When constructing your resume, it's important to choose a format that presents your unique skills, abilities and work history to your advantage. Presented here is an overview of the functional resume format, which is most popular among those who have a diverse background, among others. Use this format with your own work information to create an experience section that will catch an employer's eye and showcase your abilities in the best way possible.
Introduction to the Functional Resume Format
A functional resume is perhaps the less familiar of the two most common resume formats. Unlike a chronological resume, which lists all your work experience in order of time, a functional resume groups your past jobs by type and not necessarily in the order in which they were performed. You have a few options as to how to organize them. For example, you might list your prior job duties under one section labeled "Experience" or create two sections titled, for example, "Laboratory Experience" and "Other Experience."
When to Use a Functional Resume Format
The value of a functional resume is that it places your most important work for the job you are seeking first on your resume, where recruiters will see it right away. If it falls further down the page due to its chronological position, you risk employers not realizing you have the skills they're looking for. Don't forget that, for some jobs, employers receive hundreds of resumes, and their managers or HR departments scan them very quickly to sort out who's qualified for the work. One way to get your resume to wind up in the "interview" pile is to put your primary qualifications up front.
A functional resume format is ideal if you have experience at a variety of jobs. If you started out working as a lab technician but switched to working part-time retail jobs, for example, you may not want to bury more important information under a list of part-time or irrelevant job descriptions. A functional resume format is the perfect solution in this scenario. It's also a good option for making gaps in your employment history section less glaring.
You can still include volunteer work or internships in a functional resume, just as you would in a chronological one, to further display your passion for a particular field or to round out a brief work history section.
Great Example of a Functional Resume Format
Here's an example of a functional resume work experience section. Note that vital laboratory work is placed ahead of the more recent retail experience, and there is a year-long gap between the two retail jobs. This gap would be more obvious in a chronological resume.
XYZ Laboratories - Laboratory Technician - Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 8, 2009 to Dec. 12, 2011
Conducted ELISA and Western Blot screening for outsourced hospital and clinic testing.
Promoted to Lead Technician December, 2010.
Healthcare for You - Phlebotomist - Glendale, CA
July 20, 2007 to Oct. 1, 2009
Performed blood draws for outpatient clinic.
Managed supplies for clinic inventory.
Jack's Grocery - Cashier - Malibu, CA
Aug. 4, 2014 to present
Tend cash register and stock groceries for family organic food market.
Shop Til You Drop - Head Stock Person - Malibu, CA
Jan. 5, 2012 to Aug. 1, 2013
Managed stock for women's clothing boutique and managed three other employees.
Take the time to craft a resume that appeals most to employers, and you will be a step ahead of your competition for every job. If you have more questions about resume formats and what to include on your resume, you can find answers and examples at LiveCareer.