Have you been searching the web for a functional resume template that will help differentiate you in your job search? And is a functional approach right for you?
For most job seekers, a traditional chronological resume is the right format to use. After all, it’s what’s expected by applicant tracking systems, and it works best on LinkedIn. But if you’ve been out of work for a long period of time or are making a shift in your career, you might be best served by marketing yourself a little differently.
A Resume Is a Bridge
When it comes to developing your resume, it’s important to remember that it is a bridge that gets you from where you’ve been to where you want to be.
A resume is a marketing document, and you need to start looking at it as such.
If you’re building a marketing document, you need to choose a format that best serves you and your career goals.
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 not every job seeker has taken a linear path. Many have strange and wonderful journeys they’ve taken. Stay-at-home parents, job jumpers, career changers, and new grads 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—and Why—a Functional Resume Template Works
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.
Remember that your goal is to land an interview with your resume. That means you need to put your best foot forward and share your value proposition in a way that best markets you.
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 has been providing support to job seekers since 2006 through resume writing and job-search and career coaching. We always provide free resume reviews; email yours to firstname.lastname@example.org.