Typically, when one thinks of a resume, it’s a chronological format, listing positions starting with your current (or most recent) and moving backwards. But a chronological resume isn’t always the best option. There are times when the benefits of a functional resume far outweigh the standard layout.
What Is a Functional Resume?
A functional resume is pretty different from a chronological resume. Although they both start off the same way—with your contact information, title, summary, and areas of expertise—the layout is a bit different. A chronological resume leads with either education or professional experience. A functional resume, however, moves into either education or skills and accomplishments.
If you were to look online for a functional resume template, the writer may illustrate the benefits of a functional resume, buy they may not focus on accomplishments. Most functional resumes just offer a list of the skills you have. Sure, that’s great, but how have you made a difference? Remember that a resume should focus on the value you provide.
When Should You Use a Functional Resume?
If you’ve always been in the same industry and want to continue to move up in that industry, chronological works great. That’s because it showcases your experiences best, and it’s what employers expect.
But what if you’ve been a stay-at-home parent for years? Or you went back to school to become a chef after years as an accountant? Maybe you’re a new college grad with no “real” experience? These are definitely times when a functional resume will offer you a lot more opportunities to shine.
Benefits of a Functional Resume
There is a push nowadays to human-voiced resumes. While there are some areas in which to do that in a chronological format, functional may be better.
With a functional resume, you’re telling a story. You’re taking the employer out of the ordinary and showcasing exactly how you can help them. And by adding value, you’re sure to grab attention—and interviews.
Job Seekers Are Hesitant to Use a Functional Approach
If the benefits of a functional resume are so great, why aren’t more job seekers using them? The answer is simple: they’re a challenge to write.
The biggest issue for most people in creating a functional resume is that it’s not linear—and that’s how most of us think. We’ve been so trained to view our experiences from the present to the past that it’s a big challenge to look at them any other way. A well-written functional resume needs to put everything together in a way that linear hiring managers can trace all of the connections. But this format allows job seekers to tell a story that better markets them when they have a non-traditional background.
Curious if you need a chronological or functional resume? Look at where you want to be and how your experiences will help get you there. And if you’d like a professional opinion, email your current document to email@example.com for a complimentary review.