Functional Resume: When to Use It, Template, Free Download for 2020
A functional resume presents relevant work accomplishments and skills as a way of telling the hiring manager or potential employer that the job candidate is a good fit for the role. This is different from a chronological resume (or reverse chronological resume format) since the resume is 2/3rd skills or accomplishments and only 1/3rd previous work history or experience.
The functional resume format is best for the job seeker who is applying for academic roles, science roles, and other positions where your accolades and accomplishments are going to measure your ability more than your work history. For example, the job title of a professor. If you’re tenured, you may only have one previous work experience. But many publications, certificates, and academic accolades that speak to your abilities as a professor.
The two other scenarios where a functional format is necessary is when entering the workforce after taking time off or when seeking a career change. For example, after taking time off, you may have a strong employment gap on the resume. This means you don’t have significant experience to share on your resume. But do have a key skill, specific skill, technical skill, or relevant skill that you know the employer will value for the role.
Before you start writing, be sure you’ve chosen the right format for your job application. The other potential formats would be a traditional resume (chronological format), a hybrid resume (or combination resume), or a functional resume.
- Leans heavily into a transferable skill, relevant skill, technical skill, or key skill.
- Only a small portion of the single-page resume is employment history.
- Hiring managers see relevant skills and functional skills they use to determine fit.
- The skills section is at the top of the resume, employment history at the bottom (unlike a traditional resume).
- The resume starts with a resume summary.
- Professional experience is referred to through skills and accomplishments rather than employment history.
- A hiring manager or recruiter can understand what you can bring to the company through your skills and accomplishments, as well as how you position them to create a very targeted resume to the employer.
- Functional headings set the resume format: Training, Education, Certifications, Qualifications, Interests. Rather than employment history and resume objective only (chronological resume).
- A cover letter and references are still included when submitting a functional resume.
As a job seeker, you should be wary of this resume style as it is really only applicable to a select few types of jobs in the job search process. If you aren’t sure whether or not the job you’re applying for requires functional resumes for the application, you can ask the recruiter or ask a resume writer about your circumstances (employment gaps, career change, or specific job title requirements).
Functional Resume Sample
Below is a functional resume example and explanation.
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