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Here’s an open secret: Recruiters suspect functional resumes because these resumes are traditionally used to hide a candidate’s lack of relevant experience or some other serious issue, like too many jobs, gaps in work history, etc. Since recruiters are typically the first individuals to review your resume, giving them the information they want—in logical order—is just good sense. Listing achievements first without providing context, dates and type of employer makes the recruiter’s job more difficult and time-consuming. Recruiters don’t want to have to dig to discover your value. They want to see work histories clearly stated with company name, job title, dates, functions and achievements. Giving them what they expect to see encourages them to read the whole resume, especially if you have nothing to hide!

Of course, for those candidates who have inconsistent work histories or who are making a career transition, there may be no alternative to a well-crafted functional resume. In that case, the best strategy may be to include a compelling cover letter that presents your transferable skills in a meaningful way, justifies your value and explains gaps in work history.

Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC