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What to include in your functional or targeted CV

The functional and targeted CVs share common elements as well as differences.

Both highlight your skills, competencies and expertise, rather than providing a chronological overview of your work history.

The functional CV covers your entire career and spans two pages, whereas the targeted CV shines a spotlight on certain areas of your career history, and is usually one page long.

We rarely use either format in our professional CV writing service, because employers generally prefer a chronological CV.

To help illustrate what needs to be included in each, this article refers to the following online examples:

The Functional CV of Christine Jones

The Targeted CV of Christopher Jones

Profile

Both types of CV start with a Profile, which is something we as professional CV writers always recommend you include.

In the case of the functional CV, the Profile refers to Christine's background, highlighting specific skills and achievements, and mentioning her personal qualities. As you can see, it doesn't refer to a specific industry, as her skills are transferable.

The targeted CV profile for Christopher Jones does mention an industrial sector, that of the food industry.

Skills, competencies and expertise (i.e., Functions)

This is where these two CVs are significantly different. The functional CV presents your range of abilities in a generalised fashion, grouped beneath subheadings, starting with the most important. The functions are presented as bullet points.

As you can see from our example, Christine Jones's functions are all key areas of her work in HR. Although certain achievements appear - e.g., "Producing a comprehensive human resources plan for the company's expansion over the next five years" - they are presented as abilities that can be carried forward to her next job, rather than as aspects of experience in a particular job.

In the targeted CV of Christopher Jones, his specific skills and competencies are grouped under first Abilities and then Achievements. In the Abilities section, the functions mentioned are more specific and reference is made to the industrial sector (food manufacturing).

These are all functions that can be transferred directly to a new job in the same sector. Under Achievements, clear evidence of his effectiveness in past roles is highlighted. This is the only section in which the past tense is used - e.g., "Increased the acceptance level of finished goods from 97% to 99% ..." The message to the employer is, of course, that Christopher could achieve similar results for their organisation.

Note that in both CVs, previous employers are not mentioned by name. This means that voluntary and unpaid work can be included, with functions presented in just the same fashion.

You can also include skills that you are developing - e.g., if you've had training in an area, you can include activities you performed whilst on the course.

Experience

This section is brief. Both CVs include a list of employers and employment dates, with no other information. Inclusive dates are provided for the period spent with a certain employer, and also for the period spent in particular roles during that time. This way, promotion becomes visible.

Other information

Academic and professional qualifications are included under a Qualifications heading, without further detail. This is where the targeted CV concludes. The functional CV also includes brief outlines of Christine Jones's Personal Details and Interests.

And finally

To close: you can modify either CV for different employers, altering your Profile and the order in which you present the functional list for various vacancies. Do remember, though, that if you omit certain jobs from your employment history, the person reading your CV may become suspicious.


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