I was thinking about redoing my resume and decided to do some research on functional resumes rather than the typical chronological resumes, as they’re supposed to be better for career changes. In the process, I found this article indicating that functional resumes are not liked very much because they give the feeling that you’re trying to hide something. Instead, they recommended a hybrid (or combination) resume.
In thinking about this though, I realized that there are probably a ton of people creating these types of resumes right now because so many people are fed up up with not just their job but the entire industry they’re working within and want to shift to another one.
Why do recruiters hate this format?
“You’re taking information out of context,” said the recruiter. “It’s easier to BS your way through to make things sound glamorous. Within the context of where [skills and accomplishments] took place, it gives me a better idea of what’s going on.”
They hate it because they need to draw their own conclusions. The functional resume format was created to cover up gaps in an applicant’s experience and recruiters know it. They will skip straight down to the work history to try and figure what you’re hiding. It’s a dead giveaway.
“I definitely want to see everything laid out in context,” said the recruiter. “I’ve seen plenty of people that try to use a functional resume that’s not in that context, and I tell them, ‘You’re just shooting yourself in the foot.’”
That said, recruiters understand that people change careers and can’t always count on their work history speaking for itself.
“If you’re trying to make that transition, yes, you’re going to want to try and list your transferrable skills,” said the recruiter. “But again, I wouldn’t do it so much where you’re listing everything at the top [above your experience].” Instead, the recruiter suggested taking a “more blended” approach.
The keyword “context” really jumped out at me when reading this though. Why? Because even though recruiters wanted to see “the context of where your skills and accomplishments took place,” what’s evident to me is that even though recruiters realize people change careers, recruiters don’t care about understanding the context of why a person is making a career shift, as there’s no place to show this on a resume. In other words, resumes are often optimized for linear progression within a specific field. They don’t adequately communicate logical progressions and changes to another field.
For example, when I look back on my life as a whole, the progression of my work seems logical within the context of my life’s experiences. When I look back on just the context of my work though, without knowing the larger context of my life, the progression might seem illogical and scattered.
It’s funny though. As I’ve always said, I’ve never consciously made career changes because I wanted to “work” in a new field. Instead it was often because I was excited by discovering a new field and even more so because it allowed me to express myself in newer ways than I could before. For example, learning about the Web was amazing, both because of the potential I saw of it but also how I could put it to use in expressing myself in newer ways. So working with the Web came naturally afterwards but the initial experience of it was one of just playing around and learning something new.