Functional resumes highlight skills rather than job history. There are many different people and situations that would be best suited with a functional resume, for instance if there is no clear career path shown through your work history, or if you are choosing to deviate from that path. Functional resumes are great when you are changing careers or industries; they show that you have transferable skills even if you are missing some relevant experience. Functional resumes are also great when there are gaps in employment, for example if you took time off to raise a family or travel or have long periods of temporary employment. This format can work well for recent grads without a lot of work history or people who have had a number of relatively unrelated positions. If you are going to use this format, be sure that you truly have a problematic career path for the position you are applying for, and don’t scrap your chronological copy just yet!
Unlike the conventional chronological resume the bulk of your resume will focus on your skills rather than job history. For a functional resume you will categorize your skills into a few buckets and list experiences that showcase those skills. After your skills section you list work history, but only include dates of employment. A good place to start is with three key skill buckets, depending on your experience you may need a little more or less. Back up every skill with details and/or how you have developed that skill. Monster sums it up well, “Functional resumes rely on strategically grouping key skills into different categories to demonstrate a candidate’s qualifications and expertise for a particular job. This skills-based focus allows you to emphasize your strengths and soft-pedal a flawed or absent employment record.”
Functional resumes can be tricky, but depending on your situation, they might be exactly what you need. If you need more help crafting a functional resume give us a call, Menlo Partners Staffing, (650)752-6193.