Resumes With a Functional Twist:
How to sell your
skills and experience, not your last job
Question: For the past three
years, I've been a senior vice president of marketing services for a
large bank holding company. My job requires working with several
departments in the bank to develop new products and services for our
commercial customers. I manage projects, offer advice, and
coordinate interdepartmental communication.
Before being chosen for my current
position, I was one of the most active commercial loan officers in
the entire system. Finding deals, cultivating relationships with
customers, and seeing the tangible benefits of my work (building
renovations, new product developments, etc.) was really satisfying
and made a significant bottom-line contribution.
After some careful consideration, I've
decided to move back into the commercial loan area. Because
opportunities with my current employer are very limited, I'll need
to investigate positions with other banks. My question for you is:
Given that my most recent experience hasn't been as a commercial
loan officer, how do I put together a resume to emphasize my sales
accomplishments? If I follow the typical format, “Senior Vice
President of Marketing Services” will be in the place of honor at
the top of the positions listed. I prefer not to have it there, but
I can't leave it out, can I? Short of writing a functional resume,
which bankers don't appreciate, what is the best way to represent my
experience on paper?
Answer: You're correct in
assuming that bankers prefer a chronological format to a functional
one. Their attention to detail naturally compels them to look for
job titles and dates in exact reverse order with no gaps in work
history. To be credible, your resume must conform to this mindset.
However, ever a chronological resume has some maneuvering room.
Let’s look at how you can spotlight your sales skills instead of
your marketing experience.
Example Objective: A Commercial Loan
Officer serving large corporate accounts for Citibank
After your name, address, and phone
number, state a career objective. Resumes should be targeted sales
tools. The more you tailor yours for a given job, the better your
chances of getting an interview.
Unfortunately, in an effort to appeal to
everyone, many people either leave out their objective or frame it
so broadly it serves no purpose. Don't make this mistake! To catch a
potential employer's eye, tell him or her what you want to do. If
you have a job title and a company name, use it.
XYZ Bank 2004 to present Vice
President, Commercial Loan Division and Senior Vice
President, Marketing Services
Put your last employer first, along with
the dates of employment. Rather than list each job title with its
accomplishments, mention them both just under the employer heading.
You can even put dates with each title if you want, but don't
emphasize the marketing services position by listing it first with a
description. This sidetracks the potential employer into thinking of
you as a marketing strategist rather than a loan professional.
Instead, concentrate on the main
functions of the job you want now. For instance, as a loan officer,
you developed relationships, closed deals and monitored client
performance. After you've identified your key activities in
commercial loans, think about your most satisfying accomplishments
(not duties) for each. Resume readers are looking for unique
contributions. Responsibilities aren't nearly as impressive as
Quantify your successes, if possible.
You might mention your loan volume, low percent default rate, and
increase in new client accounts, all excellent possibilities for
impressing potential interviewers. Generally, it's best to list
successes in their order of importance to the employer.
After you've discussed your main loan
accomplishments, add marketing services. This will highlight your
“big picture” exposure, and bankers will expect some reference to
it. If you delete it, they might think you're trying to hide
With your heavy commercial loan and
general marketing background, you may wish to pursue a management
position where you can supervise other officers and work with the
large accounts yourself. While marketing isn't what you want to do,
it's inclusion adds authority to your sales expertise. The remainder
of your experience section can easily follow the typical
chronological style, emphasizing commercial loan achievements as
much as possible.
MBA, University of
Dale Carnegie Sales Course
Integrity in Banking
Social Media and Your
Along with your degree(s), list your
continuing education related to sales. Noncredit courses
increase your banking expertise and show an ongoing commitment to
augmenting your skill base.
Example Volunteer Work:
American Red Cross
Board of Directors
The Snyder Foundation
Often job seekers don’t think of
volunteer work as real experience. However, in this economy, that
mindset is changing. A great number of unemployed people are
involving themselves in satisfying projects that add important
skills to their portfolios. For instance, nonprofit boards consider
many of the same issues for-profit ones do. And, banking leadership
usually encourages its employees to give back to the community to
build visibility, credibility and contacts for themselves and their
References: References don't need
to appear on a resume. However, you should have some in mind if a
potential employer asks for them. Be sure to include one or two key
customers who can attest to your commercial loan acumen.