Functional Resumes Can Benefit Employees With Minimal Work Experience
Writing a good resume isn’t easy, and there’s often limited feedback available. It’s hard to tell if employers enjoy reading your resume. If you’re a new to the workforce and lack previous work experience, creating an ideal resume can be a massive undertaking. Luckily, experimenting with your resume format and style can help you land interviews.
On a typical resume, you’ll usually find a person’s work experience as the primary focus, with employers and positions listed in reverse chronological order. This format may be the standard, but it isn’t ideal for everyone.
If you have employment gaps or a lot of short-term positions, a chronological resume calls attention to your employment history, which may be a red flag to some employers. A traditional layout might also hurt entry-level candidates and career-changers with little to no experience in their new fields or, conversely, those with extensive work experience that covers a lot of the same skills and responsibilities in each job.
One way around these issues is to use an alternative format: a functional resume. The idea is to group your skills together under themes rather than present a chronological work history, said Mary Ellen Slayter, CEO of Rep Cap.
“Coupled with a good cover-letter narrative, it can help you get interviews that you otherwise would have been passed over for,” Slayter said.
The Functional Resume: An Introduction
The functional resume format is applicable for individuals with a great deal of education and training and/or a strong set of job-related skills. This includes new graduates or experienced workers transferring to a new industry where their skills and education will apply. It is also good for people who have worked for a limited number of organizations and whose skills are more important than the employers they have worked for.
A functional resume highlights your skills and talents and how they relate to the job youre applying for. Often, the skills you have are the same ones described in the job posting. This type of resume is best for people working in technical or skill base professions, or who are transitioning into a new career.
Are Functional Resumes Worse Than Traditional Resumes
The short answer is no. Functional resumes aren’t worse than traditional resumes, they’re just different. It is worth noting, though, that functional resumes can be a turn-off to some hiring managers. Including work experience is an important part of a resume, and if your focus on skills doesn’t adequately explain how those skills can help the organization, it’s unlikely that you will land an interview.
One challenge of using a functional resume is the time recruiters or hiring managers spend looking at each individual resume. Often, recruiters spend less than a minute looking at each resume. This puts those using a functional resume at a disadvantage. It’s easier for a recruiter to scan a traditional resume and see position titles, years of experience, and previous organizations worked for than it is to look through a functional resume and assign value to the skills listed.
Functional resumes might get lost in the crowd for job openings with hundreds of applicants. For openings with fewer applicants, the hiring manager might spend more time on each application. That’s an instance when a functional resume can be most effective.
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Add A Resume Summary Or Objective
After your contact information, you have the option to include either a resume summary or objective statement. An objective statement quickly explains your career goals and is a good choice for those with limited professional experience, such as recent college or high school graduates. A resume summary is a short statement that uses active language to describe your relevant work experience and skills.
How To Use The Functional Resume Format
The functional resume format is excellent for recent graduates without a strong work history. It is also a good choice for you if you have been out of the work force or if youve been job hopping for a while. Finally, the functional resume template is a good one to follow if your work experience matches your target position rather than your current job.
Functional resumes group key skills in a strategic way that allows you to highlight your qualifications and demonstrate your expertise. The format is a flexible one that you can match to the job or jobs you are seeking. If you are applying for jobs with different demands from one another, you can create separate a separate resume to accompany each application. Customization takes time but it may increase your chances of getting a job you really want.
Include several key elements in your functional resume. Some to consider include your job objective your personal profile a skills summary a professional experience section that features tailored skills groups information about your education, academic background, and on-the-job training experience working in other industries, countries, or job functions and your employment history.
When listing previous positions and education, work in reverse chronological order.
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How To Format A Functional Resume
In functional resumes you require to strategically group key skills into different categories. Doing this shall determine a candidate’s qualifications for a particular job. This is a skills-based focus which allows you to emphasize your strengths and digress from an absent employment record.
Some sample functional resume on the website showcase that in case you are applying for a sales management position, you might choose categories such as “Sales and Marketing Experience””Foreign Language Fluency” and “Team Building and Leadership Expertise” for your headings, listing appropriate skills and accomplishments beneath each one.
The employment section of functional resumes is typically brief. It simply lists the positions held along with company names and employment dates at the bottom of page. Occasionally selective information is intentionally deleted due to non-compliance with the target job profile.
Creating Your Functional Resume
Dont be overly intimidated about creating your functional resume. While it may feel a bit unnatural to go against the traditional way of creating a resume, a functional resume can help prove youre qualified for the position. With the right information, you can land a job you never thought possible.
Consider the most important information a hiring manager may want to see when they look at your resume. Even if you dont have the direct work experience to show you have these qualifications, find some other skill or relevant accomplishment that can prove you know how to perform that style of task.
Remember your functional resume should be tailored to the unique position youre applying to. Be sure to switch it up, change up the skills and adjust your accomplishment bullets to reflect the things the company is looking for in the position theyre trying to fill. Tailoring your message to fit the needs of the position and the hiring manager can increase your chances of getting to the first interview.
If you dont have the work qualifications to apply for a job you believe youd be great at, dont allow it to hold you back.
Create an impressive functional resume using Resumonk to get noticed, prove your credentials and get the job.
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Summary Statement Or Objective Statement
In your summary statement, you should make your most relevant skills and experiences stand out immediately to hiring managers. It should effectively summarize your previous experience and relevant qualifications in around 50 words, and entice hiring managers to read the rest of your resume.
Start with your degree or job title, and the number of years youve been in the workforce. Continue listing your relevant expertise, and quantify this experience with tangible results. You can mention awards, recognition or accomplishments.
Lets compare two professional profiles. Here is an ineffective example of an executive secretarys profile.
- A poor example:Executive secretary and team leader, working with effectiveness and attention to detail. Expert in efficiency programs and organization of data. In charge of work environment events with outstanding results.
- This profile doesnt give the recruiters the information they need. This person might have the skills they are looking for, but the profile is vague.
When you list your accomplishments in this way, the recruiter can picture you doing the same for their company.
Pros And Cons Of A Functional Resume
A functional resume poses certain advantages that can quickly help you get your career off the ground. However, it’s not the right choice for everyone since the structure can be limiting in terms of work history. Let’s explore the pros and cons of this type of resume.
Pros of a functional resume:
- Easy to create without much experience to go off of
- Allows you to highlight your personality traits
- A great option for students and recent grads
- Can be used to change careers and showcase transferrable skills
- The best way to highlight education and abilities with no work experience
Cons of a functional resume:
- No employment history section to highlight previous positions
- Can make you appear like an early-career candidate even if you’re not
- Less ability to show hard skills or lessons learned on the job
- Not favored by employers for certain roles
- Stands out as a candidate who doesn’t have experience in the field
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Fonts Margins & Spacing
- Employ professional or sans-serif fonts such as , Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Century Gothic, Calibri, Lucida Sans, Tahoma, etc. over serif fonts
- The ATS is often unable to process serif fonts.
- Maintain the font size larger than 10 pts. but smaller than 12 pts. for the section points
- Maintain the font size larger than 12 pts. but smaller than 14 pts. for the section headings.
- You should not compromise formatting and legibility of the text to limit it to the required page size.
- Maintain a 1-inch margin on all sides.
- Maintain single-spaced spacing for your resume.
- Ensure a line break after each section.
HIRATION PRO TIP: Before sending your resume across, print it to see how it looks on paper.
Tips For Writing A Functional Resume:
- Choose a simple font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. Use black and font size 10 You may bold the headings.
- Do not use color or fancy graphics and be mindful to remove them if you are using resume builders.
- Do not include false information on your resume or try to hide gaps in employment.
- Use Grammarly to pick up mistakes and also get someone else to read over your final resume before you submit it.
- Before sending your resume off, read our article on How to Email your Resume to the Hiring Manager.
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Pros And Cons Of Functional Resumes
While a functional resume has its place in job hunting, its the least commonly used resume format. And there are several reasons why most recruiters and job coaches will tell you to avoid using a functional resume.
You may find that the disadvantages of a functional resume may ultimately outweigh the benefits of using one. However, there may be a few select times when a functional resume is the right choice in your job search.
Work History & Job Descriptions For A Functional Resume
With a functional resume, your previous employment will be described under headings of skills and/or job titles.
The key to a great functional resume is coming up with great headings for your past experience. What makes a heading great will differ from job to job, but your headings should be customized for each job you are applying to.
This is important because even with jobs that share a job title, like customer service representative, their duties and responsibilities could be vastly different.
So take the time to review each and every job listing to gain an understanding of not only the individual skills a company is looking for, but the general ideas and concepts they expect you to understand or quickly learn.
You will also need to go back and review at least the last 7 years of your work history and start to think of the jobs youve had and the skills youve acquired in terms of their job titles or general skill groupings.
Even if you cant quite think of the exact title just yet, start to group your different abilities and skills so that you can begin to describe and write them with a larger purpose in mind. In fact, sometimes you may keep what youve written and just change the titles to make a resume more appealing for certain companies.
Under each category title should be a combination of job duties and descriptions of applying your skills. Use the job listing for the job youre applying for to find out what types of skills the company needs.
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Create A Clear Education Section
If you lack professional experience but have a good track record in school , your education section should be highly detailed to highlight all of your education-related accomplishments.
On the other hand, if you possess more than a few years of professional experience, then its appropriate to keep your education section short and sweet.
Additionally, if youre a student or recent graduate, list your education section above the experience section of your resume. This way, you emphasize your most marketable qualifications at the top of the page.
Here are the main points to include in a standard education section:
- The names of your university, community college, or technical school
- Location of the schools
- Date of graduation
Additionally, include relevant coursework on your resume if youre a recent graduate and dont have much work experience yet.
Here are two examples demonstrating how to format your education section:
Functional Resume Sample Format
Seeking an office manager position with ABC company in order to maximize efficiency of employees and stimulate growth of the company through proactive effort, excellent time management, and coordination skills.
Accomplished office manager with a proven ability to develop and implement time-management strategies that support business and financial objectives. Reduced operating budget by $10,000 in most recent job. Recognized as an expert in efficiency and data management.
Respected team player focused on achieving company goals. Keep up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development .
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Writing A Functional Resume
The plan of attack for writing a functional resume varies person by person. If you focus the resume on your skills and examples of how you’ve demonstrated those skills, the resume should have its desired effect.
“It’s a different way of thinking, so take your time and be thoughtful,” said Bushera. “I recommend starting by identifying the skills you want to highlight and then statements that describe your experience with each skill.”
Hiring managers love examples and data. If you list leadership as a quality, be sure to include examples and data that back that up. For example, saying you helped implement new training procedures for new hires at your previous organization, that shows that you’re able to take initiative and help lead new endeavors within an organization. Examples and statistics boost your resume and make it more meaningful in the eyes of hiring managers.
Regardless of how you choose to write a resume, there are two key questions it should answer: Can you do the job, and can the hiring manager work with you?
There are many ways you can show this when writing a skills-based resume. Arthur Jordan, vice president of engineering at education technology company 2U, advised finding a way to discuss successful work and personal projects that could show off your unique abilities to an employer. For instance, you could mention your contributions to an open-source project, or that you wrote a blog post about a work problem you solved.
Consider Adding Optional Sections
If you have significant white space on your resume, consider adding an achievements or interests section. This can help supplement a shorter resume, especially for those with limited work and educational experience. Makes sure that the achievements and interests you list support your career goals and are relevant to potential employers.
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How To Write A Functional Or Skills
Whether youre just entering the workforce or youve been working professionally for years, your resume is one of the most important documents for advancing your career. As the first introduction to your skills and personality, you want your resume to accurately reflect what youre capable of.
Chances are, youve been told a resume should showcase your work history in a reverse chronological order. For someone who has followed a traditional path to advancing their career, this can be the best way to outline your accomplishments and relevant skills.
However, a reverse chronological resume isnt right for everyone. Sometimes, a functional or skills-based resume just makes more sense.
But what exactly is a skills-based or functional resume and when should it be used? Lets break down when you may want to consider using this type of resume.
List Your Professional History With Keywords
Write your professional history section in reverse-chronological order. Start with your most recent job and provide a short description including the company name, time period in which you were employed, your job title and a few key achievements during your time at the company. You might also include relevant learnings or growth opportunities you experienced while employed there.
When listing your professional history, you should keep a few best practices in mind:
- Use numbers to measure your impact, when possible. Including specific numerical achievements can help employers understand your direct potential value to their company.
Example: Developed new process for requesting supplies, reducing fulfillment time by 10%.
- Use keywords from the job description. Similar to your skills section, you should also include information from the job description in your job history bullets. For example, if the job description mentions the importance of meeting sales quotas, you could include information about how youve met or exceeded quotas in past roles.
Example: Achieved goal of reaching 250% annual sales quota, winning sales MVP two quarters in a row.
Follow the same process for other work experiences. If you do not have extensive professional history, you should also include internships and volunteer opportunities following the same format.
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