Functional Resume Format



Is this the best resume format for you?


In a functional resume format your skills and abilities are emphasized more than who you worked for or where you went to school. This is a good style to use if you have developed a set of skills over a wide variety of work-related experiences and/or employers. It is also a good resume if you are entering the job market after a long absence or if you are starting a career with little related experience but some beneficial skills. Choosing the style of your resume is very important. You have to make the best first impression possible – and your resume is a significant part of that. (The Cover Letter is the second-most significant part.) You get – maybe – 30 seconds to make a good impression with your resume. You have to capture the attention of the reader FAST or you won’t catch it at all.

Using the functional resume format, you have the ability to mask certain parts of your personal history that you don’t want accentuated. By listing your skills and achievements before listing your former employers, the focus of the resume is shifted to what you can accomplish rather than who you worked for or when you worked for them.

Be sure to clearly identify what each section is about so that the hiring manager can zero in on the information that is applicable to the particular position they have open. If the employer has to search a resume for very long, it will end up in the "No" pile very quickly. There simply isn't enough time to devote to each resume to dig deep into each piece of information. Remember – 30 seconds (at the most) is all you get.

Also, use Action Keywords to give your words the extra impact they need to grab the reader and keep him/her glued to your resume for as long as possible. Create the desire to get to know you better. That is the only way to influence the employer to set up an interview with you.

Who is the Functional Resume Format best suited for?

  • If you have any gaps in your employment dates, they are better disguised in this format.


  • If you have done the same kind of work for more than one employer, you will not be repeating the same job responsibilities.


  • If you are transitioning from one career to another, you are able to have the focus on your skills and achievements rather than on your previous job titles.


  • If you are a college student, you can downplay your lack of previous employment by targeting other features, such as honors, awards, community service as well as listing the related experience you DO have first.


  • If you have a variety of work experience in unrelated fields, this format allows you to emphasize your abilities rather than your employers.
You can get creative in handling an assortment of issues using the functional resume format. There are certainly a lot of benefits if you need some help smoothing over some areas in your personal history. Be honest, of course, but how and where you list things on your resume is entirely up to you.

When using any resume format (functional or otherwise), remember to target the information toward the specific job and company. This is very important. Mass marketing the same generic resume to a multitude of employers is a thing of the past.

You have to be very astute in deciding what you want to include in your resume and where you want to place it on the page so that the person reading it is immediately drawn in – to the point of wanting to know more. Then, you will get that coveted call for an interview.

Be sure to read all of the tips in the Resume Tips section for more insight into writing an excellent resume.

Click here for a Functional Resume Format "template" - pdf format

Follow this link to read about the Combination Resume Format


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