Source: Possibilities, Toronto’s Online Resource Centre. http://www.poss.ca/en/toolkits/reseume/functional
Functional resumés suffer from a bad rep. They're considered to be a little unconventional as chronology takes the back seat, which may make some employers suspicious. They're not popular in more conservative fields of work such as finance. Also, some workplaces are interested in where you actually worked as this may help them determine your past responsibilities.
Functional resumes, however, can be right for you if you fall into any of these categories:
- Your work history is a bit messy, perhaps because you've held a series of unrelated jobs, or there are time gaps from taking time off due to disability, education, family obligations, and so on.
- You've just finished college and are new to the job market.
- Your job titles don't describe fully the sort of tasks you performed and/or the level of your skills, according to Jobstar Central Guide.
- You're making a career change or entering a new industry. CVTips suggests looking at the tasks that you performed in a way that makes them applicable to the new position. For example, if you worked in retail, you could demonstrate how your experience there makes you a great communicator.
- You're afraid that listing your experience by date may lead to discrimination: too qualified, unqualified, too old or too young.
- Your experience stems mostly from volunteering or unpaid work.
- You've been in the military and are applying for work in the civilian world.
JobsStar Central Guide encourages you to make this type of resumé easy to read -- the employer has to be able to put together your work history and your accomplishments. You have to have some chronological structure in order to make this possible.
Let's Get Started!
Instead of listing your work experience first, start off with a profile that summarizes your skills and experience. This may be followed by key accomplishments, experience, education and any other useful information such as courses and certificates completed. You can divide your functional resume in the following manner:
- Personal details (your name, address, phone number, email address)
- Highlights (a summary of your talents and experiences)
- Experience (list your positions, employers and dates)
- Education (your education and training)
- Awards and recognition (note any awards or special recognition you've received) or additional skills and qualifications