Friday, July 2, 2010

Functional Resumes

Most of us are only familiar with one type of resume, the chronological resume, which lists your work experience and other important work related information in chronological order, starting with your most recent work experience. The chronological resume is the most common, but it does not mean it’s necessarily the best.

Functional resumes are a popular alternative to chronological resumes, and rather than list your work experience in chronological order, functional resumes groups categorically your work experience and skills.
So why would somebody want to group their work experience categorically instead of chronologically ? Well there are a number of reasons, but the main reason is that people will take many tangents in their career paths. Many people know , or maybe you are, an individual that has worked in a variety of countries and preformed a variety of jobs.

Imagine a young graduate who has backed packed across Asia or Europe for a few years and have picked up a variety of jobs on the way , such as an English teacher, ski instructor, farm labor...etc. You start to understand why a chronological resume would not make sense for these types of individuals. Their resume will lack focus and make it hard for employers to zero in on the work experience and skills that are relevant for the job.

The Functional resume would group together and present work experience that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a teaching job, it would make sense to group together your teaching experience and omit the year you spent in Greece making olive oil.  The Functional resume does a good job at hiding gaps within your resume and/or that you have job hopped in the past few years.

Many workers are currently unable to find work in the field of their choice, and are forced to work at a job that is unrelated to the industry they want to work in, in order to pay the bills. It would not make sense to mention this tangent on your resume and have to explain why you are in your current situation. Don’t give a reason for employers to think negative thoughts about you, such as “ was he forced to work at his current job because he was not good enough to find work in the industry ?”.    

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