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Succeed in the workplace
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6.4 Functional CVs

Photo of a mug of coffee next to a notepad with a list written on it.
Figure 9 Functional CV

A functional CV is one which focuses on you and your skills, rather than your work history. It allows you to say more about your ability and the things you have achieved in your life. This is because it presents the information according to the type of work you have done and the responsibilities you have had, rather than by individual jobs.

Look at Sandra’s example CV in the Resource pack [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

As you can see, this highlights skills rather than job changes. Therefore it can be useful if the job you are applying for is different from those you have done previously. The functional CV allows you to emphasise strengths and skills developed in different situations. For example, Sandra draws attention to the fact that her gap year of travelling helped her to develop better planning skills.

It is generally easier to group skills together and you can use the four skills clusters from ‘Skills that employers want and how they can be developed’ to do this. You might have noticed that this example makes an attempt at that. The disadvantage with this type of CV is that, it is less ‘standard’ than the chronological type. You have to think about how you want to prepare it, to ensure that is it clearly relevant to the job. Any gaps in employment are likely to be less prominent but assume that employers will notice this and you should be prepared to explain them at the interview.

If you already have a CV in the chronological style, you might want to write a second functional one as a way of clarifying what skills you have to offer.

Either of these types of CV would be suitable for making a speculative approach to an organisation or via a network contact, as well as part of a job application, where a CV is required. In this case, though, you would need to tailor it to reflect the specific job.

The place to begin though is to create a basic CV which you can later tailor to different situations. The next section offers some general guidance on how to do this.