Functional resumes are formatted to focus on your skills and experience instead of on your chronological employment history. In this format, you will organize your information under headings representing expertise and experience rather than by job titles.
In straight functional resumes, your employment history is avoided entirely, however this can raise alarm bells with some employers. If this is likely to be a problem, it may be wise to use a combination resume format which includes both functional and chronological components.
A functional resume format is the best choice if you have gaps in employment history, are returning to the workforce after raising children or are newly entering the workforce after leaving school or college.
Functional resumes focus on the functions of your various roles and your job is to highlight the relevance of these functions to the job you are applying for. This means you need to be very aware of the requirements of the job and company you are targeting.
The first step to writing a functional resume is to evaluate the tasks you performed in each of your previous jobs and group them into functional areas.
For example, you may have done a lot of different types of accounting or clerical jobs but within these roles you may have had diverse functions such as training a staff member, liaising with government departments, writing a training manual, supervision, staff evaluation, as well as the functions typically associated with accounting.
It is important to consider all functional aspects of your previous roles as these could well provide the foot in the door you are looking for.
Once you have identified common elements of your skills and experience, you can compare these to the specific requirements of the jobs you are applying for. Re-word them to suit the language and terms used in the selection criteria of your targeted position.
It can be helpful to browse job ads of other similar positions to remind you of work you have done in the past as well as to guide you in how to express your skills and experience in the most appropriate way for your target audience.
If you feel you need some help putting together your functional resume, functional resume templates are available online for download. Simply do an online search to find them. They can save you a lot of time and make the resume preparation process a lot easier.
As with all resumes, functional resumes will need to include your objectives, personal details, experience and skills, education, training and certifications, and a list of referees.
Make sure your resume is printed on white or off-white stock paper with wide margins and one and a half line spacing to make it easy to read. Have a reliable person read it to make sure there are no errors you haven’t picked up.
You now have an effective, functional resume targeted to the job or industry you are aiming for. Once you write a highly targeted cover letter to send with it, you are ready to apply for your job and you have given yourself the best possible chance of obtaining an interview.
Functional resumes are well worth the time and effort it requires to create them. If this format is best suited to your employment history and personal circumstances, using it to write your resume can be the difference between job hunting success and failure.