Three Reasons to Use a Functional Resume for Your Job Application

Three Reasons to Use a Functional Resume for Your Job Application

Are you a job seeker looking to stand out from the crowd? Using a functional resume for your job application might just be the secret weapon you need! In this blog post, we’ll explore the top three reasons why a functional resume can give you the competitive edge in your job search.

Whether you’re changing careers, have gaps in your work history, or simply want to highlight your skills and accomplishments, a functional resume can showcase your qualifications in a clear and compelling way. So, if you’re ready to take your resume to the next level, keep reading to discover the three reasons to use a functional resume for your job application:

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Reason #1: You are Changing Careers

If you are changing career paths (for example, switching from accounting to teaching), using a functional resume can be highly beneficial. A functional resume focuses on your skills and abilities rather than your work experience, allowing you to highlight relevant transferable skills that are applicable to your new career.

In comparison, the more traditional, chronological resume style is best for candidates who have directly relevant experience as it relates to their career goal. For example, a market research professional who is targeting market research positions and who has at least several years of experience working as a market researcher.

However, in today’s fluctuating job market and economy, the traditional, one-size-fits-all chronological resume style is no longer a realistic option for many job seekers. In fact, a recent survey found that half of workers polled wanted to change career paths.

Even if you are making a major career change and you are lacking relevant work experience, highlighting transferable skills (i.e. skills like oral and written communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership) and achievements on your functional resume will allow you to showcase yourself as a highly qualified applicant!

Reason #2: You Have Employment Gaps

First off, I want to emphasize that it’s very common in today’s job market for candidates to have gaps on their resume. If you have a career gap due to taking time away from the paid workforce to care for kids or family members, or perhaps you were laid off, you are definitely not alone!

Most hiring managers and recruiters have likely also had an employment gap at some point in their career. As long as you market your relevant strengths and accomplishments and effectively communicate on your resume why you’re the best person for the job, you can turn your gap into a major positive!


A functional resume can be a useful format when you have an employment or career gap because it focuses on your skills and qualifications rather than emphasizing chronological work history (which will emphasize your gap). This type of resume highlights what you can do and what you’ve achieved versus where you have worked.

Remember that you can also address your career gap in your cover letter, explaining any relevant activities or skill development you pursued during that time. For example, have you volunteered, done contract work, or taken continuing education courses?

To see an example of how to write and structure your functional resume, check out Best Resume Example for a Career Change.

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Reason #3: You Have Job Hopped

A functional resume can be beneficial if you have a history of job hopping because it allows you to emphasize your skills and achievements rather than focusing on a chronological list of your past positions.

This will automatically draw attention away from your short and choppy work history and draw attention toward your relevant skills and what makes you shine as a potential employee.

Similar to addressing a career gap, you can address job hopping in your cover letter as well. Explaining why you have multiple, short-term jobs can help establish trust and transparency and ease any concerns for a hiring manager. For example, explaining that you were laid off or perhaps you left a position for a more challenging opportunity, will help fill in the blanks and alleviate reg flags.

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In Conclusion

Using a functional resume can be a highly effective strategy if you are facing a career transition, you’ve got employment gaps, or you have had frequent job changes. By shifting the focus from work history to relevant skills and accomplishments, this resume style will enable you to showcase your potential and align yourself more closely with your targeted role and field.

Using a Functional Resume for a Job Application FAQ

  • What are the benefits of using a functional resume for your job application?

    A functional resume style offers several advantages for job applicants. It allows you to highlight your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments at the forefront, rather than focusing on a chronological work history. This format is particularly useful if you have employment gaps, career changes, or limited relevant experience. By emphasizing your abilities, you can effectively showcase your suitability for the desired position and catch the attention of potential employers.

  • How does a functional resume differ from a chronological resume?

    A functional resume differs from a chronological resume in terms of its structure and focus. While a chronological resume highlights your work experience in reverse-chronological order, a functional resume emphasizes your skills, qualifications, and achievements. With a functional resume, you can group your experiences based on relevant skill sets or job functions, providing a concise and targeted overview of your capabilities. This format allows you to tailor your resume to the specific job requirements, making it a valuable tool for showcasing your suitability for the desired position.

  • Are there any considerations to keep in mind when using a functional resume for your job application?

    When using a functional resume, it is important to keep in mind a few considerations. Firstly, ensure that the functional resume format aligns with the guidelines provided by the employer or industry standards. Secondly, make sure to include a summary or introductory section that highlights your career objectives and provides a brief overview of your relevant skills. Additionally, optimize your resume for search engine result pages (SERP) and ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) by using appropriate keywords, structuring your content logically, and providing clear and concise information. By following these considerations, you can effectively leverage the functional resume style for your job application.

  • Should I include a work history section in my functional resume?

    I recommend always including your work history. If a hiring manager or recruiter doesn’t see a work history listed on your resume, it will raise a big red flag.

    It’s not necessary to include bullets with your work history on your functional resume. Instead, you can include your job title, company name, city, state, and dates of employment. If you want to de-emphasize job hopping or employment gaps, you can omit the months and just list years of employment.

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