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Functional and combination resume guide - part 2

Part 2. How set out your information in a functional or combination resume style, complete with examples and tips!

When a functional or combination format might not be appropriate

Both resume styles make it difficult for a reader to grasp potentially important information such as pace and direction of career progression, employments dates, employers etc.

Many conservative fields such as banking, law and finance consider this information important, as do recruiters, who generally like to see a chronological format. In these cases it can pay to prepare both a chronological resume and a functional or combination equivalent to use in the appropriate situation.

Some online job boards do not allow the use of a functional or combination format.

Sections in a functional and combination resume

Group and order your information in the following way:

  • Contact details - your identifying information
  • Profile statement - the executive summary of your resume; your most marketable points. Click here to learn how to write a great resume Profile statement
  • Key achievements - optional. A summary of your most outstanding achievements that are relevant to your target role
  • Professional experience summary - the heart of your resume. See below for detailed instructions on how to prepare this section
  • Education - qualifications and training relevant to your target role
  • Employment history summary - included in the combination resume only. This addition of this section turns a functional resume into a combination resume
  • References - a short note saying 'available upon request'

To learn how to prepare the contact details, profile, education and references sections of your resume, click here to view essential resume information.

To learn about how to present your key achievements as well as guidance on what not to include in your resume, click here to view optional resume information.

How to prepare a functional resume

To apply the functional layout, identify between 2 and 6 areas of skill, competency or experience sought by the employer in the target role. Match your past achievements and experience to these areas.

Examples

  • Key skills or competencies - For example 'Leadership', 'Project Management'
  • Industry experience - For example 'Mining & Resources', 'Financial Services'
  • Functional experience - For example 'Financial Control', 'Commercial Management'

Imagine that you identify Human Resource Planning and Financial Management as core areas of expertise needed for your target role.

You analyse your career history and group all your experience and achievements related to Human Resource Planning under one heading. Similarly, you group all your achievements related to Financial Management under another heading.

At a simple glance, the reader is able to see how you are qualified for the role.

To prepare your experience in this way, it is vital to understand your achievements as well as your knowledge, skills and competencies.

Example functional layout

This is how to group your achievements and experience according to relevant headings, within the professional experience section of your functional resume.

Example functional layout

See a complete sample functional resume generated by WorkLifeGroup's CV Manager.

Combination resume layout

First create a functional resume following the steps outlined above.

Make a list of each company you've worked for, the positions you've held the dates you were employed. Add this section immediately following your summary of professional experience.

This layout has the advantage of emphasising your transferrable skills and competencies in a clear and compelling manner, while still providing summary-level detail about your career progression to date.

Example combination resume layout

Example functional layout

Example combination resume layout

See a complete sample combination resume generated by WorkLifeGroup's CV Manager.

Presentation and language

Pay close attention to factors such as formatting, spelling, grammar and document layout. The reader will expect that you have invested all the time you needed to get your resume just right. There are no excuses for presentation errors. Any type of sloppiness, carelessness or other basic errors will reflect poorly on you as a candidate.

Use active language to give your resume life and energy.

Click to read more about resume formatting, presentation and language.

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