I am trying to understand when I should use a functional CV/resume over a standard chronological one.

A lot of the advice I've gotten tells me that a functional CV is a good way to hide over gaps in employment, but if that were the only merit then nobody would use them as it would seem as if the candidate had something to hide.

When is using a functional CV appropriate over a standard CV/resume?

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    Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 5:29

4 Answers 4


Your CV should be about where do you want to focus the reader's attention. What gets "hidden" should be things not important to an interviewer. If you choose to lie about something, you better have a good memory and be prepared to maintain it throughout the interview process. I don't recommend it.

Functional CV's are good for those without any job experience. The focus is on education, training, skills developed, projects, etc. Some people have so many experiences in a large variety of areas, that a functional CV is a more concise way to demonstrate 20 yrs of experience. For someone who does several contract jobs a year for several years, it's not important to list all of them. It would be a little more common for contract workers to have gaps I employment, so it's not to cover it up.

Some CV's are a combination. Maybe the chronological part only goes back 5-10 years? Someone who has made a career change, would leave out a lot of the details about work in their previous fields.

There are so many things anyone could include in their CV that could negatively affect getting a position that people leave out all the time. The goal is to omit any potential bias (we're all human). You're not applying for sainthood.

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    Also functional CVs are good if you have a lot of experience and want to highlight the relevant experience - currently most of the jobs I am going for couldn't care less about my experience in thermo fluids, Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 13:29

This is not a point of view: I participate on a lot of interviews and selection process, but i worked for the gaming industry. So it may be a lot different from common software development companies, or other business in general.

We had one person to take care of the HR in our company. This person handled all CV's and Portfolios that were handed to us. But we used the CV for almost nothing - what we did was search on the web about the person itself. Profiles on websites like deviant, newgrounds and gamedev for junior developers and moby for seniors. I helped with technical analysis of the person past jobs.

The CV was only a Formality and something we used to remove those that we would not even "waste" (because it's never really a waste) our time interviewing them.

But when we gave the CV the first look, and we saw holes in your working timeline, we will ask for them, and what they are about. Why there is nothing between your job 1 and 2? Even they have a year of difference? I used to help on these kind of questions on the interviews.

So, some companies will surely look with more details at holes at the CV. But it's not a big deal - just be ready to answer questions.

In the information age, the barriers just aren’t there" And that means (the following is just my point of view), in this case, that holes in your CV won't be what will define if you get the job or not. At least not if you don't lie about them if asked!


Personally I throw all functional CV's and resumes into the trash. It's starting to be more of a trend, especially when people have a varied background without necessarily having anything to hide, but to me they don't provide what I'm looking for.

When I look at a resume, I look for where they worked, when they worked there, and what they personally did at the job. I'll also look for where they went to school and hopefully their personal accomplishments at school if they're a relatively recent graduate.

A functional style CV or resume makes it much harder to correlate accomplishments and skills with the jobs where those were met and used. Certainly some will disagree with me, but I quite literally trash them immediately.

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    how much luck are you having finding workers? Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 5:00
  • if i did that my cv would be over 5 pages long Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 13:00
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    @MeredithPoor, no problem, the functional resumes are vastly outweighed by traditional ones. Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 16:59
  • @SamuelNeff but are you just getting the traditional by the book drones and missing out on the more flexible workers who may have broader and better experience.. Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 15:56
  • @Neuromancer, definitely not the case. Commented Dec 16, 2013 at 18:26

When not to use a functional CV: you're applying at a bank for full time work with benefits - the company is looking for someone who will stick around through thick and thin, and will probably be given roles that are appropriate for the circumstances, but may not fit in to the applicant's expected career plans. In short, this is where consistency and longevity count.

When to use a functional CV: someone needs a classic ASP developer NOW to fix an ancient CRM site, with the expectation the work will has somewhere between 9 and 18 months. A) they don't care about longevity, B) your last classic ASP work was in 2001, and C) you're a contractor because your last employer laid you off 18 months ago. In this circumstance the customer has only one thing in mind - fix my site. What you were doing for the last 18 months is of no interest as long as you weren't in jail or running a meth lab.

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