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A functional resume organizes your work experience by the functions you performed regardless of date. The functional resume highlights your skills and potential instead of your work history. It allows you to play down gaps in your experience and is especially good for those people entering the job market for the first time. If you are reentering the job market, for example, after raising children, this type of resume also allows you to list volunteer experience and community or school activities.

List your functional paragraphs in their order of importance, with the items listed first that will help you get the particular job you are targeting. Refer to the Twelve-step resume writing process for ideas on how to rearrange your resume sentences to better capture your reader's attention.

You should know that there are very rare times when I would recommend a purely functional resume however. In the 1980s, true functional resumes developed a bad reputation because applicants were not listing where they gained their experience. It made recruiters suspicious that the applicant was trying to hide something, and they normally were. A combination functional/chronological resume will avoid this problem. Always list a brief synopsis of your actual work experience at the bottom of your functional resume with your title, employer, and the dates worked.

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From Designing the Perfect Resume, by Pat Criscito. Copyright 2000. 
Reprinted by arrangement with Barron's Educational Series, Inc.


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