I’m an accounting clerk with less than a year of work experience with strong accounting software skills. I’ve prepared a functional resume recommended by the employment counsellor due to my lack of relevant professional experience.
I have applied for tons of jobs. I know that I am qualified for the position. But have not received one interview! Could the functional resume be the problem?
Signed: Extinct Format (EF)
In an interview, Raffi Toughlouian, VP at IFG – International Financial Group, a leading financial recruitment firm, as well as renowned recruiter and Subject Matter Expert (SME) in this field over the past 13 years, confirms that the functional resume is generally not preferred by most recruiters for the following reasons:
1. The recruiter needs to spot what they are looking for. In a functional format resume, it’s hard to see where achievements happened. When a recruiter such as Raffi is receiving 300 to 500 resumes per week, he wants to see the relevant professional work experience and the technical skills immediately. He doesn’t want to also have to figure out where the candidate performed the duties. He doesn’t have time to do this. This format presents a big challenge for the hiring manager to “map out” the work experiences, which position or workplace you performed them, and the end results.
2. Red flag alert. It looks like the job seeker is hiding something or covering the gaps with this format. Recruiters often feel that this format doesn’t “tell the true tale” of candidates’ experiences gained in their workplace. The functional resume is seldom used by candidates with relevant experience, skills and education. When the recruiter reads this type of resume, they are inclined to start wondering what the candidate is missing. If you worked at ABC company, they want to see what technical skills you acquired specifically during your time there.
I want to see the description of the projects, where you actually completed them, and where you used the computer skills – this way, I know it’s validated within the resume. When this experience is clearly mapped out for me, it will catch my eye and speaks to the candidate’s intelligence that they know how to prepare a suitable resume.”
3. Doesn’t work for Applicant Tracking Systems. While Toughlouian reviews each resume manually, other recruiters have processes that are solely dependent on searching candidates through an ATS. Functional resumes can pose a challenge when matching up with the keywords or achievements that the recruiter has programmed into the search.
4. Not the standard format, especially in the financial field. Job applications are read when the candidate uses either a reverse chronological format or a combination format resume. There may be some exceptions to this as I have learned that creative fields do consider functional resumes.
5. Way too wordy. More often than not, functional resumes tend to ramble on about the candidates’ strengths and skills. Raffi and his team welcome resumes that are clear, concise, and specific that communicate the challenges, the successes and the accomplishments and the results.
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Joanna Samuels B.Ed. (Adult Education), M.Ed., CMF, CTDP, RRP is a certified Life Skills Coach, and certified Personality Dimensions Facilitator who works at JVS Toronto as a Job Developer/Job Coach/Workshop Facilitator. Also, Joanna is a part-time instructor of employment counselling with people with disabilities at George Brown College.