When to use a Functional Resume

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What is a functional resume?

A functional resume is one that focuses mainly on your skills and abilities rather than on your chronological work history and academic qualifications. It’s an effective way for a job seeker to market their relevant skills to an employer when changing industries or gaps in employment are present. Despite lacking experience and periods of unemployment a functional resume can help you prove that you are the best suited candidate for the job.

How to Create a Functional Resume

A traditional resume documents your work history and academic accomplishments in chronological order. Because there is little to none relation between your experience and the job that you are seeking, it’s crucial to emphasize your skills relevant to the job.  Here are some guidelines to help you create a functional resume:

Tip 1:

Employers want to sift through a resume as fast as possible so writing a paragraph isn’t going to cut it. List your relevant skills, abilities and specialties, and elaborate using a structured format.

Here’s an example:

SKILLS

  Programming   JavaScript, HTML, CSS
  Databases   MS SQL Server, MS Access, Oracle
  Web Design and Graphics   Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver

In the above example you can see each key skill is detailed in a brief manner for an employer to get a better comprehension of your abilities.

EXPERTISE

  •  Architecture and Designs
  •  Strategic Planning and Assessment
  •  Budgeting and Expense Control
  •  Crisis Management
  •  Expense Reduction
  •  Business Development

Summarize acquired skills or key professional knowledge as expertise.

Tip 2:

Now that you’ve documented your relevant skills pertaining to the job you are seeking, your accomplishments need to be included. This is usually done in chronological order, which works for a functional resume as well but there’s a few things to consider before moving forward. Large gaps in unemployment may discredit you as a candidate although your reasons may be legitimate. If you were a student or perhaps on parental leave during a period of unemployment you can include that for an employer to get a better understanding of those gaps, however, be mindful of including any harmful information that may represent you as an unreliable worker.

Here are some examples

Example 1.

EXPERIENCE

Island Community Bank

Business Development Executive

Main Street, NY 

6-2014 to Current

City Hospital   

Patient Care Administrator

New York, NY

4-2012 to 5-2014

My Family  

Stay-at-home Parent

Newark, NJ  

2-2009 to 3-2012

United States Postal Service   

Customer Care Representative

New York, NY

5-2004 to 12-2008

In the above example, the gap in employment is filled in with the mention of being a Stay-at-home parent during that time. It helps remove discrepancies in your resume.

Example 2.

EXPERIENCE

Island Community Bank

Business Development Executive

  Main Street, NY

 

City Hospital

Patient Care Administrator

  New York, NY

 

United States Postal Service

Customer Service Representative

  New York, NY

 

Example 2 is another option used when writing functional resumes. The candidate may choose to omit the years of work in order to create a more uniformed history.

You can also note from these two examples that the candidate’s work experience does not correlate with web designing nor do the categories of work relate to each other. In this scenario, it’s recommended to go with a functional resume. The key is to craft an effective and detailed layout of what you know and what you can do to benefit an employer. If you can achieve these steps, it will increase your chances of landing an interview without being considered a hire-risk.