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What Is the Definition of a Functional Resume?


    • The functional resume can camouflage an unstable or interrupted career caused by gaps between jobs, spouse relocation, limited paid experience and job hopping. It can be used for individuals who have the qualifications, but little or no related experience for the position. The functional format should not be associated only with fixing employment problems. It is also a good fit for senior citizens, ex-military personnel and over-qualified individuals looking for less responsibility.


    • Functional resumes are less structured than chronological resumes. Because the functional format focuses so strongly on skills rather than work history, it is important to have a clearly state employment objective. Weave this objective into the professional summary, which appears directly below the letterhead. Identify three to five major skill areas related to this objective and include them directly below the performance summary. On the second page of the resume, include education, a brief employment section, professional associations, interests and other pertinent information.

    Skill Areas

    • Select occupational areas---event planning, customer service, marketing, office management or project coordination---for the headings of your skill areas. Steer away from using personal skills---analytical skills, communication skills or problem solving skills---as headings. Don't overlap meanings when selecting the names for your skill areas. Focus on the skills you have developed over the years rather than when, where or how you acquired them. List the headings in order of importance and follow each heading with a series of competencies.


    • Each skill area should contain three to five competencies. In addition to using appropriate keywords, communicate the importance of what you have done by using details: numbers, names and achievements. Since these points are removed from specific jobs, add some generic information describing the setting or the population. In his book, "Gallery of Best Resumes," David F. Noble provides the following example: "Developed and implemented start-up plans for the operation of a call center with 500 employees."


    • Employers are more accustomed to the reverse chronological format and may question the competence of applicants who depart from this norm. They may assume that you are trying to hide a poor work history or less than satisfactory credentials. Avoid the functional format if you are applying for a position in a traditional field (law, medicine, accounting) or working with an executive recruiter.

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