The reverse chronological format is the most common format on the resume. Experiences are grouped into sections and then listed from most to least recent. However, the reverse chronological format is not always the best solution. If you have job gaps, have been out of the workforce, or have other resume issues, a functional format may be for you. There are several key elements that differ between the 2 options:
Skills-Based Headings – First, instead of grouping experiences by type, such as Work Experience or Volunteer Experience, a functional format uses skills as headings instead. For example, someone could list a heading for Communication Skills and underneath include bullet points all about their experience in communicating, regardless of where they utilized that skill.
De-Emphasized Dates and Prior Job Titles – The main draw of the functional format is how it downplays previous experience. Instead of focusing on what job titles you had or when you worked, the emphasis is on the skills that you used. For some, this is useful. If you are transitioning fields or have an extremely large work gap, it could work for you, but it all depends on your unique background.
Red Flags for Employers – Employers now know that many applicants with a functional resume are looking to draw attention away from something. For some employers, seeing a resume in this format is an immediate red flag and they will start seeking out what you wanted to avoid them noticing. Avoid using the functional format unless it is absolutely necessary.
Be sure to evaluate your individual resume needs before continuing with a functional resume format. Although this format has its benefits, it has its downsides as well and should be used carefully.