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Is a Functional Resume Right for You?

Sometimes a traditional chronological resume will not focus on the skills you want to showcase to a prospective employer. A functional resume may be just what you need.

Here is one of the reasons I like what I do for a living: Last week I received an email from a young man who attended one of my resume and cover letter writing classes. He wrote to tell me he had revised his resume, as per my suggestions, and converted it to a functional resume. He shared that he sent out the new version and within a day received two interviews whereas with his original version he was not getting any replies. Why is this? The information was the same, education experience, etc. It is the presentation.

Functional resumes work well for those who have been out of work recently or for period of time, leaving a chronological gap. This format also works well for individuals with eclectic work experiences that do not reflect a cohesive career path. More seasoned workers may want to use a functional resume in order to deemphasize the number of years they have worked.          

The internet has many examples. I suggest taking a look at a few to get an idea of how you might want to format your resume. A functional resume is organized by skills. You can begin with a “skills summary” section using bullet points. Examples include: customer service, management, scheduling, problem solving.

Next, use two or three sections that highlight a particular skill set. Use bullet points to describe accomplishments under each category. Finally, include your employment history listing company name, location, your title and dates of employment. You should also list your education and any special training.     

Always try to match the skills you have with the skills required for the job. You may not have held the title of the position you are applying to but you may have done many of the tasks required. Packaging yourself using a functional resume may help you land the job you want.

I am waiting to hear back from “K” with the results of his interviews. Fingers crossed!

Bev Lemere April 16, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I think the functional resume is a great format, but every recruiter I sent one to asked me to rewrite it to make it a chronological one. Seems like there is a mindset that chronological is best for some reason.

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