Functional Resume Example

On Monday, I reviewed five reasons to avoid a functional resume structure.  Today, let’s look at a real example of a functional resume I received recently. 

The job seeker who sent me this resume worked for the federal government for more than twenty years and has worked for a couple big consulting firms for the last five years.  The titles listed in the employment history section include, Consultant, Program Manager, Senior Business Analyst and Team Leader.  These titles are commonly used, but are not very specific.  With the functional format, there is nothing in the resume that shows what the job seeker did in each job.

The content of the resume is grouped in four functional sections:

  • Leadership Skills
  • Performance Improvement
  • Communications
  • Project Management

In addition to the functional sections, the job seeker also has sections for education and employment history.

Under each functional section is a series of bullet points designed to demonstrate the job seeker’s skill and record of accomplishments.  The problem with this structure is the lack of context for any of the information.  There is no way to tell what the candidate’s role was.  For example, one of the bullets under leadership skills is:

Demonstrated excellent leadership skills by implementing a new strategic business  model which improved efficiency by over 90% which resulted in year on year savings of $15 million

Your first reaction might be to think this is a pretty good accomplishment.  Saving $15 million is usually a good accomplishment.  Unfortunately, there’s nothing that shows what the job seeker did.  He says he implemented a new business model.  There’s nothing about developing the business model or whether the savings achieved were in department he managed.  If anything, this looks like a slam dunk accomplishment anyone could do.  The job seeker was given new business processes and told to roll them out to his team.  The person that designed the business model and sold the organization’s leadership on adopting it is the person who really generated the savings. 

A bullet under Performance Improvement also provides some nice numbers but don’t show enough detail to know what happened:

Effectively Introduced and implemented benchmark standards to a national service for the public.  The outcome was an increase in customer satisfaction of over 85% within 3 months

Improving customer satisfaction by 85% is a great accomplishment.  There’s a lot we don’t know about this, though.  First, who were the customers? Second, what was the role of the job seeker?  Third, who developed the benchmarks?  Fourth, how many customers were involved in this service? 

These questions are important but the bottom line question is “what did the job seeker do that was exceptional?”  If all he did was rollout a set of standards to his team that were being adopt across the organization, it’s not much of an accomplishment.  From the resume, we can’t tell if he did this with a very small team of only a couple people or if he was directing a department with hundreds or thousands of people under his leadership. 

The key element that is missing from the resume is something to clearly show what the job seeker did.  Your resume should help a hiring manager picture you doing a job.  To do that, you need to describe very clearly what you did in the past.  This requires being specific about what you did and what the direct results of your actions were.