Different Functional Resume Types

The Functional format emphasizes skills and qualifications to strategically sell experience that may align to the needs of the employer. A job seeker’s experience is divided into a skill-based section that demonstrates qualifications, training, education, and specific accomplishments, and a reverse chronological listing of employment including company name, title, and dates (toward the end of the resume). This format works well for those with gaps in employment and those whose career has involved several employers. Most job seekers should be careful when considering the Functional format since employers strongly favor a Chronological or Showcase resume.

What the Pros Say:

What is your opinion regarding the use of a Functional resume?

Don’t do it! The functional resume typically is the kiss of death to a candidate—it’s all about what someone “could” do in some context rather than about what the person has done and is likely to do in in their next role. When in doubt, go with the traditional reverse-chronological resume, as it’s easily digestible by the candidate’s audience, whether that person is a recruiter or a hiring manager.

James Moore

In ninety-nine percent (99%) of cases it is best to stay away from a functional resume format. Recruiters and hiring managers get confused by this ambiguous format that does not associate your experience with any specific job, so the resume ends up in the trash. It is almost always best to write the resume in reverse chronological format, with the current or most recent position listed first.

James Moore

The Showcase resume is a growing trend that has developed over the last several years and combines the best features of the Chronological and Functional formats. For most experienced professionals and executives (whether they have a more diverse employment background or not), this format is worth serious consideration. The concept is to showcase your best professional selling points—qualifications, industry knowledge, and achievements—immediately in the top half or top two-thirds of the resume’s first page. Work and education is then listed in reverse chronological order just like a traditional chronological resume. Using this format, you are allowed to be selectively repetitive. Some of your showcase items can appear again in the chronological section of your resume. This way, the hiring executive knows where and when you learned or achieved your showcase qualifications.

What the Pros say:

What is your opinion regarding the use of a Showcase resume? (a.k.a. Combination resume)

This is an extremely successful format if the job seeker is showcasing functions and successes within each employment.

James Moore

To me this is the best of both worlds. It allows the candidate to highlight older experience that may be more relevant, up front in a summary section. Then you still have a professional experience section that shows when you did what. Sometimes I even turn the experience section into a more functional format by listing a skill and then supporting that with an accomplishment underneath each job.

James Moore

The Dateless Resume

A dateless resume can be any of the resume formats just mentioned, and is void of any dates . . . employment, education, volunteer work, everything. Listing information this way is not recommended because a hiring executive will immediately notice and probably think “Oh my goodness, he [or she] must be ancient!” Raising red flags or emphasizing age biases is not the first impression you want to make. However, there is one viable alternative.

Provide dates going back only fifteen to twenty years, and leave off other dates. This concept can be used with any resume format. You can also group employment beyond your chosen time frame as a subsection to your experience section without dates. There’s a risk the hiring executive may still conclude you are a “tenured” professional. But it is a middle ground if you want to omit some dates from your resume.

What the Pros Say:

What is your opinion regarding the use of a Dateless resume?

Fatal mistake. It appears that employment gaps are being hidden.

James Moore

Haven’t written one in thirty years in the business; cannot imagine that I ever will. This wouldn’t be acceptable to 99.99999 percent of employers out there.

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