Functional Resume – Writing a Resume for a Career Change

Looking to move up or move out? Tired of the same old routine? Looking for a change?

Then a functional resume format could be your ticket to a new career.

You’ve spent the last 10-years as an elementary teacher, but have found your passion in sales. You’ve taken night classes on sales & marketing and have even dabbled in direct marketing during the summer months with a surprising degree of success. Best of all your success has not gone unnoticed and the CEO of XYZ Incorporated has offered to hire you as a sales manager for a new territory.

The problem is you’re scheduled for an interview and you want your resume to accurately reflect your skills & qualifications. If you follow tradition or use the most popular resume format then you’d be writing your resume in a chronological fashion. However, this type of resume would only highlight your teaching experience and career progression, which isn’t what you want. You want the employer to focus on your skills & qualifications that relate directly to the sales manager position. This is exactly what the functional resume is designed to do.

What is a functional resume?

The functional resume groups your qualifications and experience around skills rather than job titles as in the chronological format. Instead of listing your employment history in sequential order the functional resume categorizes your skills by function allowing you to emphasize your abilities. You can tie a variety of job experiences to the ones needed for a particular job by arranging your qualifications around skills.

The key to writing an effective functional resume is to identify three or four skills that are required for the job. These skills will be used as headings in which you can identify three to five specific examples to demonstrate that ability. Arrange the headings in order of importance. Examples of skill sets relevant to a sales career may include: customer service, management, sales, planning, etc. Do a search for free functional resume samples and use them as guides in stimulating your creativity. Functional resume samples make excellent guides when writing your own resume.

Many employers still frown upon the functional resume format, as the perception is it is too easy to cover up employment gaps (explain them in your cover letter). However, this trend is changing as job seekers learn to write effective resumes that accurately link their skills to the employer’s needs. The key for job seekers is to place a short work history in reverse chronological order at the end of their resume. Include only employment dates, titles, and company names.

You don’t have to be stuck in the same old career. Review your current skill set, see what other careers have similar functions, then create a functional resume around those skill sets and start your new career!