The Functional Resume….Not So Functional?

Lately there has been an influx of functional resumes coming across my desk.  For those of you who don’t know what functional resumes are, they list a summary of skills and accomplishments, and then list the companies where the person has worked along with their titles, but no detail as to the duties performed at each respective company.  This type of resume may or may not include dates of employment or degree.  Functional resumes in my opinion should be outlawed and here are the two main reasons why:

1)  Many people don’t include dates.  I have actually had people tell me they use a  functional resume (without dates) because they are afraid of age discrimination.  Ok, so let me get this straight.  Your plan is to trick an employer into thinking you are younger than you actually are in order to get to the interview.  Ok……and what happens when you go for a face to face interview?   No matter how “young” you may appear to be or act in person, the unfortunate truth is that an company or manager who would have discriminated against you based on dates from your resume, will also discriminate against you based on how old you appear to be.  Wouldn’t you rather know that sooner rather than later and save yourself some time?

2)      In a functional resume, it is impossible to tell when, how often, and in what capacity a person has used a particular skill set.  As an IT Recruiter, I am often times looking for buzzwords such as Java, .NET, VMWare, etc. and the list goes on.  If all of those buzzwords are included in a summary (as opposed to being listed under each position) I cannot tell if the person has 10+ years of experience with a particular technology, or 2 months of experience.

Bottom line  – if you don’t have a chronological version of your resume, get one now!  Trust me – no recruiter or hiring authority would prefer a functional resume over a chronological one.

Bonus Tips

–        Don’t bother trying to keep your resume to 1 or even 2 pages.  Put all your relevant experience on there and if it takes up to 3-4 pages that is ok.  I would say try to keep it to 3, and anything more than 4 is getting too long.

–        Keep in mind that people (and applicant tracking systems) scan resumes for buzzwords, they don’t read them.   Make sure you have keywords listed throughout and use a bullet format for ease of scanning.


Wendy Johnson, CPC is an IT Recruiter for Professionals Incorporated.

If you would like to discuss current available IT opportunities and you have a chronological resume, please give our IT recruiters a call at 315-457-2500!

CPS and Professionals Incorporated together form the Central New York region’s largest independent temporary / contract staffing, recruiting and executive search firm.  Please check us out further at


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