Tech & Work

The pros and cons of a functional resume

Functional resumes focus on a person's skills and experience, rather than on his chronological work history. (Here is an example of a functional resume.) You would use a functional resume for a couple of reasons:

  • Your background is varied and doesn't add up to a focused career path
  • You want to move into a field that is totally different from the one where most of your experience lies
  • You have large gaps in your work history—months or years where you were not employed
  • You've held a lot of jobs in a few years and you don't want to give the appearance that you're a job hopper
  • You're fresh out of college and want to spotlight your knowledge and not your work experience

Keep in mind, however, that there are a few drawbacks to a functional resume:

  • Some job boards, like, don't accept them
  • Headhunters tend not to accept them
  • Suspicious hiring managers sometimes think job candidates who use functional resumes are trying to hide something
  • It's important to put some skills in context with a specific job. If you have database management experience, for example, it carries more weight if you can associate it with a specific job you held for a few years, rather than just listing it as a skill. To a hirer manager, just listing it as a skill could mean you merely read a book about it.

If you can avoid using a functional resume, you should.


Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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