Functional Resumes II

In this article, we learn that one of the most challenging aspects of a functional résumé format is deciding what information to include and where to present it. Should you minimize your work history, or even omit it completely? How can you present your background in a way that convinces your reader that your skills are transferable? This article gives several examples of functional résumés, but keep in mind that your story is unique. You need to decide which aspects of your background are your most powerful selling points for your stated job objective.

During a recent resume lecture, I was trying to explain the concept of a functional resume. The students all grasped the chronological resume fairly well (good examples are everywhere), but the idea of not presenting your work history prominently on the functional resume was getting me some strange looks from the group. So I rummaged around on some of the websites of friends, strangers, and business acquaintances to find several examples to discuss and share.

The functional resumes I reference below are merely public examples from these professional resume-writing sites. They are trying to show some of their talents, not just demonstrate what a functional resume looks like, so I will ask you to ignore the other resume details and just focus on the meat of the chronological elements.

Example of a Functional Resume

Functional Example 1

Functional Example I is from Susan Whitcomb's site. I want you to look at the structure of the resume on the right side of the page. Note how the talents and skills are highlighted with the focus on business development and promotions. These sections tell the story of sales, of successes, of key clients, and of supplemental skills. Toward the end of the resume the work history is listed very briefly. Notice how all the meat of the resume is presented OUTSIDE the constraint of a specific job or company. This is a classic functional resume (except that the contact info is along the left edge…a bit edgy for my taste).

Example of a Functional Resume

Functional Example 2

Functional Example II comes from the Resume-Resource website, a site that has a wide variety of online resume aides. This is a functional resume that is stressing the job seeker's talents while down-playing the career dates. Notice that the jobs on this resume are entirely devoid of dates, but it seems odd they used dates on the education – oh well. This format is really good for part-time workers, or someone struggling with large/numerous job gaps that need to be de-emphasized, or a career changer that does not want to expand on certain prior roles or jobs.

For those of you that have read my prior sections in this course on chronological and functional resumes, let me reemphasize that everyone should develop a strong chronological resume first and then develop the functional resume. It makes creating the functional resume easier and you will find there will be many needs for your chronological resume down the line, so do not skip that step.

Bottom Line:

When building a functional resume, you need to decide whether to use a classic functional or a hybrid resume. Build up the skills and talent section and play-down the history section. When crafting your own functional resume, look around for solid examples. While there are many talented professional resume writers that have mastered the chronological resume, not all are masters of the functional resume, so shop carefully. And remember to build your chronological resume first.

Source: C.J. Trayser,
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License.

Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 12:11 PM