chronological format.

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