The Functional Resume – What You Should Know!

Before you set out to create your resume, it is necessary to understand the different resume formats. The most commonly used formats are the chronological format and the functional format. Let us understand the ingredients of a functional resume writing.
In broader terms, the layout of a functional resume is:

1. A statement of your objectives and titled as ‘objective’
2. A summary about yourself
3. A statement of your skills, highlighting accomplishments under each of them
4. History of your employment in reverse chronological order – last job being mentioned first
5. Educational and/or continuing education history
6. Affiliations with professional bodies if you find them useful in the context of the job
7. Community affiliations if they can add value to your resume

How does the functional resume help?

For an individual who has been constantly changing careers and has acquired experiences with transferable skills, the functional resume would be the perfect fit. Similarly, for individuals looking for total role reversals or moving from a management position to non-management etc. the chronological resume can potentially cause confusions. When management experience is chronologically listed, the employer is more likely to relate the resume to a management position. In a functional resume, you are focusing more on the skills rather than on the chronology. ‘Job hoppers’ can package experience from several positions and relate them in terms of skills acquired. Functional resume would be appropriate for people who have held multiple positions within an organization and seek to focus on one functional area.

Ability to highlight skills

With the functional resume, it is convenient to lend importance to your work history and match your accomplishments and skills. In a chronological format, these factors may not be obviously noticeable to the employer. When you gain a wide array of experience from different employers, the chronological resume can portray sort of an unsteady position. The functional resume is of specific advantage here because you can work around the skills rather than where you got them from.

Consolidating and presenting the skills

The most important task involved in creating a functional resume is consolidating your skills and presenting it to the employer in a manner that helps him hire your services. When you are creating a resume for a particular job title, it can be challenging to project your skills in a way that relates to the job. A functional resume will help you in this case because of the focus on skills.

Perfecting the functional resume

The resume you create is for someone else to read. Therefore, making it reader friendly will be your first task. Make sure to present the entire content in a sober format using standard fonts. Borders, colors, your creative abilities etc. are best reserved for another situation. Instead, add maximum context within your functional description. That for sure would help the employer understand the alignment of your skills with the job he has on hand. Finally, there can be situations where you are not too sure about creating your resume or the format to be followed. The internet has enormous volume of help available – some of which are free while others require small payments. Turn to the professionals to take you to your goal because they know best as to what cuts and when.

Top Reasons to Write a Functional Resume

Most resumes today fall into two broad categories i.e, functional resume or chronological resume. Chronological resumes will however be listing in a reverse chronological order with the most recent experience figuring at the top. A functional resume on the other hand will group the experience in terms of skills. While creating a resume first time ever, or updating an old one, you should understand whether the functional resume is the right format for you.
Who should opt for a functional resume?
There are different scenarios when a functional resume is ideal for you. Consider the following:

  • When you want to move into a different career altogether
  • When you have diverse experience which does not demonstrate a career path that is clear cut
  • College students whose experience is minimal or the experience does not relate to the career field selected
  • When your work history has gaps. Remember, this can be typical of home makers wanting to return to work after they took time off raising a family. A chronological resume for such individuals can attract undue attention while a functional resume can highlight experience in activities in areas like domestic management and/or volunteer work.
  • Applicants who have performed stereo type activities throughout their career and seeking to avoid highlighting that experience in a chronological format.
  • When a chronological listing can potentially project you as an overqualified candidate
  • When most of your relevant experience has been gained from college activities or volunteer services with no significant remuneration.
  • When you have to work around a long job history, particularly for those in the higher age group.

Career Changes

After spending a few years in a particular career, some people tend to look at changing their career altogether. In instances such as this, the reverse chronological listing can be of little help. The prospective employer should know the additional skills that the candidate is bringing to make him/her eligible for the position. A functional resume in this case would serve the cause better.

College students

The experience profile of college students would obviously be different from those with industry experience. The functional resume comes in handy for them. Students can chose skill clusters and give an elaborate account substantiating their claims. Remember that most of the experience in this case may not have come from paid employment.

Understand Employer/recruiter preferences

The functional resume does have advantages over the chronological resume in certain cases. However, most recruiters as well as employers are not known to be admirers of the functional resume. International employers and online job boards too do not encourage the use of functional resumes. This makes it all the more necessary that you understand the employer/recruiter preferences before deciding the resume format. Whatever format you choose, make sure that you draw up a crisp and neat resume highlighting all that can sell you to the employer. It is important that your USP catches the attention of the employer and he identifies the value in hiring your services.