What is a Functional Format?
A functional resume format is that which highlights the individual’s skills and core competency areas rather than the work history and education details. This format is usually adopted when the person has broad ranging skills and expertise in diverse sectors but not a properly aligned work history to project.
How is a functional resume shaped?
In a functional resume, the Skills and Expertise section is placed in the fore-front and just after the opening Summary or Highlights section. The Work History and Education details follow. Work experience section will contain only lesser details with usually no duration of employment or work description, apparently because this section has not much or very less relevance to the job applied for. However, the Skills section will be elaborate and the skills often classified into several sub-headers.
Who should choose this format?
This format is ideally recommended for those –
- Who have no professional experience to speak of – like college or high school graduates who possess skills acquired through academic programs, course works, projects, charity and community services etc.
- Who are looking for a career change – like job hoppers who plan to try their luck in fields they are new to and have negligible work experience to market themselves
- Who had career gaps – like a stay-at-home mother who had stayed away from their professional life for a while but wants to re-join the workforce
- Who have a diverse career graph – similar to job hoppers who try their hands in different and entirely unrelated industries, thereby acquiring a lot of wide ranging skills but with none of the professional history worth highlighting
The key areas of a functional resume are below:
Key Skills and Strengths
You may bullet list all the relevant skills and strengths in this section and include a new Core Competencies section just below it that elaborates in short phrases any roles or responsibilities you have handled that proves your skills section. Alternatively, you may combine them under one header with each competency area classified under a separate sub-header. Either way, keep in mind that this section is the key area and hence should take up atleast 70% of your resume’s first page.
As mentioned, this section is of less importance and hence requires only fewer details. Contrary to the chronological format, the most relevant work experience should come first and the remaining arranged sequentially in the descending order of relevance. It is not necessary to mention all your work experiences especially if it has not much to do with the job you are applying for. Or you may simply put all of the irrelevant ones together against the last bullet by stating “Other experiences include…”
Again, similar to the Work experience section, this also requires only fewer details like a bullet-list of all the degrees acquired. There is no need to mention the dates of attending or grades obtained if it’s been a while since you graduated.
Download functional resume samples here in case you need further help.