of books tell you that you should concentrate on functional skills in
your resume, and that is true – these certainly need to be highlighted.
the classic functional resume that doesn’t tie these to the job and
setting leaves the reader in outer space.
But, you counter, isn’t the idea to leave your reader wanting to know
more and give you a call?
after reading your functional resume, why should he? Why is
functional format, with accomplishments presented out of context, so
Here are some typical tidbits from a functional resume, followed by an
explanation of why they confuse the employer:
Maintained full profit and loss responsibility,
increasing profits by 27% in a two-year period.
happed in the other years? What was the industry, and what
its average profit increase during that period? What were the
profits running when you started?)
Led sale of business to private equity firm
that enabled ownership to realize a multiplier of 9.4 times EBITDA.
was the return on investment? What was EBITDA compared to the
company sales and assets? What market were you in?
this sale compare to others in your industry? 9.4 times
an above average multiplier for private equity investments, and
wonderful if this is a $110-million company in an old guard, declining
manufacturing industry, but a multiplier of 9.4 is a fire-sale price if
this is a 2-year-old company occupying a fast-growing biotech niche
with net sales of $17-million, EBITDA of $375,000, and assets of
Implemented lean principles program in my
department that increased
throughput by 28% while decreasing manpower by 11%.
capital spending go up? Did production get moved to China
anyway? What happened to productivity during that
your functional resume] period throughout the lobster trap
context in which you achieved
something is crucial. An increase in market share of 7% for a
Procter & Gamble brand manager is fantastic, because she
with a product that already had placement in every retailer in the
country, and that already had a 39% market share. However,
young business marketing a breakthrough product, a 7% market share gain
would be abysmal. Ask
the Headhunter recommends building a resume that
highlights your work skills and doesn’t include any of the job titles
or company names or years of service. He’s right on one
point. Highlighting your work skills and what you can do for
employer is crucial. However, despite what Ask the Headhunter
says, the names of your employers and dates worked are critical.
who started their career with Procter & Gamble had a different
upbringing from the person who started with General Electric, and both
certainly had a different experience from someone who started at
Turnipheads Software Company. If what happened 25 years ago was
unimportant, why is your college degree listed on your resume at
all? In part, it’s because someone with a Duke degree
has more grey matter than does a graduate of Northeast Nowhere State,
and the Duke grad learned under driven professors whose work ethic was
probably passed on to the students. For the same reason, your
early jobs and employers are important.
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dates. Employers do want to know whether you’re
around long enough to pay for their investment in training you, and
also whether you were in your past positions long enough to experience
the long-term results of your actions.
generally come from job hoppers, people with checkered job histories
(lots of demotions, lateral moves and firings), and career
two types are using the functional resume
cover things up. The last one is trying to portray himself as
something he isn’t.
for the career changer: You
don’t have to portray yourself as something you’re not (you’re not
going to fool anyone, anyway). If you are, for example, a
consumer products marketing executive trying to move into the nonprofit
world, I would still recommend that you use a resume similar to the
Harcourt Potter format (click
here to see the Harcourt Potter
resume). Make a few changes to the summary to make
industry-specific, and change the titles of the functional areas to
make them applicable to your new industry.
functional skills with your jobs. You’re not
going to trick
reader into thinking you have nonprofit experience with a functional
resume. If the nonprofit wants a nonprofit background, there
nothing you’re going to be able to do about this. The
will hire you because they’re looking for someone who will bring them
something that people with nonprofit experience don’t have – perhaps a
more businesslike approach, more concentration on a balanced budget,
better marketing, better ways of bringing in money (yes, all nonprofits
have budgets and need money and cash flow to exist, just like
for-profit businesses). Modify the names of the functional
paragraphs to make them read like they are in the language of the
Stick to the traditional resume – don’t resort to trickery.
You won’t fool anyone.