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!
Functional Style – Business
Functional Style – Several positions in same field
Functional Style – Work gap
Tricky or illegal questions can creep up into many interview situations sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. Before you get your back up and think a grand conspiracy is at play, the majority of times I’ve heard or witnessed these blunders or missteps they’ve been unintentional, nonetheless it’s good to know how to handle these types of questions with tact particularly those that involve “too much information” or TMI
This article on Careerealism is a good example of how TMI could inadvertently sabotage your chances of landing that job:
How to Sabotage your Interview
Now that we’re on the topic of jobs and the whole hiring process, I thought I would share this article in USA Today from the perspective of a Hiring Manager regarding what they really think of all the resumes they receive:
What do Hiring Managers really think of your resume?
Finally here’s a bit of info on personal business cards- Why they’re so important for your brand and the kind of information that you should be including on them:
Reasons why you need personal business cards and 7 facts to include on them
National Mentoring Month!
If you’re like me you probably had no idea that January was National Mentoring Month, who knew? Well I certainly didn’t but I’m glad I do since mentoring is such an important way to connect and share knowledge with those who’ve been there before… So, before the month’s out I thought I would share a great article on Linkedin about how best to approach the mentorship process for both mentee and mentor.
Making the Most of the Mentor Relationship
Since you can never know too much about how to best market yourself, here are two great articles on resumes:
The first is on Workopolis and it’s on why only 2% of applicants are interviewed for jobs, while the other article on Careerealism is on how important it is to both target your resume and make sure you include measureable results when writing about past positions.
6 reasons why your resume isn’t getting results
Only 2% of applicants actually get interviews: Here’s how to be one of them
And finally, I thought I would share a great read by Kathy Caprino, a contributor for Forbes, on how you may or may not doing things that could be sabotaging your potential.
Successful people and the 8 self-limiting behaviors they avoid
With the start of the new year it seems inevitable that predictions for 2014 will be coming out fast and furious, I’ve seen articles on everything from how resumes will change (or become obsolete) to what jobs will be hot or not, to interview and networking innovations. So how do you, the job seeker, sift through everything to find the real gems?
This article on Careerrealism about resumes is good, but don’t forget the concept has to “fit” your field, don’t jump on a bandwagon just because it seems trendy!
I’ve always advised job-seekers that when sending a resume your best bet is to copy your cover letter into the body of the email as well as including it in the attached resume, but lately a newer concept has started to take shape. It’s called an e-note.
Wendy Enelow and Loise Kursmark state that an e-note is basically a concise and focused version of the traditional cover letter that is meant to briefly communicate your career story and/or 3-4 of the most valuable assets you can offer a potential employer. Based on this approach, the body of the email would be a much more targeted and condensed version of the cover letter, while the expanded version is still included as an attachment to the email. I think this method makes sense given the lack of time most employers have when screening candidates.
Here are just two (of many!) career prediction articles I’ve seen lately:
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the job advice on the internet, but just stay focused on what’s relevant to your goal and you’re sure to find the silver lining!