Employers Hate Functional Resumes

So you are starting your resume writing research, or maybe you are curious why nobody is calling, with the goal of crafting a world-class resume that will sell you quickly to the most desirable employers. Good luck with that. The Internet has certainly perpetuated delusional thoughts of instant knowledge in many areas, especially resume writing.

My guess is that most aspiring DIY resume writers will put in a solid two hours of research and believe they have what they need. It's not happening. Even daily research for six months straight is not going to do it. Why? You will never fully understand the intricacies of a resume until you have worked directly with hiring managers in HR, recruiting, and staffing.

Feel free to fight that thought, as many will do, but just keep in mind when your job search is less than productive that you are underselling yourself and undermining your job search with your mediocre resume that has the wrong content or content that makes you a risk to employers. HR, recruiters, and hiring managers see things from a different angle and you are not going to figure it out on your own.

While researching resumes people will certainly stumble upon the term functional resume. It sounds moderately sophisticated, so maybe it is the way to go. The more a person looks into it they may even start to think it is a perfect solution to get their message across to employers, or even cover up some less than desirable work history items.

While people may arrive at various conclusions as to why a functional resume is the answer, it is in no one's best interest to prepare one. On the surface, functional resumes can sort of seem logical and like a reasonable solution, but for several reasons detailed below from an employer and hiring manager perspective, you do not want to job search with one.

Let's step back and make sure there is an understanding of exactly what a functional resume is. In its simplest form, a functional resume is where a person provides details, often in individual sections such as management skills, people skills, leadership skills, etc., all sorts of information that they believe proves they have what an employer is looking for.

People believe that when someone opens a resume all of these glorious sections of past job responsibilities mixed together with their own thoughts will produce an eye catching sales piece that employers will not be able to resist. Following these sections will be a nice tidy section detailing in a row a person's work history including job title, company, location, and dates, minus the actual job responsibilities.

It may seem as though a person is making their life easier by constructing a functional resume, but as usual, not many good things happen in life by taking the easy route. It is no different with a resume, and for those going this route because of a questionable work history or to try and hide something, it is not going to fool anyone. Here is how it works when you send a resume to a recruiter, HR person, or hiring manager.

When they open it up, the resume must instantly say what you do and where you are headed so they know if they should bother to look further, considering they have a pile of resumes waiting to be reviewed. And please do not embarrass yourself by trying to accomplish this with an objective statement. There is a better way.

Each resume reviewer is different, some are readers and perusers and some are skimmers and glancers, so you need key resume sections for both types. No matter how they review it, anyone in the employment field learns very quickly that the best place to get to key information fast is in the employment history, specifically your current or last job title, employer name, and job description.

When employers do get to the employment section there better be incredibly useful and valuable content under each job describing in an intelligent and motivating manner what exactly you do, or did. This is the only way the resume reviewer can really believe what is being told to them. If job descriptions are co-mingled and scattered together in general sections, the reviewer is not going to try and pieced it all together for it to make sense. Your Job responsibilities, tasks, and achievements MUST be under each job and employer or they have NO credibility. They want to see specifically what you did, when you did it, and where you did it for it to be useful information to make a decision.

If you have a functional resume format recruiters and hiring managers are not going to read all that information up top. They learn very quickly when trying to efficiently go through resumes that this information does not really help them make a fast decision and connection between current and past jobs, titles, and employers. If they have to try and put this information together, which they will not, you will have annoyed them.

There is no upside to annoying a person in charge of deciding on your resume. It is worth repeating that employers want to know exactly what you have done and at what company you did it. Without this being blatantly clear, you have put them in the position to have to try and figure out what a person knows and when did they know it.

The message is to not resort to a functional resume. Even if you have been in a relatively similar job for a long time at many different companies, if nothing else you should put in a couple of unique bullets and a short description under each job. This is critically important, otherwise employers are not going to buy what you are trying to sell them. Even if you have been out of your chosen field for 10 years and want to break back in, your best bet is to make your resume non-functional with incredible content because employers know exactly what you are trying to do by hiding this with a functional resume. Make everything about your resume so spectacular that all of this becomes a non-issue. It can be done.

Reprinted by Permission: Professional Recruiter Org