Adding “Function” To Make Your Ordinary Resume Extraordinary
By: Pamela M. Golubski, PhD
At some point we have all probably written a chronological resume. This type of resume lists information using a time line approach. Information is listed using the standard headings of objective, education, work experience, honors, and organizations. For new college graduates, individuals with limited work experience, or those who have held the same position for 10+ years, a chronological resume may suffice.
However, if you are a highly skilled and a seasoned professional, then your resume needs to highlight your assets to increase your chances of climbing the corporate ladder or advance into a new position. If you fall into the above category then it is time to switch to a functional formatted resume. Although, a functional resume is more time consuming and complex to write, it should garner you more job leads and interviews.
The first step in creating a functional resume is to opt out of using a pre-designed template. Your resume should be as unique as you, so why accept promoting yourself using a generic standard.
Secondly, ditch that boring and insignificant job objective all together or exchange it for a key accomplishments, professional profile, or career summary. This overview should be no more than three or four sentences in lengthen. Think of it as a trailer (preview) to encourage the reviewer to want to read the remainder of the document.
Next, a functional resume is written to ensure that the focus is on your acquired skills and abilities, usually called related skills summary or professional skill overview. This section provides a comprehensive picture of your experience in relation to all your career positions. Arrange your headings as skill sets, such as management, human resources, leadership, marketing, technology, research, customer relations, communication, etc.
In this section be creative in highlighting your most impressive skills sets, as there is no limit. Though the basic rule is a business resume should not exceed two pages, but other disciplines are more generous in size. Make sure that under each category you provide an action oriented bullet list of descriptions that demonstrate, assert, and convince an employer that you possess advanced knowledge in these areas. This section should contain the bulk of the information that is being presented to an employer.
After the related skills section, create a header entitled professional experience, work history, or employment summary. In this section list (starting with the most recent first) only the company name, state and city, your job title, and start and dates of employment.
Educational accomplishment should be listed next, unless you have earned a degree or certification in the last three years then this section could follow your professional summary. The reason why education is further down on the resume is because in recruiting for most advanced-level positions, related skills sets are often more essential to the hiring process because many employers assume if you are applying for a position you meet or exceed the minimum educational level requirement. College GPAs are not needed on a functional resume, so no need to worry about listing that 2.43 you earned on your undergraduate degree, it is no longer important. Skills and related experience will now supersede any average GPA you once earned.
In the last section(s) of your functional resume, highlight your volunteer and community service experience, professional affiliations or activities, honors, and awards.
Finally, never list names and contact information of your references. That information should be presented in an entirely different document. Remember the objective of a resume is to generate an interview for you to sell yourself in person for that position. It should be written and viewed as a one-of-a-kind self-promotional marketing piece.
Pamela M. Golubski, PhD – Director of Training and Development – iCarnegie (Powered by Carnegie Mellon University)