This Unique Resume Format Grabs The Hiring Manager’s Attention

The functional resume format can help you stand out from the rest - in a good way.

Before diving into what a traditional or functional resume says about you, I want to share a quick story. A friend of mine convinced me to set up a ring doorbell camera for our house. After the doorbell was set up, he suggested we add an additional camera to our backyard and the driveway. Since he was doing me a favor, I went along with his suggestion. However, I was unaware that he had already bought the additional cameras. If you are not familiar with how they work, you can actually speak to anybody who shows up at your door. My wife was away for the weekend. As I was walking the dog in our backyard, I heard her voice out of nowhere. I knew she was out of town; I knew I was not going crazy. But there it was – her voice out of nowhere. After realizing she was talking to me through the ring camera, I became aware that we were no longer alone. There was somebody watching over me, unbeknownst to myself. At this point, you may be wondering, “What does this have to do with which resume format should I choose?” 

Eyes Are Always On You – In Some Way, Shape Or Form

After realizing that I was being watched, I thought about how my candidates are being watched whenever they submit a resume. The hiring manager was literally watching over them as they would read the resume and make the determination, “Should I spend the time talking with this candidate or should I move on to the next one?”  It was then that I understood the format and length of the resume was extremely crucial. Recently I received a resume for a qualified candidate, but the resume was three pages long. I know for a fact that most HR individuals are not going to spend the time to read three pages. How do you condense a career into one page from a three-page resume? The answer is the functional resume.

The Functional Resume

Most individuals are not aware of the functional resume.  To recap, the traditional resume is chronological with the listing of your current employee working backwards to the start of your career. Also included is any biographical, educational, licenses or any other relevant material that you want to share with a prospective employer.  However, if you have a resume that is three pages long, how do you get that message across that you are the perfect candidate for the position? The functional resume, unlike the chronological resume, does not list your jobs and your dates. It instead allows you to choose the highlighted area of your expertise and group your experience, accomplishments, awards, and anything else that you want to share under that particular area of expertise. Most functional resumes will have at least three to five specific areas of expertise that can be addressed.

What A Functional Resume Does For You

By applying a functional resume, you are able to highlight your relevant experience to the job that you are applying to. You do not have to be as concerned about potentially numerous firms or positions you held throughout your career. You would rather group companies and dates at the end than at the beginning of the resume. By taking the emphasis off of the companies and dates, a hiring manager can really get a feel for who you are and what you can do. More importantly, they see how you can fit into their organization. I personally choose to recommend a functional resume for any individual with vast knowledge and application who may be trying to leverage their experience into a new area. This will allow a hiring manager to focus on your transitional skills rather than what you are currently doing (previous to looking for a new position).

When creating a functional resume, spend the time to determine what you want to highlight. This is compared to listing your title and responsibilities with your current employer in a chronological matter. It will accomplish two things. First, it will give you a more streamlined resume. Second, it will cause you to really think hard about what transitional skills you can bring to the table. 


If you would like to discuss your options, please reach out for a confidential conversation at 760-477-1284 or email at [email protected]. He can also be reached on LinkedIn. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here, which is a compilation of our weekly blogs so you never miss one. 

About Harlan Friedman, JD & Founding Member, H. Friedman Search LLC. Harlan is a thirty-year veteran Public Finance Banker turned recruiter who specializes in the placement of all level Public Finance Bankers, Health Care Bankers, Municipal Financial Advisors, Compliance Officers, Issuers, and Bond Counsels.