Functional Resume

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10 Reasons To Use a Functional Resume

Writing a resume isn’t exactly the most exciting thing, especially when you haven’t done one in a while. Remembering the name of this job or that employer, what you did, when you did it, and where it was done, all while making it sound interesting can be a challenge.

If you’re trying to switch careers or you’re going through a period of temporary unemployment, updating your resume can seem like an overwhelming task. If this sounds familiar, you may want to consider writing a functional resume.

A functional resume template emphasizes the skills you possess rather than your job history. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include your past jobs and work experience on your resume. It just means that you should draw the recruiter’s focus to your skills.

The Benefits of a Functional Resume Template

A functional resume can be advantageous for many reasons, and below, we’ve listed the 10 benefits of using a functional resume template.

1. Helps Fill Employment Gaps

While there’s plenty of reasonable motives to sit out of work for a period, some recruiters might see employment gaps as a drawback. In a chronological resume, the candidate would list their work history and accomplishments in chronological order. However, this method simply wouldn’t work in your case.

Using a functional resume, on the other hand, can help draw an employer’s attention to the bigger picture—your skills, talents, abilities, etc.

2. Advantageous for Shifting Careers

People decide to shift their careers for many reasons. Maybe you aren’t satisfied with your current job, or maybe you want to pursue your true passion. Whatever the reason, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your resume.

Using a functional resume is an effective way to highlight any skills that you might be able to transfer to a new career.

By grouping your skills, showcasing your abilities, and presenting any other impressive accomplishments, you can clearly show recruiters that even though you’re new to this area, you possess enough knowledge and expertise and have what it takes to learn.

3. Clarifies Odd Work History

Maybe you wanted to be a glassblower but now hold a job at an accounting firm. Maybe you always wanted to work in a kitchen but volunteered in an animal shelter during high school.

Whatever odd jobs it may be, you want to make it known that you still have the skills, just not necessarily the knowledge.

By using a functional resume, you can effectively translate those somewhat odd work experiences into what a recruiter may be looking for in a future employee.

At this point, you’re made it clear that it doesn’t matter where you’ve worked, but rather, what you learned. In some cases, an employer may look at that and be impressed with your eagerness to look at something completely new.

4. Great for People Who are Temporarily Unemployed

If it’s been a few months, or even years, since you held a steady job, don’t be worried. Using a functional resume can help you still appear as a worthy candidate.

While you can still include your work history, consider listing your skills first. This will draw the recruiter’s attention to your abilities and tells them that even though you haven’t worked in a while, you’re still capable of being a good employee.

5. Advantageous for People Looking at Different Career Options

If you have a collection of transferable skills but you’ve never had a job that has allowed you to channel all those skills at once, writing a functional resume might be your best bet.

Start by listing your skills and accomplishments, where you learned them, and how you put them to use. Try to find a way where they can all relate to one another. This will show the recruiter that you have plenty of unique abilities to offer.

6. Appropriate for Applicants with Little Work History

If you’ve just graduated high school, or you just haven’t had many jobs in your lifetime, using a functional resume can be a big help. Try to reflect on past experiences and skills you gained from those experiences. Then, translate and list those in your resume.

Functional resumes give you the freedom to be a little more creative when explaining your work history, or in this case, the lack thereof.

Think of ways you can use the skills you obtained as a student—i.e., research, scheduling, organization, sharp-wittedness, etc.—and compellingly write them.

7. Advantageous for People with Gaps in Their Work History

Perhaps you’re a freelance writer, but you’re looking to obtain a full-time job. Writing a functional resume can help you list your skills and talents in a way that shows an employer that you still have what it takes to be a writer, even if you have a little less experience.

Compared to other resume templates, functional resumes are a great way to compile and organize your “experience” into one, solid story.

8. Helps Applicants with Non-Traditional Work Experience

Maybe you’d like to work in a bike shop, but you’ve never actually had a cycling-related job.

Instead of stressing out over the fact that you have no experience in this area, take the opportunity to explain that you’re an avid cyclist, why you love cycling, and why you think you might be good for the job.

Recruiters occasionally hire candidates that don’t necessarily have traditional work experience in a certain area. Rather, they might be impressed with a candidate’s passion for the role.

9. Focuses on Your Skills and Abilities

Functional resumes let you highlight what you have vs. what you have done. In some cases, this can be all it takes to receive recognition from an employer.

Especially today, employers are looking for a candidate who possesses talents and skills that could be beneficial to the company.

10. Advantageous for People Reentering the Workforce

Maybe you haven’t had a legitimate job for a while, or you were just taking a break from working. Functional resumes can be beneficial for people attempting to reenter the workforce.

Since you haven’t had a steady job in a while, using a functional resume can help draw attention to your skills. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that some recruiters might prefer a candidate who has a lot of work experience, so don’t be too disappointed if you’re not chosen.

Who Should Use a Functional Resume Template

In most cases, using a functional resume template isn’t encouraged. Only in specific cases (like the ones we’ve listed above) should you decide to go down that route.

Not all recruiters are alike, so while some will be satisfied with a functional resume, others might not think it provides enough information to hire you.

But don’t let that discourage you. There are some advantageous situations where you can still use a functional resume.

Helpful tip: If you plan on using a functional resume, try to set up a face-to-face interview, phone call, or write an email so you can explain your resume and allow the recruiter to connect the dots.

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