© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Amazing Resume Creator"
The functional resume is a format of resume which lists the candidate's skills and functions in a separate section from the job history. The purpose of the functional resume is to convince hiring managers that a candidate is qualified for a position even if their experience is significantly out of the normal for that position. If someone is applying for a position which is directly a continuation of their current job, or has built up a long and stable work history in the field of the position that they are applying for, then they aren't going to use the functional resume format. Instead, they will use the chronological format, which lists the job history of the candidate in reverse chronological order.
A functional resume that works does so because it speaks to the underlying need of the target hiring manager. A chronological resume says, in essence: "You say that you are looking for someone with five years experience in this job, and I've got five." By contrast, the functional resume says, in essence, "You may think that you are looking for someone with five years experience doing a specific job. But what you are really looking for is someone who is capable of doing these things for you, and solving these particular problems. I have that experience and have significant accomplishments solving those particular problems. I'll do a great job for you and it shouldn't really matter exactly how I got that experience, should it?"
Functional Resumes that Work
For the functional resume to have any chance of success, the candidate must have an accurate and thorough grasp of what the target company needs the candidate to be able to do. Specifically, the candidate needs to know that problems that must be solved, the environment that the problems must be solved in and the results that the company uses to determine whether the employee is successful or not. Finding these things out may require considerable research both online, in publications and through conversations and informational interviews with people who are familiar with that target company. Once the candidate has these pieces of information, then his or her task is to find ways to use his or her experiences and accomplishments as proof that he or she can solve the target employer's needs.
It's not enough for a functional resume to simply apply a lot of adjectives and characteristics to the candidates either. Nobody is going to believe a resume which merely says a lot of good things about the candidate. The functional resume must give proof of those characteristics by using results that the candidate has achieved throughout his or her career both in and out of the workplace. Accomplishments from school, hobbies, charity work are all legitimate sources of experience if it relates to the problems that the target needs solved. These results should be grouped under categories in the skills section, like "Leadership," "Sales," "Research" and whatever other categories the candidates research has determined to be the most relevant and important categories.
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