When it comes to your job search, you need to focus on your strengths. For most job seekers, those strengths can be shared in a traditional chronological format. For some, though, that’s not the best approach to take. If you fall into the minority, you need to know how to showcase your talents better. You need a functional resume template.
A Resume Is a Bridge
Unfortunately, most job seekers have no clue as to what a resume truly is or what it’s designed to accomplish. No matter which format you choose, your resume should be a bridge between where you are and where you want to be. It is a marketing document, pure and simple. It’s designed to get you an interview.
If your career path is clean and linear, where you’ve moved up a bit with each position, a chronological resume template will serve you quite well. But many job seekers have strange and wonderful paths they’ve taken. Stay-at-home parents, job jumpers, career changers, and brand-new employees need something different. They need a functional resume template.
The first step in determining which format of resume you need is to figure out what your career goal is. This is the starting point for any well-written resume. Your goal becomes your title, or headline, on your resume. Gone are the days of objectives: “I’m looking for a position in which I….” Employers want to know who you are for them. It’s not about you.
If your career goal is in alignment with your previous professional experience, awesome! Then proceed to build a chronological resume. If, however, you don’t have the experience to support that goal, you’ll need to think of another approach.
When you have a nontraditional career path, are just starting on your career journey, or want to change directions, a functional resume template is your best bet. This allows you to bring the skills and accomplishments that support your goal to the forefront. When an employer looks at your resume, they’ll see that you have what they’re looking for. Sure, they’ll also see that you (a) have no professional experience, (b) have older experience, or (c) have experience in a different field. That’s okay because you’re putting what really matters front and center.
DIY Your Functional Resume
While a chronological resume is easy for most job seekers to write by listing their experiences in reverse order, a functional resume is different. This isn’t linear. And it doesn’t focus on your employers. It focuses on your skills and accomplishments. Get ready to work.
1. Choose 2–4 skills you have AND an employer wants
Following your summary section (which is similar on every resume), you’ll lead with skills and accomplishments. To achieve this, choose 2–4 broad topics in which you have experience and an employer is looking to hire. If you’re not sure, do a little research on jobs you’re targeting.
Under each skill you choose, share a brief paragraph of your experiences and/or approach to that skill. Then, below that, bullet 2–3 accomplishments that relate to that skill.
2. Skim over your professional experience
On a chronological resume, you would go into detail about each position you’ve had. Here, your detail is in the skills section. That means your experience will be a bit lighter. Still, keep the information there; just don’t expound on it.
A Functional Resume Template Isn’t for Everyone
While a chronological resume should be your default, if you need a functional resume, build it. You may find that your job search will take a positive turn that you hadn’t previously experienced. And that’s worth the extra work needed to create a functional resume.
Ink & Quill Communications provides free resume reviews. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll let you know how you’ve done!