A functional resume focuses on skills and experience, rather than on chronological work history. The emphasis is placed on skills and knowledge gained both within and outside the workforce. It is used most often by people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.
A functional resume would look something like this:
The applicant lists his or her educational background, starting with the most recent.
Here, the applicant would list, preferably in an easy-to-read bulleted format, all the skills relevant to the position for which they are applying.
In this section the applicant lists experiences gained from specific jobs. For example, a person who has worked as an administrative assistant and a sales manager can list the skills and qualifications for both positions in separate paragraphs. Note that this alludes to previous employment without placing it on a time line.
Any special tasks, recognitions, and accomplishments achieved in previous employment can be listed here.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using this resume format. As mentioned earlier, the functional resume is ideal for persons changing careers, and it is also the most effective format for those just starting out in the workforce, such as recent college graduates, as it allows emphasis on knowledge gained as opposed to actual working experience. This format can be used to hide gaps in employment and "job-hopping".
The obvious disadvantage is that it can make it look like you have something to hide. If a job demands an extensive history in the given field, for example, the functional resume might not be the best format to use. Applicants should weigh the benefits and risks, and there is certainly no harm in circulating different versions of a resume in different formats to get a feel for which one best represents your qualifications.