Using A Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format can be useful in many circumstances. It is not universally popular among employers and recruiters, however, and should be used with caution …

This does not mean that it will not work well for your situation. But you need to be aware of its weaknesses as well as its strengths in order to gain most benefit from its structure.

Some hirers traditionally prefer a reverse chronological resume format because it makes it easy to focus on the progression of an applicant’s work history. They can see at a glance how the candidate has developed their career path over time.

But this presentation does not suit every occasion. If your career has not progressed in a linear fashion for whatever reason, you may wish to highlight your attributes and experience rather than a consecutive record of the positions you have previously held.

It may be that what makes you particularly well suited for a job is a battery of skills that you have built up from a variety of sources. The functional format may also suit job hunters such as these:

  • school or college leavers with little or no professional history who wish to highlight the benefits of training, an internship or a work experience placement
  • those returning to paid employment after working in the home, raising a family etc.
  • candidates wishing to make a career change

There are many other valid reasons to present your profile around clusters of skills rather than a sequence of jobs. The functional style allows you to showcase your major achievements and strongest skills from the top, and it needs only to make a brief mention of company names and positions held.

If you’re not certain which format is right for you — chronological or functional — why not try drafting your resume in both styles to see which works better?

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