A Functional Resume: Is It For You?

A functional resume is organized by relevant job skills or functions.  These sets of skills (usually three) contain relevant accomplishments and are placed near the beginning of the resume, rather than being listed within past jobs in the body of the resume.  The record of employment is placed near the end of the resume, but detailed job responsibilities are not listed.

Some hiring managers and recruiters dislike this resume format because it is easier to disguise a poor work record.  This type of format works well for people in certain circumstances, such as those who have changed jobs often, older workers, people with large gaps in employment, people making a career transition, and job seekers with academic deficiencies or limited experience.

A functional resume should include:

Personal Information – The header should include your name, address (include zip code or postal code), telephone number(s), and email address.

Career or Job Objective/Title (Optional) – Include a clear, concise job target; i.e., a specific position such as Senior Manufacturing Executive, Multi-Site Operations.  All other information that you include in the resume should support this job target.

Summary of Qualifications (Skills) – This is where most job seekers have problems; they have a difficult time pulling their resume information together. Understanding what should be included in the skills’ summary section comes from knowledge of what employers are generally looking for in various career fields.

Keywords – Try to incorporate position-related keywords in the professional profile (Summary of Qualifications) without being obvious.  This is imperative in today’s job search, when so many companies use scanners to screen applications for relevant keywords.

Education – In order of relevance, list the schools you have attended.  Include locations, graduation dates, degree(s) obtained, G.P.A. (if 3.0 or higher), honors and awards received, scholarships, Dean’s List, and major/minor.

Professional Development – List workshops, courses, and seminars that are relevant to the position sought.

Skills and Experience in Specific Areas – Categorize your skills and experience; they may include administration, marketing, team-building, conflict management, and/or profit and loss (P&L) reporting.  They must be vital to the position sought.

Work Experience – List the names and locations of previous employers in reverse chronological order, including your job titles.  This section can also be titled Professional Experience, Relevant Employment, Work Experience, or Career-Related Experience.

Extracurricular Activities – Present these as a list, using full names of societies, clubs, and organizations.  You can also use the following headings: Awards and Honors, Professional Affiliations, or Community Work.  Make sure you include offices held and other leadership positions.

Other Interests (optional) – Understand the legalities of employment inquiries and develop your resume accordingly.  Do not include religious or political affiliations.

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