Life doesn't always go exactly as expected, so creating a resume might be at the top of your "to do" list. If you're embarking on a new career path, have gaps in your employment history or lack previous work experience, a functional resume might suit your needs better than a traditional chronological resume. A functional resume focuses on skill sets that are most relevant to the job and doesn't require detailed information about work experiences.
Communication and Interpersonal Skills
Whether it's over the phone, through the Internet or face-to-face, most jobs require communication and interpersonal skills. Even if the job requires some solitary work, you'll likely interact with supervisors, managers or editors to evaluate job demands. On your functional resume, discuss communication strengths and interpersonal skills such as -- being a good listener, encouraging feedback, expressing a positive outlook, greeting others with a polite and friendly tone or promoting a team-centered work environment. You want a potential employer to view you as a personable job candidate who's prepared to interact with coworkers, clients and work associates.
Even if you don't have previous work experience that directly relates to the job opening, discuss leadership roles you've held. If you volunteered at a nonprofit organization or joined a club or association, discuss your involvement with the group. Use phrases that start with action verbs to detail your leadership skills such as -- "organized fundraisers," "sponsored food drives," "coached baseball," "supervised soup kitchens," "directed parent-teacher meetings" or "taught cooking classes." If you held specific leadership titles such as "President," "Secretary," or "Director," include those titles and job responsibilities in your leadership section. If you were in charge of something, list it.
Since most jobs include some administrative responsibilities, list skill sets that enabled you to complete tasks quickly and effectively. Once again, starting your skills with action verbs demonstrates your proactive work style. Describe your administrative abilities with phrases such as -- "created financial reports," "designed brochures and banners for events," "organized meeting notes" or "participated in telephone fundraising campaigns." A potential employer might be just as impressed with your volunteer administrative duties as he would be with a paid position with similar demands.
Computer or Specialized Skills
Computer skills showcase your technical abilities and assure a hiring manager that you've kept up with technological advancements. List computer software programs and operating systems that you're comfortable using such as -- Microsoft Word, Power Point, Excel, Visual Basic, Java, Adobe Photoshop, Picasa and QuickBooks. If you have specialized skills such as speaking a foreign language or communicating in sign language, list those abilities on your functional resume. Participation in community plays, local concerts or symphonies shows your creativity and interest in the arts, so don't hesitate to list those special skills too.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.