A reader writes:
In your “7 Things To Leave Off a Resume” article, you mentioned picking between chronological and functional resumes. Can you comment on why hiring managers prefer one over the other?
When I apply to jobs that are outside my field, I generally submit a combination functional-chronological resume so the company can see how my skills can be transferred to the new field/position but still see my employment history. Do you think this is effective, or am I hurting my chances?
It sounds like you’re using a chronological resume (one that lists your job history by position, with dates, so that it’s clear what you were doing when), with the addition of a “functional” summary. I think that’s fine — it’s when someone excludes the chronology altogether that I (and many other hiring managers) see a red flag.
For people who don’t know, a functional resume just lists skills and abilities, without including a chronological job history. Many hiring managers, me included, hate them.
Generally, the first thing I think when I see them is, “What is this candidate trying to hide?” That’s because people tend to use functional resumes when they’re trying to hide an employment gap, or job-hopping, or outdated skills (because it matters if your Web design experience is from 10 years ago or one year ago), or other things I’d rather know about. And if I do remain interested in the candidate, the first thing I’m going to do when I talk to them is ask them to walk me through their job history, with dates — and it’s going to annoy me that I have to, and if I have other good candidates I may not even bother.
So never use just a functional resume. But what you’re talking about — chronological plus — should be just fine.