Search
Advice » Resumes & Letters» Resume Writing Tips » Breaking Tradition with a F ...
Breaking Tradition with a Functional Resume

Breaking Tradition with a Functional Resume

Traditions can be wonderful, but sometimes there are good reasons to break them. If you're a vegetarian, for example, serving the customary Thanksgiving turkey just won't work. And if football isn't your thing, you won't be glued to the TV on Super Bowl Sunday, no matter how many millions of other folks are. It's the same with resumes.

The vast majority of job seekers use the familiar chronological resume (which lists employment history in reverse order, beginning with the most recent experience), and with good reason. It's the tried-and-tested format most preferred by HR professionals and hiring managers nationwide. That's why it's the format used on Monster.com's Resume Builder.

But just like turkeys and touchdowns, the chronological resume isn't a perfect fit for everyone. It's up to you to decide if it's appropriate for your current professional situation and the circumstances surrounding your job search.

When to Consider a Functional Format

If you've held a number of different or unrelated jobs during a relatively short period of time and are worried about being labeled as a job-hopper, the functional resume (also known as a "skills-based format") could be the answer for you. This resume format can also work well for those entering the workforce for the first time or after a long absence (such as recent grads with no prior formal work experience, stay-at-home moms or dads now seeking outside employment, or caregivers who have spent a year or more treating an ill or aging family member). It could also be a good choice if your prior work experience is more relevant to your current job target than what you're doing presently.

Functional Resume How-Tos

Functional resumes rely on strategically grouping key skills into different categories to demonstrate a candidate's qualifications and expertise for a particular job. This skills-based focus allows you to emphasize your strengths and soft-pedal a flawed or absent employment record.

For example, if you're applying for an international sales management position, you might choose categories such as "Sales and Marketing Experience," "International Business/Foreign Language Fluency" and "Team Building and Leadership Expertise" for your headings, listing appropriate skills and accomplishments beneath each one.

The actual employment history section of a functional resume is typically brief with a simple list of positions held, company names and employment dates at the bottom of page one or on page two to de-emphasize their importance. Occasionally some of this information is even intentionally omitted altogether.

Proceed Cautiously

If a functional resume sounds like it could be a good fit for your situation, be aware there are a few drawbacks to this approach. Leaving off dates or titles can raise hiring managers' suspicions that you're trying to hide something, which, in all probability, you are. It can also be a little frustrating to readers who are trying to figure out where you performed a particular accomplishment, since these details are listed under skill categories instead of job titles.

The best strategy is to carefully evaluate your situation, weighing the pros and cons of this format. If the advantages of the functional design outweigh the drawbacks, go ahead, defy tradition. A new skills-based format could be just what your resume needs to present you in the best possible light.

Latest Jobs

USBA *
Posted: 11/24/2014
Palm Bay, FL, 32905
ITCSG, inc
Posted: 11/24/2014
Jacksonville, FL, 32202
ITCSG, inc
Posted: 11/24/2014
San Francisco, CA, 94102
The AMES Companies
Posted: 11/24/2014
Camp Hill, PA
The AMES Companies
Posted: 11/24/2014
Camp Hill, PA

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.11.0.15-216
eTrustLogo