During a recent resume lecture, I was trying to explain the concept of a functional resume. The students all grasped the chronological resume fairly well (good examples are everywhere), but the idea of not presenting your work history prominently on the functional resume was getting me some strange looks from the group. So I rummaged around on some of the websites of friends, strangers, and business acquaintances to find several examples to discuss and share.
The functional resumes I reference below (click on the images to open the resumes) are merely public examples from these professional resume-writing sites. They are trying to show some of their talents, not just demonstrate what a functional resume looks like, so I’ll ask you to ignore the other resume details and just focus on the “meat” of the chronological elements.
The first functional resume example is from Susan Whitcomb’s site. I want you to look at the structure of the resume on the right side of the page. Note how the talents and skills are highlighted with the focus on Business Development and Promotions. These sections tell the story of sales, of successes, of key clients, and of supplemental skills. Toward the end of the resume the work history is listed very briefly. Notice how all the “meat” of the resume is presented OUTSIDE the constraint of a specific job or company. This is a classic functional resume (except that the contact info is along the left edge…a bit “edgy” for my taste).
Darrell DiZoglio’s site has a sample resume that gives a different view of a functional resume. This resume is based in the construction industry and is an example of how a consultant or project-oriented person, with a LOT of jobs, can still build a good story. Notice that the accomplishments are in reverse chronological order and are even sometimes associated with a particular job — this gives the reader context and a time-line without giving too much history. Consider how cumbersome a chronological resume might have been with this person’s scattered and overlapping work history. You’ll need to get past the “first person” writing style (which I don’t recommend), but otherwise this is another good example of a functional resume.
Peter Newfield has a sample resume on his site that is really a “Combo” or “Hybrid” resume…a mix between a Chronological and a Functional. Ignore the fact that it’s a little long, just focus on how the work performed at the specific companies has been minimized but not eliminated. The person’s “story” consumes the entire first page and the job history on page 2 only has a few bullets under each job listing. This format down-plays all but the key tasks/roles at the individual companies while trying to present a cohesive image of a senior executive. Note that many recruiters don’t like pure functional resumes, but they will usually accept hybrids.
One more functional example I’d like to share with you comes from the Resume-Resource website (a site that has a wide variety of online resume aides). This is a functional resume that is stressing the job seeker’s talents while down-playing the career dates. Notice that the jobs on this resume are entirely devoid of dates (but it seems odd they used dates on the education — oh well). This format is really good for part-time workers, or someone struggling with large/numerous job gaps that need to be de-emphasized, or a career changer that doesn’t want to expand on certain prior roles or jobs.
For those of you that have read my prior posts on Chronological and Functional resumes, let me reemphasize that everyone should develop a strong chronological resume first and then develop the functional resume. It makes creating the functional resume easier and you will find there will be many needs for your chronological resume down the line, so don’t skip that step.
(No, I’m not endorsing the sites above. I’m merely using them as convenient online examples for this post.)
Bottom Line: When building a functional resume, you need to decide whether to use a classic functional or a hybrid resume. Build up the skills and talent section and play-down the history section. When crafting your own functional resume, look around for solid examples. While there are many talented professional resume writers that have mastered the chronological resume, not all are masters of the functional resume, so shop carefully. And remember to build your chronological resume first.
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