Using a functional resume can be a double-edged sword. While your skills might be highlighted and visible from afar, your professional experience takes a backseat, meaning that your past employments matter little to you. Sometimes using a functional resume format isn’t the best idea, and knowing when to use one or the other will save you from a world of confusion and miscommunication.

Functional VS Chronological

Functional resumes put emphasis on your skills. Any soft skills that you have garnered over the past several years should be included into the main body of your resume. Your working experience and the subsequent list of employment is omitted and often put on the resume just as a necessity. Chronological resume on the other hand puts the highlight on your professional career and employments you had in the past. Your skills, while important, don’t matter as much as the official placements you had in the past. So why does a functional resume often result in staying unemployed, instead of landing you a job?

Catering to specific employers

Like everything you do in life, writing a resume is all about catering to the person you are writing to. If you are writing a resume for an analytical position that requires quick thinking and team communication, you should opt for a chronological resume that showcases your education and professional experience. More lenient positions such as design positions, writing or even startup positions should emphasize the functional format of resume. A functional resume can be detrimental for your job application should you use it with employers who don’t like it from the get-go. Many employers will agree that hiring people is like being involved in a car race – it is a stressful work that requires quick thinking and last-minute decisions. Going through resumes that are poorly (wrongly) formatted doesn’t do the interviewers any justice, it only makes their job that much more difficult.

Best of both worlds

Both the employers and candidates have found a common ground when it comes to formatting resumes. The so-called “combined” resume is the answer that many people opt for when writing their resumes because it’s satisfying to most of the interviewers. A combined resume takes elements from chronological and functional resumes and makes a cohesive whole that is both serviceable and readable. This is the most popular type offered on top websites for resume building. Listing your professional experiences in a reverse order with functional skills highlighted for each of the positions you held in the past is the best way to go. It will not only make it easier to put two and two together when it comes to your soft skills, but also make your resume more reader-friendly.


It’s always a good idea to put your entire life on paper before writing a resume. Omitting certain skills or job employments because you were in a rush is the worst thing that can happen to you. Also, make sure that you leave the functional resume format aside unless you are specifically asked to use it.

When Your Functional Resume Works Against You

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