I still see people recommending functional resumes for those who have employment gaps, or whose job titles don’t convey the full extent of their competencies. This advice is always well-intentioned, but it’s just wrong because it impresses exactly nobody, nor does it obfuscate any unemployment gaps.
There’s a much better strategy for tackling these issues – and it’s the right strategy for all of us, even those among us without unemployment gaps or other things we sort of wish we could hide.
Consider that the top trend in resume writing is to focus on specific achievements that demonstrate your skills without without merely stating them. When I write a client’s resume, I greatly reduce the bulleted lists of functions under each position, and focus instead on curated bullets of actual accomplishments. Here are examples; each is from a different client’s resume:
- Overcame licensor refusals to authorize specific products, channels, and franchises through negotiation to carve out concessions resulting in annual revenues of $500K+
- Reduced processing times by 60% by performing data analysis of over 340K financial transactions for major lending institution to confirm accuracy of 17 types of fee charges
- Led Company X to be the first to achieve ISO compliance in regulatory reporting in the UK for green-filed water utility, creating a mathematical model to reconcile water balance and leakage and Al recognition-based CCTV analysis of unmanned field data
- Decreased communication inefficiencies by 50% by implementing use of iPads onsite to facilitate real time data sharing, and allowing for faster turnaround in transmitting designs to sales reps
- Designed United Way and Bag Hunger campaigns for 885 Macy’s and Bloomingdales locations that led to 215% ($14M) annual growth in employee giving
This approach limits reliance on functional responsibilities (that do nothing but provide potential employers with a laundry list of what you did over the years) but provides instances of work you did where your involvement had a positive benefit on your company, organization, and even (for students) a group project or internship.
So the next time someone helpfully suggests that functional resumes are useful for your job search, ignore them. Think about how little functions add to your value proposition, and focus instead on what you’ve actually accomplished.