If you’ve read any advice recently on building a resume you’ve probably heard of functional resumes. If not, we’ve got you covered. 

What is a functional resume?

A functional resume emphasizes skills and job functions as the primary organization method.

Most people use a standard chronological resume that sorts by jobs.  This starts with the most recent job first, listing all your duties for that job, then moving on to the next job.

A functional resume, by contrast, lists all experience by job duty. For example, let’s say you are a project manager who also managed a budget.  You would list all experience related to “Project Management”.  Then, below that, you would list all experience related to “Financial Management”. 

Why use a functional resume?

The most simple answer is that it is easy for hiring managers to read.  Make a hiring manager’s job easier and increase your chance of getting an interview.

When you choose a functional resume you organize the job duties to match the job you are applying for.  Are they looking for an office manager who also does bookkeeping? List your experience related to these two items. 

Your resume isn’t actually about you. It is a sales pitch to solve the problem of the business.

If they need an event planner, be sure your resume shows all the experience you have in event planning. 

It helps you get to the point

A functional resume skips the extraneous information about past jobs that aren’t related to the job you are applying for.

Some people think the more duties they show, the more hirable they are. But this actually creates a lot of clutter for the hiring manager to sift through. If it is too much work, your resume will end up in the trash!

Instead, focus on the job keywords and showcase your experience for only those responsibilities. 

Tips to Get to the Point

  • Choose 3-5 keywords to highlight. 
  • Make your first keyword phrase the primary job function. 
  • Your functional resume should never be more than 1 page long.

It helps you sell yourself

Once you know what you are going to talk about in your resume, you need to sell yourself as the best candidate. 

It isn’t enough that you had the job. You want to prove how great you were in past jobs, and ultimately, how you will be an asset to the organization you’re apply for. Everything in your resume needs to answer the question, “How will you make our company better?”

It doesn’t take a magic eight ball to determine how to answer that question. Include these elements into your resume for a well rounded answer to this question:

  • Use well placed jargon
  • Share how you saved time or money
  • Show your commitment to your work

Show off how smart you are

Just because you were in a job with the title “Project manager” doesn’t actually prove you know anything. For all the hiring manager knows, you may have the job by accident or through nepotism, without any real understanding of what it entails.

There is an easy way to show you know what you are taking about, and that is through well placed jargon. Jargon is a term that refers to the words specific to your job or industry.  Someone who is not involved in that job wouldn’t necessarily know. 

  1. Think about the words you use everyday that you might need to explain to your friends or family who are not involved with the work that you do. This might include words like “quality assurance” or “acquisition process”. 
  2. Be sure to use phrases that make sense to your work.  A hiring manager needs to be able to recognize they are related to your job.  Also, unless you are applying for a highly technical job (i.e., you have a PhD in aerospace technology) avoid specific technology or acronyms.

Show how you made or saved money and time.

Your job has a function within the organization. Not all jobs are direct producers for the bottom line, such as sales.  Still, you should be able to make a correlation between your efforts and advancing company goals.  This might be in the form of saving time or money, or advancing the mission.

If you didn’t save time or money you are probably a lawyer.

Demonstrate the time or money you saved/made using numbers. Be specific and quantify as much as possible. 

Show your commitment to your work

A hiring manager doesn’t want to invest in someone who might leave the job soon. How do you indicate you are committed to your job? 
The best way is to simply show how integrated you are in your career. You can do this by including any of the following:

  • Certifications you have earned
  • Public speaking presentations or workshops you’ve given
  • Awards you’ve received
  • Classes or workshops you’ve attended
  • Volunteer or pro bono work you’ve done that is related to your career but above and beyond your job
  • Providing a meaningful contribution to your field

A Functional Resume is Easy to Create

With a functional resume you want to always tailor it to the job – so make it even easier to create by using a Master Resume tool.

Master Resume

Download the Master Resume Template and quickly create functional resumes.

Photo Credit: Joanna Kosinska from Unsplash

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Posted by Amanda Parsons

Amanda has always had an appreciation for writing instructions that are easy to follow. When not curled up with her laptop trying to figure out why Word on the Mac is so weird, she can be found kayaking in the Pacific Northwest.

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