Never heard of a functional resume? Don’t know if you need one?
There’s a good reason why you may have never heard of this format.
A functional resume is a basic resume format. It INTENTIONALLY hides things employment dates and employers.
Advantages Versus Disadvantages
There are advantages and disadvantages to using a functional resume.
- Helps hide/overshadow employment gaps
- Gives you the ability to (de) emphasize certain skills, regardless of when you acquired them
- Most often the resume is shorter; typically one page in length
- Hiring managers dislike the functional resume. In fact, it’s the most hated resume layout. For this reason, resume writers have almost unanimously abandoned the use of functional resume formats.
- Hides employment gaps, but also, can draw attention to them too
- Fails to show any career progression
Despite the disadvantages, functional resumes can be good too. There are times when career blemishes warrant this type of resume format.
For example, individuals on the “fringe” of employment use this much-disliked resume format, including:
- High school or college grads without job experience
- Individuals entering the workforce for the first time
- Return-to-work homemakers with limited or no work history
- Individuals with long stints of unemployment
- Recent parolees
- Individuals with haphazard work histories
- Extreme career changers
Skills & Potential Versus Work History & Achievements
What can you expect a functional resume to look like?
A functional resume has distinct characteristics:
- First, the content is generally very skills and ability focused. There isn’t an in-depth career to tap for achievements and other value-rich skills.
- Second, the visual look of a functional resume is different. You likely won’t see employers and employment dates in a functional resume. (Note: I bet you’re starting to see why hiring managers don’t like these much, right?)
- Third, the resume page length is most often (not always) one page. Once you examine the below examples, you’ll understand why a one-page resume will be plenty.
At this point, you might be wondering if a functional resume uses different headers.
Actually, they do … sometimes.
In fact, you’ll notice in one of the below resume examples that one of the headers is “Scope of Nursing Capabilities.”
The word “capabilities” is used because this student doesn’t have a lot of hands-on nursing experience.
Other skills headers for a functional resume might include:
- Academic/Transferrable Skills
- Volunteer Experience
- School Projects
- Ad-Hoc Projects
- Non-Profit/Fundraising Causes
Potential Action Verbs
How to Write
At this point, you’re probably wondering how to write a functional resume.
What should you begin?
Start with the basics.
Decide whether you’ll include your most recent work history.
If you decide not to, proceed to list your most relevant skills.
Remember, you’ll want to focus on what’s important and what’s relevant.
You don’t need to list everything.
For now, focus on:
- Ideal Resume Outline (most important at the top, least important at the bottom)
- Your Career Objective
- Your Existing Skills
Hone in on the job tasks you’ve performed that are most relevant to your ideal job.
Here are 2 examples of functional resumes:
Example #1 — Typical Functional Resume
JOHN A. DOE
123 Street Name, City, State Zip
Phone | Email | LinkedIn Profile
MARKETING – ADVERTISING, DESIGN & PLANNING PROFESSIONAL
Media Exposure / Event Planning / Marketing Material Design & Layout
Skilled marketing professional wishes to re-enter into a job utilizing numerous years of market analysis, product/service positioning, and business development experience. Recognized for identifying new money streams and increasing a client base with direct mailing campaigns.
Business Development · Campaign Management · Market Analysis / Positioning
Direct Mail Marketing · Strategic Advertising · Public Relations
Charity Coordination · Event Logistics · Trade Show Organization
• Experienced in event planning such as coordinating charity tournaments, financial seminars, annual meetings, charitable fundraisers, and trade shows
• Solicited volunteers to participate within a tournament committee. Increased donations by ~200% after implementing a reverse auction campaign that generated $200,000 in charity proceeds
• Developed an RRSP marketing campaign generating additional revenues of $8,000 per campaign
• Redesigned company solicitation practices. Coordinated and facilitated an in-house fundraiser for needy families. Raised $4,500 within a 50-member firm, averaging $40 – $90 per donator
PROFESSIONAL SKILLS & ABILITIES
• Selected to coordinate and network with prominent non-profit organizations
• Worked with committee members ensuring event coordination, marketing material layout, and design, and advertising expectations and solicitation goals are met
• Assisted marketing coordinator with administrative, charity logistics, and collaborative functions relating to events
B.S., Business Administration, 2001 (Emphasis: Marketing)
University of Englewood, Englewood, OH
A.A.S., Marketing Management, 1997
Dayton University, Dayton, OH
Take notice that the above resume example includes NO employment dates and employer names.
Although this exclusion doesn’t always result in a functional resume. We’ve seen many so-called functional formats that INCLUDED these things. In fact, our next two examples briefly mention employers and dates.
Example #2 — Functional Resume for a Student Nurse
JANET L. ANDREWS
128 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401
(910) 399-1709 | [email protected]
Licensed Practical Nursing Professional Who is Focused on Jobs Assisting Geriatric Patients with Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation, Medical-Surgical and Cardiac Care
Hold the academic credentials and hands-on experience required to excel in a medical facility where applying knowledge, critical thinking, and medical care are mandatory to life sustainability and healthcare.
Primary roles have encompassed being a nursing student and aide at various medical facilities; served preceptorship at Friends Healthcare Facility. Supported medical units and networked with general practitioners, specialists, x-ray technicians and surgeons, and members from internal and external medical departments/services. Forged strong relations with on- and off-site members of social services and medical organizations, as part of the OTJ training process, aiding the medical team with ensuring that the immediate and long-term psychological and medical needs of patients were met and worked with lab results. Knowledge of pharmacology enhanced critical thinking in assessments, following diagnosis, and post-op/rehab processes by recognizing adverse effects/potential risks. Participated heavily in learning every aspect of routine to critical care by shadowing experienced medical staff [shift supervisors, staff nurses] on the oversight of patient care, reporting changes in medical condition, discharge planning, and overall administration/medical documentation functions.
“Compassionate, Caring, and Quality Medical Professional with Entry-Level Experience.”
□ Records Management — Maintained patient records with emphasis on accurate information collection, documentation, and records management/tracking — addressed on-going departmental and patient concerns by networking with fellow nurses, doctors, and medical support staff.
□ Patient/Family Advocacy — Under peer supervision and guidance, consulted between patients and immediate/extended family members to discuss patient rights, courses of action for treatment prescribed by physicians, and overall care to offer some comfort to those with limited treatment options as needed.
□Confidentiality & Communication Methods — Skilled at various communication methods for patient contact including electronic, face-to-face and written methods of conveying medical information. Adhere to strict patient privacy guidelines, handling sensitive documents and management discussions with strict confidence.
□ Policy Compliance — Adhered to the policies and procedures at small to larger sized medical facilities and hospitals, ensuring 100% compliance with health/safety, staff performance, time management, and nurse care procedures. Improved satisfaction levels and raised patient care levels whenever possible.
□ Patient Care — Chest, NG, Nephrostomy, Gastro Tubes, Cast Care, Pin Care, Traction Care, Tracheotomy Care, Renal I&O Catherization, Pediatric and Geriatric Basic Care, Administering Medication, Computer Charting, Catheters for Urinary, Vital Signs, Head-To-Toe Assessments, Injections, Enemas, Change-of-Shift Reports, Assist in Feeding and Dressing, Personal Hygiene, Instructed Clients with Safety Precautions, and IV Certification for LPN
Preceptorships & On-The-Job Training Has Included:
Long-Term Care at Forest Glenn and Heartland Healthcare Facilities; Med-Surgical Support at Springfield Regional Hospital; Pediatrics at Springfield Regional Hospital, Rocking Horse, Lawnview Child & Family Center, OH Valley Medical-Surgical Facility, and Friends Healthcare Facility
Customer Service Rep ▪ Assurant, Springfield, OH ▪ 2010 – present
EDUCATION & ADVANCED TRAINING
Certified, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), 2018
Ohio State Community College, Columbus, OH
Licensed with Ohio State Board of Nursing
Basic Life Support (BLS)
Training — Nurse Practice Act, Adverse Drug Events (ADE), Aging Immune Systems Make Older Adults More Vulnerable to Attack
With this example, notice how the content is written. Words like “capabilities” are being used.
By using this writing technique, job-relevant requirements can be introduced … without misleading the reader.
Fooling No One
This format helps “hide” and “overshadow” career flaws, yet it also draws attention too.
For example, a functional resume provokes readers to ask, “What’s this candidate hiding?”
… a person can attempt to offset these types of flaws, but can never “hide them” completely.
Should You Use a Functional Resume?
About 95% of the time, no one should use a functional resume.
You might think that the employment gap in your work history is a good reason for using one.
But, there are times when this type of format creates problems.
Would you like a few additional examples and resources?
If yes, check these out: