Resume Format: The Functional Resume

The functional resume focuses primarily on an individual’s key skills and accomplishments rather than their work history because these technically do not have a consistent work history. When composing this type resume, the intent is to shift the re

Most people are familiar with the traditional chronological resume because that’s what we are accustomed to and that’s what most job seekers use.  However, things have changed over the years, causing us to do things differently in the job market.  The need has arisen for a functional style resume for those job seekers who have either been out of work for a while, are recent college graduates, those returning to the workforce after a career sabbatical, those who have made career changes, those entering the workforce for the first time, job hoppers, and those who have extensive gaps in their employment history.  A resume is a vital advertising tool that helps one get a foot in the door of a potential employer, and therefore, necessary for all job seekers to possess when searching and applying for work.  Thus, the functional resume is designed to accommodate non-traditional job seekers who are competing with very seasoned professionals in the job market. 

The functional resume focuses primarily on an individual’s key skills and accomplishments rather than their work history because these technically do not have a consistent work history. When composing this type resume, the intent is to shift the reader’s attention away from job instability and lack of employment and divert it to the applicant’s chief talents. In other words, the order of importance in the functional resume places more weight on the individual’s professional achievements, relevant skills, and other work experience and not necessarily on prior places of employment. 

Understandably, job seekers need to tailor their resume to target a specific job in hopes of landing an interview.  However, some employers are not comfortable with the functional format and are sometimes hesitant about contacting applicants who display little to no work history, or gaps in their resume. This signifies to a hiring manager that the applicant is trying to hide something or is simply not qualified for the position they’ve applied to. Also, without work history, employers are not able to contact past places of employment to verify the applicant’s accountability, thus, making it more difficult to determine the applicant’s competency.  Nevertheless, for some job seekers, the functional resume is the best alternative.

A major advantage of the functional resume is, it gives non-traditional job seekers a chance to market their accomplishments and job skills without having to list past places of employment.

A major drawback of the functional resume is, this style is not as reader-friendly as the chronological resume, and recruiters don’t like spending too much time trying to decipher the information displayed.

Concluding, if you are not comfortable with using the chronological resume because of employment gaps or other circumstances, you should go with the functional style.  After you compose your resume, have a professional check for grammatical errors and be sure to use the spell check function for typos.  Listed below are guidelines and general information that you should include in your resume and the proper format for such.   I’ve also included a sample functional resume at the end of this article, courtesy of squawkfox.com.

THE FUNCTIONAL RESUME SHOULD CONTAIN:

  • Heading- your name, address, phone number, and e-mail
  • Objective- brief statement regarding the job you’re targeting and why you should be considered for the job
  • Job skills and accomplishments- since you don’t have a solid work history, you will need to showcase relevant job skills and accomplishments that best matches the job you are targeting, starting with the most current, moving backward.
  • Education- list schools, degrees, and area of concentration, awards, GPA
  • Certifications (if applicable)
  • Employment (if applicable)- you can list places of employment if it corresponds with the position you are applying for or if it could increase your chances of landing an interview, along with career any achievement awards

Note:  College graduates should list education before job skills

Sample:  functional resume

Image credit: Squawkfox.com

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