Functional resumes always seem to get a bad rap, like they’re the ugly stepchildren of the resume pantheon. But it simply isn’t true! Just because the chronological style gets all the fame and glory doesn’t mean the functional style shouldn’t have its place in the sun too… it’s just a matter of knowing when to use it!
Functional style resumes are used for 2 reasons:
1. To hide/ bury information
2. To condense similar information
Who should use it?
Job Hopping (for students)
Large work gaps
Lack of work history
Several positions in the same field
Those changing fields
How to use it:
- Usually after an Objective or Personal Profile statement you’ll want to create a list of skills in point form under several categories
- The categories you use should relate to major skill sets for the position. For example, if your goal is to work in a business environment you might include titles such as: Business Acumen, Technical Skills or Professional Expertise, while a Customer Service position might have titles such as Retail Knowledge or Sales Skills
- For those without a work history this allows you to use transferrable skills you may have gained informally through volunteering, education or hobbies without having to point out exactly where you gained those skills
- Then below your key word list you can put the work experience section, for those with large work gaps this helps to push the jobs lower on the resume and therefore less of a focus
- If you are a student you can sometimes put your education higher on the resume after the skills list to communicate quickly that the resume belongs to a student since the graduation date will be highlighted. This will also make the job hopping seem less negative to the employer
- For students, also make sure that when writing your work experience, include next to the dates that the job was “Seasonal” or a “Summer Job”.
Things to remember
The purpose of a functional style resume is to highlight and align your skills as closely as possible to what the employer is looking for by using key words from the job posting. The idea is that you’ll sell them on your suitability for the position within the first few seconds of reading your resume so that they might overlook any work gaps you may have. Don’t forget you can also use the cover letter as a vehicle for addressing work gaps as well.
What a Functional Resume won’t do!
It won’t allow you to omit dates. A lack of dates is a definite red flag!
Make up or change your work history
If you held a job for only a few months and it’s not relevant to the position you’re trying to achieve remove it, there’s no rule that says you must include every job you ever had!