The Functional CV

This is an alternative format of CV which is used to highlight skills and experience you have gained from previous jobs. It’s useful if you want to change direction, downshift e.g. if you are in advancing years and want to relinquish some of the responsibility and stress that goes along with senior jobs, or, starting from scratch, having no clear job history but wanting to demonstrate skills you have gained in the voluntary or part time sectors.

When used in the Unadvertised market, as a speculative approach, it has to fire up the reader into wanting to see you based on the information given on the top half of the first page.  If you can’t grab the reader’s attention in that area, you stand little chance of getting to see and talk to the most important person in your career search. 

Think of it this way, your job is to impress someone so much they won’t want you working for the competition.

Start the CV in the same way as the reverse chronological with the headline of your name and address, followed by the personal statement of around three or four lines.

Instead of setting out the details of each job, set out a heading
Key Skills and Experience.

Under this have two to four headings of Job Functions you want to sell yourself under.  These could be, for example:-
Customer Facing (Customer Service), Administration, Computer Skills, Telephone Skills
or, in more senior roles:-
Supervision, Team Leading, Budget Control, Training

Your research into possible jobs will have brought out the main functions the prospective employer will be looking for.

Under each of these headings write a series of statements one or two lines long, as in the reverse chronological CV, starting with a good strong action verb and giving a feel for the importance and volume of the work.  Start each with a bullet point.

As you are now no longer tied to describing what you did under each job title, you can use appropriate things you did in your spare time or from a number of different jobs. You can see how flexible this style of CV is.

Your reader will still want to know your job or career history and this can be covered on the second page of the document under a heading:-
Career Summary.

Give only the bare bones of information in the following order across the page:
Year you started followed by year you left,     Company Name,   Job Title

You will notice this is different to the way the information is laid out in the reverse chronological CV, and there is a reason for this.

The front page of the CV is read left to right and top to bottom, as normal.

Page two of a CV is normally looked at, on the first quick glance, from bottom to top and mainly to the right hand side. Setting out the information in this format gives the reader a quick way to absorb your career summary, if they’re interested.  What we hope to have done is to have already whetted their appetite and got them excited enough about our experience and therefore what we can do for them, that the career history is of less importance.

Page two is finished off in the same manner as the reverse chronological CV with your education and qualifications, followed by interests, hobbies or pastimes.

All the things mentioned in “How to make a CV Brilliant” apply to this CV. It has to be the best possible document you can produce.

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