Ellie Williams reports:
"A functional summary on your resume highlights your skills and achievements, allowing you to more thoroughly describe your qualifications than if you list only your work history. In this summary, you can elaborate on specific projects you've led and results you've produced at your previous jobs. If your employment history has gaps or other problems, you can use a functional summary to fill in the holes and illustrate why you're as qualified for the position as someone with more experience...To create your functional summary -- a brief section at the top of the resume -- identify what skills are required for the jobs you're applying for. Once you've identified the three or four most relevant, describe your accomplishments in those areas...Following the functional summary, include an abbreviated work history that includes job titles, names of employers and dates of employment, but that includes only minimal or no description of your job duties...By summarizing your achievements at the top of your resume, you can shift an employer's attention from your work history to your skills. Unlike the traditional chronological resume, which lists your entire work history, a functional summary devotes much less space to describing the jobs you've held. If your previous jobs don't demonstrate how you're qualified for the job you're applying for, you can use a functional summary to showcase skills and achievements from all areas of your life...A functional summary works well for job-seekers whose skills and qualifications aren't accurately represented by simply listing their work history. For example, if you're changing careers, you may have little or no professional experience in the field you're applying for jobs in. However, you may have recently taken classes to learn the necessary skills for that profession, or you may have done similar work on a volunteer basis. It's also a good solution for people with employment gaps; those with mainly part-time, temporary or freelance work; or...people trying to turn a hobby into a profession. Recent college graduates often use the functional format because they have limited professional experience, but they do have skills they've developed as part of their course work, internships or extracurricular activities...Job-seekers with a limited or spotty work history often use a functional summary because it allows them to compete with more experienced candidates. If you can show employers how you've used all the skills necessary to work in advertising, for example, employers may consider you as seriously as they would an industry veteran. A functional summary's primary benefit is also one of its major drawbacks, however. Because so many people use it to disguise employment gaps or other potential problems, employers may feel you're trying to hide something."
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