Should You Have a Functional Resume?

Traditionally, resumes are made up of lists of jobs in chronological order. You start with the most recent job on the top and you work your way backward, showing exactly how your career has evolved. Sometimes, you don’t even think twice about creating your resume and use this format because it’s the only format you know. While this can make sense for people whose careers have followed a normal progression, chronological resumes are not always the best approach for every job seeker.

There is an alternative – a functional resume or a skills-based resume. A functional resume doesn’t focus so much on where you have worked but instead is focused on what you have done. The resume is ordered around the skills and abilities you have, so you can showcase the experience you have that makes you a valuable candidate.  When is a functional resume the best choice for you?

You do contract work with lots of different employers.

If you have a lot of different employers, listing them all may not be the best option as it can become too difficult for a hiring manager to look through and make sense of your projects. Instead, focus on what you do with each employer and organize your resume based on your skills. Talking about a programming language and showing the projects you worked on (as well as the results) paints a picture of your experience in that area.

You’ve worked with only one or two employers your whole career.

Listing just one job on your resume could make it hard for you to show the depth and breadth of your experience. You’ve likely acquired many skills even though you have only worked for one employer, so you should take the opportunity to create a functional resume that fully shows off all those many skills. Your resume may still be mainly chronological in terms of when you acquired the skills at different points in your career, but think about your entire career and show how you’ve become more proficient at database management with different project scopes and responsibilities.

You have a short employment history.

Having too few employers can also be a problem with a conventional resume. A long list under a job that you’ve only held for 12 months won’t have a great impact. Look at different hard skills as well as soft skills (leadership, communication). Think about how you succeeded and developed in each area to make an impact with the hiring manager reading your resume for the first time.

Putting all of your projects under a skills-based headline can be a great way to highlight your toolbox of information technology skills. Consider preparing a functional resume and determine if the resume format better demonstrates your abilities as a candidate.

Once you have a great resume, you want employers to see it.  Technology Partners can help you to get your resume noticed at some of the top tech employers in the industry. Give our staffing firm a call 877-636-1331 or contact us online to find out how we can assist you in taking the next step in your information technology career.


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