question 2Although I rarely say “never,” I think that this question deserves a “never.”

The functional resume is one that identifies two or three skills that are relevant to the position to which you are applying, and then lists a few bullets that define (or should define) your expertise in that area. Examples of these skills may include Technical Abilities, Health Care, Customer Service, Sales, Project Management and so on.

That sounds like a great strategy, except that it typically does a poor job of convincing the recruiter that you’re a great fit. There are a few problems inherent in this structure (as opposed to the reverse chronological structure). These are:

1. It is often impossible to figure out in what job the person did what. And without that info, recruiters feel lost. Certainly they don’t have time to try to figure out where you got that experience, and they have plenty more resumes that spelled it out for them, so on they go to the next one.

2. Recruiters tend to assume that a functional resume is trying to hide a lack or problem. Lack of relevant experience, a gap in employment — whether you think this makes sense or not, that is the general opinion amongst recruiters.

I have seen many functional resumes written by potential clients and they err significantly in that the examples of their use of a particular skill set is often written like a position description, that is as an accountability. It would be more effective to incorporate the accountability within an accomplishment. Also, most self-written functional resumes provide no insight into which position entailed that responsibility.

Oftentimes, too, the reverse chronological list of jobs in a functional resume is a skeleton outline – no fleshing out of the scope of the position, importance in the organization, significant clients or projects or any context at all! Which leaves the reader with a bare-bones impression as well. Such lost opportunity!

I have written many new graduate resumes and have never found that a purely functional format would benefit my client. My advice is that if you are a typical new grad, with no unusual issues to overcome, stick to the reverse chronological for best results!

If you need help, New Leaf is your ideal partner. With two awards for Best New Graduate Resumes, your resume is in expert hands.

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