Education and Skills on a Functional Resume


Recent graduates seeking employment

Graduating from college is one of the proudest moments an individual will ever experience. Receiving that diploma validates all the hard work s/he put into that education, including the many all-nighters s/he pulled before exams. An individual’s graduation is a measure of all the individual’s accomplishments as a student, and opens the door into a world of career choices, job searches, and 40-hour workweeks.

Moreover, if you are that recent graduate, the realization about getting a job that requires experience, and how you will go about doing it, suddenly hits you; especially if you have no actual work experience. As a recent college graduate, you are entering the workforce at entry-level positions with almost any company that hires you, and your potential employers have very reasonable expectations; because they expect you to have graduated from college, and that your major is in line with the job you’re applying for.

They also anticipate that you have some experience, a summer job, or some kind of an internship; but they are not requiring years of professional experience. They would, however, like to see a few references from your professors or previous supervisors, so that they can get a better idea of your personality and work ethic. Sound reasonable so far?

Functional resume highlights qualifying skills

The best way to show your potential employer that you are a perfect candidate for the job is to create a functional resume, since functional resumes focus on your qualifications, not your career timeline. This style of resume will also highlight the skills you have, rather than where and when you acquired or utilized them. In other words, instead of listing your experiences by job titles, your (functional) resume will contain sections titled by your skills, such as verbal and written communication, customer satisfaction, project management, etc.

The functional resume style is highly recommended for, and most often used by, college students seeking internships or their first jobs out of college. In structuring this kind of resume resume you begin by stating your career objective, while making sure that your career goals are personal; but your objective should be specific to the position for which you’re making application, and should convey to your potential employer how you intend to utilize your education, as well as how this position will help you develop your experience.

Your education should be listed next, and in doing so you should list the school you attended and its location, your graduation year, and your major. It may also be helpful to include your GPA, specific courses you have taken, and/or any honors you have received while in school. Any professional skills you have acquired should come next; and this section will include sub-headings as they relate to specific qualifications you want to promote, such as communications, customer relations, managements, and so on.

Career objective, clarity, mentor review!

In the professional skills section you can utilize any experience you have that relates to the sub-sections, including your part time jobs, internships, volunteer positions held, community service work, or school-related activities. However, you should only include a work experience/work history section if you have held part time jobs while in school or have had internships you’d like your employer to know about. This list should only include dates, titles, companies, and locations without listing any of your responsibilities, since you will have covered them in the previous section.

Memberships in any clubs during your school years should be included in a section for activities, in which you will list only those that support your career objective. For example, if you were an editor of your school paper, and you are trying to get a job at a publishing company, make sure you include this experience in your resume. Your last section should list references; and as a new graduate, it is beneficial to include references on the well-written resume you prepared for yourself to ensure that you give your potential employer everything s/he needs in order to consider you as a qualified candidate for the job.

You have nothing to lose by providing this information ahead of being asked for it; but before you start applying for jobs, take advantage of your school’s career center and have one of the mentors there review your resume and help you perfect both the content and the format. Just remember that, with a well-written and appropriately styled resume, you are prepared to take the professional world by storm. Good luck!


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