Depending on your work history, you may want to consider using a functional resume. A functional resume focuses on the skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate for a position.
Unlike a traditional resume, the functional resume does not highlight your chronological work history. Instead, it focuses on the skills you have developed that fit the requirements of the job for which you are applying.
Functional resumes are ideal for people who have gaps in their employment histories or are new to a particular industry.
Functional Resume vs. Traditional Resume
A traditional resume, also known as a chronological resume, emphasizes your work history. It includes a list of your work experiences. For each job you have held, you include the dates you worked, the job title, and the company. Most traditional resumes list work experience in reverse chronological order (with your current experience first).
You should use a chronological resume when you have an extensive work history that is related to the job you are applying for. It is a good way to quickly show that you have related experience.
Other Types of Resumes
Functional and traditional resumes are not the only resume types to choose from. For example, if you want to both highlight your skills and include your chronological work history, consider a combination resume.
If you are in a creative field (such as graphic design), consider using a nontraditional resume. This kind of resume allows you to include visuals, such as graphs and infographics. This way, you can show off your design skills within the resume.
When to Use a Functional Resume
Functional resumes are ideal for people who do not have lots of work experience related to the job they are applying for. If you are switching careers, are new to the field, or have gaps in your employment, consider using a functional resume.
If you frequently change jobs, you might also consider a functional resume. This will help you avoid highlighting the fact that you have not stayed at one job for very long.
A functional resume isn't organized by position, so you'll need another organizational structure. Typically, functional resumes are organized by categories based on your skills or qualifications. Look at the job description for cues about what to emphasize here.
What to Include in a Functional Resume
A functional resume does not emphasize your chronological work history. Instead, it highlights your skills and abilities:
- Typically, your skills are organized by theme (for example, “Customer Service” and “Verbal Communication”).
- Under each theme, you provide specific examples of projects, tasks, and assignments you have completed that show you have those skills.
That being said, it is still a good idea to include a brief work history section in a functional resume.
Consider including a short, chronological work history section at the end of your resume.
If you have gaps in your employment or have frequently changed jobs, you can leave out your employment dates.
Functional Resume Example & Template
Read below for an example of a functional resume. This example includes a resume summary statement, which is a great way to quickly demonstrate your skills and abilities. It also includes a concise list of experience and a detailed list of skills.
While this resume includes a work history section (labeled “Employment History”), it provides only brief details about the jobs held. It also includes this information near the bottom of the resume, to avoid highlighting it.
Download the functional resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Functional Resume (Text Version)
John A. Doe
999 Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 99999
Experienced and versatile professional with strong urban planning as well as people, management, and research skills seeks a position in urban planning and environmental impact analysis with a major city or Fortune 500 company.
- Background managing direct transportation planning and programs
- Adept at managing urban planning programs and people
- Able to anticipate and project organizational change
- Background as administrator of office operations
EXPERIENCE AND SKILLS
- Skilled in Government Guidelines
- Quality Control
- Urban Planning
- Environmental Impact Mitigation and Research
- Urban Planning
- Site Evaluations
- Computer Software Tools
- Scientific and Business Grant Writing
Administrative: Lead coordinator for the daily processing of thousands of checks for payment and the mailing of confidential reports, meeting strict deadlines, and avoiding late fees.
Problem Solving: Designed a waste-management program involving Recycle Ann Arbor and a major book company, intended for the efficient handling of tons of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass, achieving net savings of $20,000 per building annually and reducing company disposal obligations.
Management: Oversaw operations of an expanding research lab, providing expertise, commitment, and quality control during a time of significant transition.
Senior Process Engineer, September 2018-Present
Zezee Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Process Engineer: Technical Support, September 2014-September 2018
Zezee Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Technical Professional, September 2012-September 2014
City of the Stars, Mich.
Master of Business Administration (2017); GPA 3.9
Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Okla. (Online Program)
Bachelor of Science (Emphasis: Ecosystem/Environmental Business) May 2014
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich.
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