If you’ve been working in the gig economy and are considering entering or re-entering the traditional job market, you might be stumped how to write your resume. After all, most resumes are chronological, meaning that your work history is listed starting with your most recent job down to your earliest. And while that might work for people with a solid work history with no lapses between employment—not so much for gigsters.
Gigsters, especially ones who have been shortlisted by the same employers to work for them time and again, makes a chronological resume confusing to write, as well as to read. So what do you do? Use a functional resume instead. Keeping your experience and relevant skill set chunked together on one page will stand out better than multiple pages of drawn-out job descriptions.
Here are some tips on organizing your experience in a functional resume:
Keep a journal (or list in Word or Excel) to track your gig shifts and what you did there. You’d be surprised how hard it is to remember months later where you worked and what tasks you performed. Include a sentence or two about the skill set required to do the job (called hard skills) and any interpersonal character traits you brought to the table (called soft skills) that made you excel at the job. You’ll be able to use this later in your functional resume.
Begin with positive soft skills
While a chronological resume begins listing each job with beginning and end dates, your functional resume doesn’t. Instead, in a functional resume you list your skill set in the upper portion of the resume, called the qualifications section. For example, soft skills for a waiter or waitress could include things like: excellent memory (remember customers’ names), team player (help out backed-up waitstaff so guests get their meals on time), and excellent time management skills (never late or missed a shift). Resume Genius provides an exhaustive list of soft skill examples.
Follow-up with hard skills
Use bullet points to demonstrate hard skills gained from working the gig. For example, a functional resume for a waiter could include things like, “experienced with TouchBistro and UpServe POS terminal systems,” “suggested additional items to customers to increase restaurant sales,” and “describe how menu items are cooked and prepared to guests,” could each be a separate bullet point.
Combine similar jobs
Don’t bother listing each company separately with an individual job description. For gigsters, it will just look like a tangled ball of yarn—unstructured and difficult to unravel. Instead, group related gigs together with a brief introduction that ties them together. Chunked collectively, there’s more bounce to the ounce, and your resume will have a stronger impact than if you listed them singularly.
Tailor your resume to the job
We know, we know—it’s a lot of work to tailor your resume to each and every job you apply to; but the results prove worth it. Here’s why: Most hiring managers need to sift through huge amounts of resumes, and to make their job easier, they use automated software to help them. Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) scans resumes for keywords related to the job description. If you don’t include them on your resume, it won’t see the light of day.
As a job seeker, you need to optimize your resume to include the right buzzwords. Read the job description carefully and identify the skills the employer wants. Then, include specific gigs where you used those skills. Make sure to use the same terminology so that ATS will mark you as a match. If you can manage to work in the company name, even better!
When packaged correctly, recruiters or hiring manager will be happy to consider your gig experience. It’s simply a matter of using a functional resume to highlight the skills you learned from your gigs to capture their attention. It’s the best choice for job applicants with a non-traditional employment history.