A Functional Resume format has a specific purpose. Ask yourself: are there aspects of your career history you'd rather not highlight? Have you had long periods of unemployment in between jobs, or have you frequently changed jobs? Or are you planning to start all over again in a new industry? Thankfully, there are resume formats for career histories of every hue, including those that don’t appear “perfect” or “normal”.
Remember, the mantra is to market yourself in a clear, creative and convincing fashion. You need to present relevant information that will make a recruiter want to shortlist you. The question is, how do you make an “imperfect” or “unconventional” career history look great? If this is your goal, you may wish to use a Functional Resume format—but do so with caution.
This might not be the
most common type of resume format, but it’s certainly popular with many
job-seekers who have career histories pock-marked with long gaps between jobs
or frequent job-hopping. Simply put, this format showcases your relevant skills
and experience and places them at the core of your resume. It highlights
specific and relevant capabilities, NOT your chronological work history. This
format uses the Professional Experience section to highlight your abilities e.g. Communications, Problem Solving, Managing, Technology, etc.
Never underestimate the power of a Functional Resume when it comes to getting your foot in the door. If you know exactly when to use it, it could open up opportunities for you even if your career history doesn’t fit the 'norm'. This resume type is suitable if:
Beware: recruiters will almost certainly ask you about ‘awkward spots’ in your work history at the interview. So, prepare in advance to give a great reply.
Though you may find this format very useful for covering up a not so “good-looking” career history, there are compelling reasons why you should not use this format:
The following sections can be used in this format:
The “Functional” aspects of your career history are drawn out in the Professional Experience section. This is central to the format and must be used by the job-seeker when marketing themselves. The Work History section then lists the companies the job-seeker worked in, the job titles and the year of service (not the exact date/month).
To summarise: The Functional Resume format can be used if you are left with no other option but to defend or cover up a sketchy work history, or if you are transitioning to a whole new career.
Remember, it is
crucial to know what to sell and how to
sell. But that’s not enough. You should also know what to
avoid and when. You should also know how to
mask certain aspects of your work history.
Click here to see what a functional resume template actually looks like.
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