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writing a functional resume

Step by Step Guide in Creating a Functional Resume

Crafting a killer resume is a special skill that only the most successful job hunters possess. There are several types of resumes, but in this article, you will learn all about crafting a functional resume, its main features, how it differs from the traditional resume, when to use it, and most importantly, how to write it.

What is a functional resume?

The primary focus of a functional resume is the applicant’s skills and talents. Its main aim is to feature all of the pertinent characteristics that make the applicant a strong candidate for the position. If you want to showcase what you are capable of and what you are worth through your skills, this type of resume is the way to go.

Functional resume vs. other types of resumes

The main emphasis on skill is what sets functional resumes apart from other resume types. Traditional resumes in chronological or reverse-chronological order, list down a person’s work history, including previous job titles, employers, roles and responsibilities, and period of employment for each job. A traditional resume aims to show the candidate’s expertise through past experiences and relevant job undertakings.

Another resume type is the combination resume, which lists down relevant job experiences along with the skills that you displayed during each employment. If you are applying in a creative or highly visual field of work, you may also opt for a non-traditional resume that features images of your best work, similar to a portfolio.

Advantage of using a functional resume

More traditional resumes rely on your previous work experience to convince the hiring manager to consider you for the position. Unfortunately, not everyone will have relevant work experience at the ready for every job application. A hiring manager might find this problematic.

The benefit of a functional resume is that it takes away the focus on your lack of experience and redirect it towards your skills and individual experiences that you can apply in the work that you are vying for.

hand off functional resume

When to use a functional resume

There are several occasions when a functional resume is ideal. Below are some of the most common reasons why applicants opt for this type of resume.

  • Fresh graduates who have no previous work experience.
  • Career switch, where the applicant may have an extensive work history, but none of them are relevant to the position available.
  • Significant gaps in your work history, such as a prolonged parental or medical leave that may span several years.
  • If you’ve acquired skills outside of the workplace, such as in workshops or mentorships.
  • If you have a history of frequently changing jobs, which might alert the employer of the possibility that you might not stay long with them as well.

How to write a functional resume

If you think you stand a better chance of getting considered for an interview with a functional resume, you need to know how to effectively craft one. Below are some of the steps you need to do in order to create a proper functional resume. 

List your contact information.

Your resume heading should include not only your full name but also your contact information. These include your email address, phone number, home address, and relevant social media accounts such as LinkedIn. If you have your own website and you think it is relevant to the job application, you may include it here as well.

Draft a resume summary

The resume summary is usually positioned at the top of your functional resume, just below your name and contact information. It is a short statement consisting of about two or three sentences. It highlights your most relevant qualifications and career goals. The resume summary is not a required field, but it is a nice addition for a well-rounded functional resume as it sets the tone as to how the hiring manager will see you as he reads through the rest of the contents of the document. 

Organize your skills into groups

You can have an entire laundry list of skills to impress the hiring manager, but listing them at random will be confusing. You have to organize your skills into “buckets” or categories so that it’s easier on the eyes and so that it’s much easier to look for the most relevant set of skills on the part of the hiring manager. 

In grouping your skills, you can take some pointers and keywords from the job description as your basis for categorization. For example, you can list specific skills under “sales experience,” “customer service experience,” or “management skills.”

Pro tip: make use of keywords. 

Include relevant projects and employment history

Even if a functional resume’s main focus is on the skills, you still may have relevant experiences that you can include in the document. Don’t let these go to waste. In the skills section, you may further elaborate on your listed skills by providing examples of situations where you effectively displayed your abilities.

For example, under customer service skills, you can write “achieved a consistent 5-star rating from serviced clients as a phone agent in 2019.” being specific with your accomplishments and contributions enables the hiring manager to visualize your capabilities better.

Education

Your educational merit still matters in a functional resume, albeit it takes backstage to your skills and talents. That is why you will usually find it at the bottom of the page. 

As you list your educational attainment, don’t forget to include the name of the institution, the diploma you received, and any relevant accomplishments such as honors or certificates aside from the name of the degree program you attended. 

When not to include education information

Education is not really a required field in a functional resume. It is a nice addition, especially if your education is relevant to the job description, but sometimes, your educational achievements and the degree course itself do not entirely match with the job you are applying for. This may raise more questions and inject some doubts with the hiring manager. If you feel this is the case for your education, you may opt to leave it out instead.

Learn more about effective resume writing with Create The Ultimate Resume Package to Stand Out online course. It goes beyond resume writing and teaches you all about career research, cover letter writing, business card design, and even interview preparation. 

Ready to craft your first functional resume? Click here to get started.

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