When you pull up a resume template, it’s pretty straightforward: Your past jobs are listed in reverse chronological order near the top, dating back about 10 years or so. But you may need a “functional” resume sometimes, even if templates for it are a little harder to find.
What is a functional resume?
A functional resume is one that leads with your work-related skills and abilities listed right after your contact information. Most of the time, per Indeed, this is done in a bulleted list. You can have a list for skills you’ve acquired in past positions, in school, or during job training, as well as any awards you’ve gotten.
The goal here is not to show a hiring manager what you’ve done in the past, but what you’re prepared and equipped to do for their company. Leading with your talents and accomplishments shows that you’re competent and capable, not just that you’ve had jobs before or have gone to school.
When to use a functional resume
There are a few times to use functional resumes, as well as a few times to stay away from them. Try one out if you’re any of the following, according to Novoresume:
- A recent graduate lacking work experience
- Switching industries and looking for an entry-level job
- If you’ve held a variety of titles with little relevance to each other and/or the job you’re looking for now
Keep in mind, however, that these are pretty rare and in most cases, traditional resumes are more welcome by hiring managers. Using an unorthodox formatting can show your skills, but could also give the impression you’re trying to hide something, like a gap in your resume. If you’re looking to obscure an employment gap or other blemish in your history, don’t. You need to explain those and be honest with hiring managers. Only use a functional resume if you really want to lead with your talents and potential over your experience and past deeds, but not if you’re angling to be a little deceitful. Keep using a chronological resume when you’re staying in your current industry or have a clearly defined career path that you’re happy to stay on.
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