Guest Author - Dianne Walker
Functional resumes serve a multi-fold purpose. Unlike a chronological resume, a functional resume focuses on overall skills and accomplishments. It allows you to list particular skills one time instead of repeating the same skill for every employer. For example, if you used the Microsoft Office Suite of products in every job – this skill can be listed once on a functional resume instead of for every position. This also saves vital space on your resume. The most practical use for a functional resume, however, is to cover up a less than stellar employment record or change careers.
What are the essential sections of a functional resume?
The first section of a functional resume mirrors the chronological resume. This section includes your name, address and other important contact information. The objective and summary sections follow the contact section, if applicable.
The bulk of the functional resume focuses on skills. The easiest way to manage this section is to write a detailed skill followed by any major accomplishments in which you utilized that skill. Make sure the skills focus on those required by the company you are applying to. For example, if project management is one of the employer’s desired skills, this should be one of the skill sets listed in this section. Underneath would be a list of major accomplishments of how the project management skill was utilized. Perhaps you coordinated the opening of a $1 million dollar store. Remember, this section should be the longest and most detailed section of your resume.
The employment history should follow the skills section of the resume. The information listed here should be brief. Include the employer’s name, address, dates of employment and title. The employment section is followed by the education section.
Why would you want to use a functional resume?
If you have a solid work history and/or are seeking employment in the same field, a functional resume is not for you. What do employers consider to be a solid work history? Frankly, it’s the opposite of job hopping. It means that you have spent a number of years within the same organization. Even if you have had numerous jobs in the same field, but spent less then a year in each job – you may consider a functional resume to downplay your moves.
What is the downside of a functional resume?
There are a few downsides to functional resumes. Employers tend to scrutinize functional resumes more closely. Why? Because they are mainly used to hide problem areas such as frequent job changes. Even though changing careers is not considered a problem, employers will carefully match the skills with your employers and job titles.
In short, while chronological resumes highlight your function within each position, functional resumes highlight your skills and accomplishments. Functional resumes are best used when changing careers, but are definitely used to cover up a spotty work record. The decision is yours - is the functional resume best for you?
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