3 Reasons a Functional Resume Sucks

keep-calm-and-don-t-do-itFunctional resumes, especially for those who lack specific experience for the role they desire, continue to surface. As a recruiter, I’m telling you:

Functional resumes suck. They will not help you get an interview.

While there are many reasons why a chronological resume is best, there are three main reasons why I (and most recruiters who won’t call you for an interview) dislike functional resumes and why you should consider not using one:

Reason No. 1: Assumptions Made By Us Recruiters

Anyone with a ‘normal’ background will use a chronological resume (and I do use the word ‘normal’ in a loose manner meaning no offense to anyone). Right?

So as a recruiter, when I see a functional resume, I subconsciously assume the person had something about their background that was not ‘normal’ – or, at the very least, their background is probably not ideal for the position they applied for.

So if I read that resume (which likely wouldn’t happen), I would read from the perspective for finding what was wrong with this person – instead of reading the resume looking for why that person is awesome. Do not give your reader a reason to start reading from a negative perspective!

Reason No. 2: Lack of Context

Hiring managers need your achievements and job duties placed within a company and time-frame context for your background to be taken seriously. When you strip your achievements out of the company context and year you did it, as is done with a functional resume, the reader has no point of reference to evaluate your expertise.

You did a successful marketing campaign that had 74% open email rates? Well, that is great! But it means nothing if I do not know how long ago you did it, for what company and what the volume stats surrounding the experience are.

The context is just as important as the content… and only a chronological format can truly showcase these important pieces of information to demonstrate how you are qualified and how you are the perfect candidate.

Reason No. 3: Failure to Please the ATS Gods

Functional resumes are not easily digestible to applicant tracking systems (ATS). The rationale behind this is simple. ATS systems are set up to digest chronological formats correctly: These systems identify the predictable order of contact information, company names, job titles, bullet descriptions and key words found in a chronological resume.

In a functional resume, these information nuggets are presented in a different order. Simply put: they throw off the ATS, making the chances of your resume making it to the next round are practically nil.

I never really say never…But I have yet to find a good reason to use a functional resume over a chronological resume – and I do not ever recommend them. Take my advice…

Don’t do it!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Tim’s Strategy!


tim's strategy


Lisa Rangel AuthorAbout the Author: Lisa Rangel is founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website, has helped hundreds of people land the exact job they wanted – even when they weren’t sure they would get an interview. Lisa is a 7-time certified resume writer and job search consultant, a former recruiter and one of the few executive resume writers performing resume and job search-related contract work for LinkedIn. She has been featured on Forbes.com, LinkedIn, Investors Business Daily, and so many more publications. Follow Lisa on Twitter



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