Who Should Use a
Functional Resume Format?
While the chronological resume format is the preferred format of recruiters and hiring managers, it isn’t for everyone. The following types of job seekers should consider using a functional resume format instead:
Entry-level job seekers with little to no work experience.
A functional resume format will emphasize your skills over your work experience, which is helpful to those who are new to the workforce.
Those who have held several short-term or temporary jobs.
For freelance workers, a functional resume offers a glimpse at their most impressive clients and assignments without focusing on the length of their tenure.
Workers who have gaps in their employment history.
If you experienced a long layoff, took time off to handle a personal or health problem or are reentering the workforce after a long hiatus, such as to raise children, a functional format is a great choice.
Professionals who are looking to make a career change.
If you’re looking to switch careers and want to emphasize your transferable skills over industry-related experience, this is the format for you.
The reason this resume format works well for these individuals is because the format emphasizes training and skills over work history. For instance, if you want to work as a medical assistant but you don’t have hospital experience, a functional resume format could help you emphasize related courses you have taken and relevant volunteer experience where you developed transferable skills.BUILD MY RESUME
Who Should Consider a Different Format
Functional resume formats aren’t for every job seeker. Consider either a combination or a chronological resume format if you fall into any of the following categories:
You have an extensive work history.
Your career trajectory is particularly notable.
You plan to apply for jobs in the same field in which you’ve been working.
You are a recent graduate with relevant internship experience.
6 Good Examples of
When to Use a Functional Resume
If you have little to no work experience:
If you’re an entry-level worker with limited work experience, a functional resume format can bring your education and training to the forefront. This job seeker is trained as a carpenter and has experience as an apprentice, but his work experience is limited.
By using this resume format, his training and transferable skills are what gets noticed, not his lack of professional experience.
If you are a recent graduate:
This job seeker has recently graduated from college, and as a result, doesn’t have much work experience to highlight. The functional resume format makes this no problem because it helps emphasize the transferable hard and soft skills gleaned in college.
By pulling skills to the top of the document, work experience becomes less weighty, which is perfect for those who are seeking their first or second professional role.
If you are a temp or gig economy worker:
This job seeker has held several short-term roles and worked as a freelance writer, which can make resume writing tricky. However, by choosing a functional resume format, she has corralled all of her qualifications, professional experience and skills into a cohesive document.
With a focus on the qualifications and skills sections, her brief work experience section conveys a consistent work history and career progression, two critical elements every recruiter will look for in a job applicant.
If you are a contractor or freelancer:
When you work as a freelancer or contract worker, it can be hard to write a resume that makes it clear that your roles were intentionally short. The functional resume format is a great choice for freelancers.
Again, this format focuses on skills and qualifications, rather than on an extensive work history. Using this format can show potential clients and hiring managers alike the skills you’ve gleaned in your various roles and what you’ll bring to the table.
If you have employment gaps:
Gaps can appear in your employment history for a variety of reasons. From raising children to caring for elderly parents, needing to take time off from work shouldn’t hamper your job search.
Because it focuses on skills over work history, the functional format is perfect for this type of job seeker. Whether you were out of work for a month or a longer period, this format brings the best parts of your work history to the top of the document and takes the focus off of your employment gaps.
If you are looking to change careers:
Job seekers who are looking to make a career change want to emphasize their transferable skills over all else. This candidate is looking to make the leap from a technical support role into a position as an automotive technician apprentice.
With an explanation of his goals in his Summary Statement and his skills front-and-center, hiring managers will have no problem understanding his relevant past experience.