How to Write a Functional Resume [4 Free Templates Included]

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Struggling with your resume because you just graduated from university and don’t have much work experience?

Or maybe you’re switching careers, and aren’t sure how to make your past position relevant for the new field?

Whichever the case, the solution is pretty simple:

Use a functional resume format!

  • What’s a Functional Resume?

When to Use a Functional Resume?

How to write a functional resume.

  • What Are Some Other Resume Formats (and When To Use Them)

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume, also known as the skill-based resume, is a resume format that focuses on your professional skill test as opposed to work experience.

If you were to create a traditional resume, you’d list out your work experience in reverse chronological order as follows:

reverse chronological resume example

Whereas, in the case of a functional resume , you list out each of your skills, and then back them up by highlighting how you’ve practically applied them in the past:

functional resume sample

It’s better to use a functional resume in the following situations:

  • You’re a recent graduate with no work experience. As the functional resume focuses on skills rather than experience, it can be very helpful to students.
  • You’re switching careers . If you have some work experience, but the said experience isn’t relevant for the position you’re applying for, you can use a functional resume to highlight how your skills make you the right candidate.
  • You have a long history of unemployment (or gaps between jobs). Since the functional resume format focuses on skills, you can use it to downplay your work experience gaps.

That being said, in around 90% of cases, we don’t recommend using a functional resume .

While it does have its perks (e.g. standing out as a recent graduate), it also comes with significant downsides.

First off, it’s nowhere near as popular as the traditional resume format, and in certain parts of the world, recruiters might not even know that the functional format is a thing.

In addition, some recruiters might find the lack of work experience in a resume suspicious because it can hint the candidate isn’t being truthful (e.g. red flags, being fired from previous employment, etc.).

These 2 disadvantages combined make a compelling case against the functional resume format.

So, if you do decide to create a functional resume, weigh the pros and cons and proceed at your own risk!

Want to also learn how to create a traditional resume ? Check out our guide!

First things first - pick a compelling resume template to get started. We recommend using our Functional Resume template:

functional resume template

Then, create the following sections on your resume:

  • Contact Information
  • Resume Summary
  • Skill Summary

If you have additional space once you’re finished with these sections, you can fill it up with some optional sections (which we’ll explain a bit down the line).

Now, let’s walk you through each of these sections and explain how to do them right:

#1. Contact Information

While it might sound elementary, there’s a ton of tid-bits you need to know about getting the contact information section right.

Here’s what you need to include in the contact information section:

  • First and last name
  • Current job title
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • City and country you’re based in

Optionally, you can also include links to relevant social media profiles. For example:

  • If you’re a writer, you can link your portfolio page or website.
  • If you’re a developer, you can link your GitHub profile.
  • If you’re a marketer, you can link your Instagram or Twitter page.
  • Your LinkedIn profile link (if it’s up-to-date).

#2. Resume Summary

The next section on your functional resume is the “resume summary.”

This section goes right under your contact information, and looks something like this:

resume summary

In a nutshell, a resume summary is a 2-4 sentence recap of your biggest professional achievements and career highlights.

The goal of this section is to show the recruiter (in one glance) that you’re qualified for the position you’re applying for.

Here’s what a well-written resume summary would look like:

  • Professional executive assistant with experience in supporting high-level CEOs and other executives for over 5 years. Experienced in customer support, data entry, and scheduling meetings. Skilled in time management, MS Office, and Adobe Photoshop.

#3. Skill Summary

This one’s going to be the bulk of your functional resume.

In a skill summary section, you mention the top 3 skills required for the position you’re applying for and then provide information on how you’ve gained the said skills right under them.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a recent graduate applying for a role in marketing. Here’s what your skill summary could look like:


  • Wrote over 20+ well-researched papers for my university.
  • Worked at the university news media as a journalist, interviewing interesting university alumni and publishing their stories on the website.
  • Created and published high-quality tech articles on my personal blog (
  • Participated in a university project for a real-life company (Company X), where we had to come up with ideas for expanding to a new market.
  • With the help of my team, came up with 5 ideas, out of which 3 were actually implemented by the company.
  • Came up with 100+ topic ideas for content on my personal blog, some of which got over 50 shares when published.

Project Management

  • Acted as a team leader for most of my university projects, ensuring that they were completed on time, and that every group member contributed.
  • Was part of the Startup Weekend organizational committee. Helped source speakers, organize the event, find sponsors, and overall ensured that the event went smoothly.

job search masterclass

#4. Education

The next section on your functional resume is Education , and this one’s actually pretty straightforward.

Here, list out the following information:

  • Name of the degree (e.g. B.A. in Computer Science)
  • Name of the university and dates attended (e.g. Boston State University, 2012 - 2016)

Optionally, you can also include the following as part of your education section :

  • GPA. If you had an impressive GPA in your university (3.5 - 4.0), you can list it in your resume. Most companies, however, don’t really care about your grades all that much .
  • Honors. E.g. Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, etc.
  • Academic Achievements. Your thesis, interesting or noteworthy research papers you’ve written, etc.
  • Courses Attended. If you’ve taken some very impressive classes (and they’re related to the role you’re applying for), you can mention them in your education section.

#5. Optional Sections

Still have some space left on your resume? Here are some other sections you can include:

  • Projects - In our opinion, this one’s the most underrated resume section. Here, you can include any kind of personal or university project you’ve worked on. E.g. blog you’ve started, a piece of software you coded, etc.
  • Extracurricular Activities - If you’re a recent graduate, you can include a section about the extracurricular activities you’ve participated in during university.
  • Languages - Knowing an extra language or two can always come in handy. When filling these out, though, make sure to include your level of understanding (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Fluent, or Native).
  • Work History - Yep, you CAN include work history on your functional resume. If you decide to do this, though, your resume will be a combination resume and NOT the functional one.

Other Resume Formats

There are 2 other resume formats in addition to the Functional one:

  • Reverse-Chronological Resume Format
  • Combination Resume Format

Here’s what they’re about:

#1. Reverse-Chronological Resume Format

This one’s the most common resume format out there and it’s what most people have in mind when they refer to a “resume.”

This resume format simply lists out work experiences in reverse-chronological order and backs them up with other essential resume sections (skills, education, etc.).

Unless you have specific reasons to use either of the other resume formats (combination or functional), we recommend you stick with this one.

#2. Combination Resume Format

The combination resume is almost the same thing as a functional resume, with a small twist.

In addition to the skill summary section on the resume, you also add a work history section (which helps even out the downsides that come with a functional resume).

Usually, the combination resume is used by senior professionals with a decade’s worth of work experience.

4 Free Functional Resume Templates & Examples

Want to get started with your functional resume?

All you have to do is pick one of our free templates and you’re good to go!

#1. Functional Resume Template

functional resume template example

Our functional resume template adds a dash of style to the traditional black-and-white resume.

Use this template to present your skills and talents in the best way possible!

#2. Combination Resume Template

combination resume template

This combination template allows you to showcase your skills without having to cut down on work experience.

#3. College Resume Template

college resume sample

Our College resume template is perfect for recent university graduates, allowing you to emphasize your skill-set over your work experiences.

#4. Professional Resume Template

professional resume example

Looking for something a bit more professional? This resume template is a prime favorite for job-seekers who are serious about their careers.

Key Takeaways

And that just about sums up everything you need to know about functional resumes!

Now, let’s do a small recap of everything we’ve learned so far:

  • A functional resume format is a type of resume that focuses more on skills rather than work experiences.
  • You can use a functional resume if you’re a recent graduate with little work experience or if you’re switching careers.
  • To create a compelling functional resume, you want to get your skill summary section just right.
  • Functional resumes, however, are not that common in most parts of the world, so we recommend sticking to a conventional resume format to most job-seekers, instead.

Discover More Resume Templates

  • One Page Resume Templates
  • 2 Page Resume Templates
  • Google Docs Resume Templates
  • Word Resume Templates
  • Chronological Resume Templates
  • Creative Resume Templates
  • Minimalistic Resume Templates
  • High School Resume Templates

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Functional resume: What is it & how to write one (with examples)

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What is a functional resume?

Functional resume templates and examples

4 tips for writing a great functional resume, when should you write a functional skills resume, a resume that functions.

Most hiring managers spend approximately seven seconds looking at a resume . That’s all it takes to decide whether you’ll get an interview . 

While they’re certainly noting your work experience, they’re also looking for things like typos, life experience, and education. If you’re a recent graduate or newly employable , you might not have extensive industry experience, so it’s best to flaunt other notable qualities. That’s where a functional resume comes in. 

What is a functional resume? 

A functional resume is what one uses to focus on relevant skill sets and qualifications and omits work experience. We’ll differentiate between this skills-based resume and other resume types and note when the former is most appropriate, as well as how to write a functional resume.

We’ve outlined the key sections of a functional resume with example templates below:


Contact information

Put essential details like the following in the top right-hand corner of your resume: 

  • First and last name
  • A work-appropriate email address
  • Phone number
  • Your city and country
  • Links to your website or portfolio
  • Links to up-to-date professional social media, like a LinkedIn profile

Summary statement

Include a 2–4 sentence statement about your professional identity and why you’re applying for this position. Make sure to personalize this to each job ad and organization. 

Here are a few summary starement examples for functional resumes:

Recent graduate 

Recent graduate of [program name] from [university name]. Experience with [list skills acquired through internships or other experiences]. Knowledge of [areas of study that apply to job description]. Detailed-oriented and a resourceful problem solver [or other soft skills listed on job description]. 

Why it works : Highlights experience and demonstrates basic knowledge relevant to an entry-level position.

Career change 

Results-driven [or other soft skill] [field or job role] with over [number] years of experience in [industry]. In-depth knowledge of [hard skills]. Strong [skills] with a commitment to [value]. Recipient of [certification or award]. Achieved the [name a specific example of an accomplishment with stats, if possible]. Ability to thrive in fast-paced environments . 

Why it works : Places strong emphasis on hard and soft skills that are transferable to the desired company or industry. 

Significant gaps on functional resume

[Job title] with [years of experience]. Seeking to [goal] at [company name]. Have [most significant/relevant work accomplishments with stats]. Spent the last [number of years] developing my [2–3 soft skills]. 

Why it works : Explains what this person did during the career break and reflects accomplishments or acquired skill, like being a new mom or caregiver.

Here’s an example of a skills section on your functional resume:


Skills and qualifications are the center of any resume. 

Carefully read the job description, study the company's values and mission statement, and align your language to both.

Outline three hard skills that are required or valuable to the job role, and be specific about how you acquired and used those skills with action verbs and statistics.

Imagine you’re transitioning from a sales to a project manager role. Highlight commonalities between the roles and use examples from your previous position to show proficiencies outlined in the job ad. 

Here’s an example:

Sales management

  • Acted as liaison between clients and the sales team. Managed five accounts for tech development companies and led and organized more than 10 employees.
  • Implemented digitized sales interface and increased team productivity by 25% and turnover by 45%, resulting in 2.5M in sales.
  • Increased sales quota by 230%. Exceeded sales quotas for six consecutive years.

Education section

Use this space to outline degree specifics while highlighting honors, achievements, or relevant courses and certifications.

Now that you know what to include in your functional resume, it’s time to start writing. Here are four tips for building an effective document:

1. Match the job description

Hiring managers spend a lot of time perfecting the job description to make sure they get the best candidates. Write down the requirements, responsibilities, and skills, and create a checklist you can mark off as you include each on your resume. 


For example, if a job ad mentions they’re looking for people who can “work independently and meet deadlines,” be sure your resume emphasizes a history of successfully working on your own and borrows their phrasing. Try including language like “comfortable with team and independent work” and “deadline-oriented” in your summary, skills, or work experience sections.

2. Show your hunger for learning

Curiosity is an essential trait for a successful career and a behavior that many employers actively seek out. Demonstrate a love for learning so hiring managers understand how you’ll approach obtaining new skills and experiences.

Like all hard and soft skills on your resume, show rather than tell. Describe experiences where you learned new tools, studied a certification, or polished a craft to advance your career or improve performance . 

3. Make it look good

Hiring managers often sift through hundreds of resumes to fill a position. And an applicant tracking software is likely taking a first pass at your resume, scanning it for essential keywords and moving it along. A cluttered resume with inconsistent formatting could be the difference between getting put in the “Yes” or “No” pile. 

Here are a few general rules to increase your chance your resume is chosen:

  • Guide the eye : A hiring manager wants to know one thing: do you have the experience and skills that fit the job description? Use white space, an easy-to-read font size, and appropriate headers to guide the eye to the most important information. Avoid overcrowding — it creates a frustrating reading experience. 
  • Don’t go business casual : Comic sans on a resume is the equivalent of showing up to your first day in sandals and bathing trunks — it’s not appropriate. Use professional typefaces such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Helvetica. Avoid bright colors or creative design elements if it isn’t relevant to the job posting or industry.


  • Stay consistent : Consistency will take you far on a resume. It shows attention to detail and professionalism. Make sure bullets are the same style and formatted the same across the page, headers are the same size and font, and spacing is consistent. 
  • Try a template : If this is your first resume or you expect to make drastic changes to a previous one, try using a free template. Online resume builders offer a variety of styles with different customizing options to help you create a document you feel confident about.

4. Get a second opinion

Fresh perspectives are invaluable. Once your resume is created, ask for constructive feedback . If possible, reach out to someone with industry experience as they’ll better understand what employers are looking for. Friends and family with professional experience can also offer a fresh take if that’s not an option.

While combination resumes give hiring managers the most well-rounded understanding of your experience, functional resumes are a better fit for the following circumstances: 

  • Career change : You’re changing professions mid-career or late in life and have little to no relevant work history. 
  • New grad : You recently graduated from your college or university program and haven’t yet attained professional experience.
  • Big career break or sabbatical : You have a large employment gap that might look worrisome on an application.

Learning how to craft a good resume is an integral part of the job search. If a functional resume is the format that works best for your needs, pay careful attention to aligning your skills with what your potential employer is looking for to stand out from candidates that use the traditional resume format.

Don’t worry too much about lacking work experience. Show off personal achievements and skills with a comprehensive and well-constructed functional resume and you’ll have a good chance of getting that first interview .

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Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

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Functional Resume: A Beginner’s Guide with Examples

functional resumes focus on

In today’s competitive job market, it is essential to make a strong first impression on potential employers. However, traditional chronological resumes may not always be the best option for individuals looking to showcase their unique skills and experiences. This is where functional resumes come into play.

A functional resume focuses on a candidate’s skills and accomplishments rather than their work experience. Rather than listing job titles and specific duties, a functional resume emphasizes the candidate’s abilities and how they can add value to a workplace. It is especially useful for individuals who have gaps in their employment history, are changing careers, or have limited work experience.

Why Choose a Functional Resume

A functional resume can be an excellent option for individuals who want to stand out from other candidates. By highlighting their unique skillset, candidates can show potential employers that they have the necessary qualifications and can be an asset to their organization. Additionally, a functional resume can help applicants who have changed jobs frequently, as it emphasizes their transferable skills rather than their work history.

Benefits of a Functional Resume

There are several benefits to using a functional resume. Firstly, it allows individuals to focus on their strengths, making their application more compelling to potential employers. It can also help reduce concerns about gaps in employment by highlighting the candidate’s skills and experience rather than their work history. Additionally, by presenting their qualifications in a clear and concise manner, candidates may be able to attract the attention of hiring managers more effectively.

A functional resume can be an excellent option for individuals who want to showcase their unique skills and experience. By highlighting their strengths and minimizing perceived weaknesses, candidates can increase their chances of getting hired and landing their dream job.

Anatomy of a Functional Resume

A functional resume is a type of resume that focuses more on skills and achievements, rather than the chronological work history. This style of resume is perfect for job seekers who have significant gaps in their work history or who want to highlight their transferable skills.

Structure of a Functional Resume

The structure of a functional resume typically involves a few key sections, which include:

Header : This section includes your contact information, such as your name, email address, phone number, and address.

Summary/Objective : This section is a brief statement that highlights your top skills and experiences. This is where you can showcase your unique value proposition and communicate what you can bring to the company.

Skills : In this section, you list your relevant skills, such as technical skills, hard skills, soft skills, and language proficiency.

Experience : This section lists your work experiences and accomplishments, but it is organized by relevant skills rather than by job title or date.

Education : This section includes your educational background and any certifications or awards you may have earned.

Sections of a Functional Resume

All the sections included in a functional resume are designed to showcase your transferable skills and achievements. Unlike a chronological resume which is primarily focused on your work history, a functional resume is tailored to highlight your areas of expertise.

The Difference between a Functional Resume and a Chronological Resume

The key difference between a functional resume and a chronological resume is the focus on your work history. A chronological resume is organized by dates and job titles, while a functional resume is organized by skills and achievements.

A chronological resume is best suited for job seekers who have a consistent work history with minimal gaps. Meanwhile, a functional resume is ideal for job seekers with limited experience or those who want to highlight their transferable skills.

A functional resume is a powerful tool for job seekers who want to stand out from the crowd by showcasing their skills and achievements. The structure and sections of a functional resume are strategically designed to highlight your unique value proposition and communicate what you can bring to the company.

When to Use a Functional Resume

A functional resume is a great choice for certain job seekers depending on their work history, experience, and career goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to use a functional resume:

Who Should Use a Functional Resume

Functional resumes are ideal for job seekers who have gaps in their work history, have changed careers frequently, or have relevant skills from other work or life experiences. These types of resumes highlight those skills and experiences rather than focusing on specific job titles or employers.

Another scenario where a functional resume might be appropriate is for recent graduates who have limited work experience but have developed relevant skills through internships, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities.

It’s important to note that functional resumes may not be the best option for recent graduates who are applying to entry-level positions in their field.

Situations that Call for a Functional Resume

There are several situations in which a functional resume may be a better choice than a traditional chronological resume.

If you are returning to work after a long absence, such as raising children, taking care of a family member, or dealing with a personal health issue, a functional resume can help you emphasize skills and experiences gained during that time.

Job seekers who are changing careers may also benefit from a functional resume as it allows them to highlight transferable skills and show how they are relevant to the new industry or job they are seeking.

Finally, if you have had a lot of short-term jobs or freelance work, a functional resume can help you highlight your skills and achievements across those different roles rather than simply listing each job and its duties.

How to Know When a Functional Resume is Appropriate

If you are unsure whether a functional resume is the right choice for you, consider talking to a career counselor or professional resume writer who can help you assess your skills and experience in relation to the jobs you want.

You should also carefully consider the job listing and the employer’s needs. If the job posting emphasizes specific job titles or required experience, a traditional chronological resume may be a better choice.

A functional resume can be a great option for job seekers who have varied work history or skills gained outside of traditional employment. By emphasizing skills and experiences over job titles and employers, it can help you stand out to potential employers and showcase your strengths.

Preparing to Write a Functional Resume

Before you start writing your functional resume, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your final document is effective in highlighting your skills and qualifications.

Steps for Preparing a Functional Resume

Research the job description:  Start by reviewing the job posting or job description thoroughly. Highlight and make note of the skills, experiences, and qualifications that the employer is seeking.

Make a list of your own skills and qualifications:  Next, make a list of your own skills and qualifications, taking into account the job requirements that you have identified. This list should include both hard and soft skills, as well as any relevant experience, education or certification.

Evaluate your career history:  Take time to evaluate your career history and consider any significant achievements, projects, and experiences that demonstrate your strengths and key competencies.

Decide on resume sections and order:  Once you have compiled your list of skills and qualifications, you can start organizing your resume sections. Decide on the order of your sections based on what is most relevant and eye-catching to employers.

Identifying Your Skills and Qualifications

Hard skills:  These are specific, measurable technical skills that you have developed through education or experience. Examples include proficiency in a particular computer program or language, hands-on experience with a specific tool or machinery, or certification in a particular discipline.

Soft skills:  These are personal attributes that reflect how you interact with others and contribute to an organization’s culture. Examples include communication skills, time management, problem-solving, and leadership skills.

In a functional resume, you will want to prioritize your skills and qualifications above your experience. This way, any potential employer can quickly see what you bring to the table and how you can benefit their organization.

Choosing the Right Format for Your Functional Resume

There are three main formats to consider when writing a functional resume: chronological, hybrid, and functional.

Chronological:  In a chronological resume, your experience is listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job at the top. Skills and qualifications are typically listed in a separate section below the experience section.

Hybrid:  A hybrid resume combines elements of both a chronological and functional resume. The top section of the resume highlights your skills and qualifications, followed by a chronological listing of your work experience.

Functional:  In a functional resume, your skills and qualifications take center stage. This format de-emphasizes your work history, but still includes a brief summary of your career achievements, along with a list of relevant work experiences.

When choosing the right format for your functional resume, consider the job requirements and the employer’s preferences. By using the appropriate format and putting your skills and qualifications front and center, you can create a winning functional resume that effectively markets your talents and experience to employers.

Writing a Successful Functional Resume

A functional resume is a great way for job seekers to showcase their skills and experiences without emphasizing their job history. By highlighting your professional accomplishments and qualifications, you can create a powerful resume that will capture the attention of potential employers.

Here are some writing tips to help you craft a successful functional resume:

Writing Tips:

Start with a strong summary statement that highlights your skills and qualifications.

Use bullet points to organize your achievements and skills.

Use action words to describe your achievements and skills, such as “created”, “managed”, “designed”, etc.

Be concise and clear with your language. Avoid using overly complicated industry jargon or long sentences.

Use a standard, easy-to-read font and format your resume consistently throughout.

Next, it’s important to consider what keywords to include in your functional resume.

Keywords to Include in a Functional Resume:

Using relevant keywords can help your resume get through automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) and improve your chances of getting noticed by human recruiters.

Here are some common keywords to include in a functional resume:

  • Industry-specific skills and qualifications
  • Software and technical skills
  • Professional certifications and licenses
  • Project management experience
  • Leadership and team management skills

Remember to include any relevant keywords that match the job description, as this can increase your chances of getting selected for an interview.

Lastly, here are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a functional resume:

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Functional Resume:

Not including specific achievements or accomplishments.

Listing irrelevant work experience.

Using a generic summary statement that doesn’t match the job description.

Using buzzwords or industry jargon that may not be understood by recruiters outside of your field.

Focusing too much on job duties and not enough on accomplishments and skills.

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can create a functional resume that showcases your unique talents, accomplishments, and qualifications. Remember to highlight your skills and experience and tailor your resume to each job description to increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Examples of Functional Resumes

Functional resumes are an excellent option for job seekers who want to draw attention to their skills and abilities instead of their work history. Here are three examples to help you understand how to structure a functional resume:

Example 1: Functional Resume for a Recent Graduate

[Your Name]

Recent Graduate | Seeking Entry-Level [Industry/Position]

Motivated and enthusiastic recent graduate with a [Degree/Major] from [University/College]. Strong academic foundation in [relevant coursework/skills]. Passionate about [industry/field] and eager to apply knowledge and skills in a professional setting. Excellent communication, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities.

  • [Relevant Skill 1]
  • [Relevant Skill 2]
  • [Relevant Skill 3]
  • [Relevant Skill 4]
  • [Year of Graduation]
  • Relevant coursework: [Coursework 1], [Coursework 2], [Coursework 3]
  • [Project 1]: [Brief description and key achievements]
  • [Project 2]: [Brief description and key achievements]
  • [Project 3]: [Brief description and key achievements]

Intern, [Company/Organization]

  • Assisted with [specific tasks/responsibilities].
  • Conducted [research/analysis] to support [project/initiative].
  • Collaborated with team members to [achieve goals/outcomes].

Volunteer, [Organization]

  • Contributed to [specific tasks/responsibilities].
  • Assisted in organizing [events/activities].
  • Demonstrated strong [skill/ability] in a team environment.

Additional Skills

  • Proficient in [Software/Applications]
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail-oriented with excellent organizational abilities
  • Adaptability and willingness to learn


  • [Certification 1]
  • [Certification 2]
  • [Certification 3]
  • [Language 1]: Native proficiency
  • [Language 2]: Intermediate proficiency

Example 2: Functional Resume for Experienced Worker

Experienced Professional | [Industry/Position]

Results-driven and accomplished professional with [number of years] of experience in [industry/field]. Proven track record of success in [specific areas/achievements]. Strong leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills. Committed to driving [goals/objectives] and delivering exceptional outcomes.

Professional Experience

[Current/Previous Position], [Company/Organization]

  • [Key Responsibility/Achievement 1]
  • [Key Responsibility/Achievement 2]
  • [Key Responsibility/Achievement 3]

[Previous Position], [Company/Organization]

Additional Experience

[Related Experience 1], [Company/Organization]

[Related Experience 2], [Company/Organization]

  • Strong leadership and team management abilities
  • Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized

Formatting Your Functional Resume

When it comes to formatting your functional resume, there are key design and layout decisions you must make to present a well-organized, polished document that will catch an employer’s attention. Below are some important design guidelines, font and layout considerations, and tips for creating a professional look.

Design Guidelines

Make sure to choose a clean, easy-to-read design that is visually appealing. Use a standard paper size and keep margins at 1 inch all around. Avoid too much white space, which can make the resume look sparse, but don’t clutter the page with too much text or graphics. Sticking to a one-page format is ideal, but ensure that all relevant and important information is included.

Fonts and Layout Considerations

Your choice of font is important, as it can impact the readability of your resume. Choose a font for headings that stands out, such as Arial or Times New Roman, and use a slightly smaller font size for body text. Avoid fonts that may be harder to read, such as script or cursive styles.

In terms of layout, use bullet points to make information easy to scan and digest. Avoid long, dense paragraphs. Use headings and subheadings to organize content and lead the reader through the document. Additionally, use bolding, italicizing, or underlining to highlight important information, but use these effects sparingly.

Creating a Professional Look

In addition to adhering to design and font guidelines, there are other steps you can take to create a professional look for your functional resume. First, make sure that you have consistent formatting throughout the document. Use the same font, font size, and spacing throughout the body of the resume. This helps create a cohesive, polished look.

Secondly, don’t forget the importance of proofreading. Spelling errors, inaccuracies, or other mistakes can detract from the overall impression of your resume. After drafting your functional resume, take time to review and proofread it thoroughly to ensure that it is error-free.

Finally, consider tailoring your design and format to the job you are applying for. Review the job posting and consider the industry or company you are applying to. Adjust the layout or design elements to fit the desired “feel” of the position or organization.

By following these guidelines and tips, you can create a professional, well-organized functional resume that effectively showcases your unique skills and experience.

Tailoring Your Functional Resume to a Job Posting

When it comes to job hunting, tailoring your functional resume to a job posting is crucial. A functional resume is designed to highlight your skills and accomplishments, rather than just your work experience, which makes it a great choice for those who have gaps in their job history or who are changing careers. However, to really make your functional resume stand out, you need to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for.

Job Posting Analysis

Before you start tailoring your functional resume, you need to carefully analyze the job posting to understand what the employer is looking for. Look for keywords and phrases that are repeated throughout the posting. Pay attention to the qualifications and requirements that the employer is looking for. Think about how your skills and experience match up with what they’re looking for.

Targeted Functional Resumes

Once you’ve analyzed the job posting, it’s time to start tailoring your functional resume. Start by creating a master resume that includes all of your skills and work experience. From there, you can create targeted functional resumes for each job you apply for. Use the keywords and phrases you found in the job posting to highlight your skills and accomplishments that match up with what the employer is looking for.

As you’re creating your targeted functional resume, keep the job posting in mind. Customize your objective statement to align with the position you’re applying for. Use the same language and terminology that the employer uses in the posting. Highlight your skills and accomplishments that are most relevant to the position.

The Importance of a Tailored Functional Resume

Tailoring your functional resume to the job you’re applying for is important for a few reasons. First, it shows the employer that you’ve taken the time to research the position and understand what they’re looking for. Second, it highlights your skills and accomplishments that are most relevant to the position, which makes you a stronger candidate. Finally, it helps you stand out from the other applicants who may be using a generic functional resume.

Tailoring your functional resume to a job posting is a crucial step in your job search. By analyzing the job posting, creating targeted functional resumes, and highlighting your most relevant skills and accomplishments, you can increase your chances of standing out from the crowd and landing the job you want.

Cover Letter Writing Tips for a Functional Resume

When it comes to job hunting, a functional resume can be an effective tool to showcase your skills and qualifications. However, it’s important to remember that your cover letter also plays a crucial role in the application process. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips on how to incorporate your functional resume into your cover letter, highlight your skills and qualifications, and address any employment gaps.

Incorporating Your Functional Resume into Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter should complement your functional resume and not simply repeat information. Therefore, it’s important to think about how your skills and qualifications can be integrated into your cover letter. One effective approach is to use specific examples of how your skills and experience match the requirements of the job you’re applying for.

For example, if you’re applying for a marketing position and your functional resume highlights your experience in social media management and content creation, you could mention specific campaigns you’ve managed in your cover letter. This shows the hiring manager that you have the skills they’re looking for and have experience applying them in a professional context.

Highlighting Your Skills and Qualifications in Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a chance to really highlight your strengths as a candidate. Rather than simply listing your qualifications, take the opportunity to explain how your skills and experience make you a good fit for the position.

For example, if you’re a recent graduate with limited work experience, you could focus on your academic achievements and any relevant coursework or projects. Alternatively, if you have years of experience in a particular field, you could explain how that experience has given you a unique perspective on the job you’re applying for.

Addressing Employment Gaps in Your Cover Letter

If your functional resume includes employment gaps, it’s important to address these issues in your cover letter. Rather than trying to hide or explain away the gaps, be honest about what you were doing during that time and emphasize any skills or experience you gained.

For example, if you took a break from work to care for a family member, you could explain how that experience taught you valuable communication and organizational skills. Alternatively, if you pursued a personal project during your employment gap, you could highlight how that experience gave you new perspectives or taught you new skills.

Your cover letter offers a chance to expand on the information in your functional resume and showcase your skills and qualifications. By incorporating specific examples and addressing any employment gaps, your cover letter can help you stand out as a strong candidate for any job.

Submitting a Functional Resume

When it comes to submitting a functional resume, there are several tips and strategies that can help increase your chances of landing an interview. Additionally, it’s important to be prepared to follow up on your application and deal with rejection if necessary.

Tips for Submitting Your Functional Resume

Here are some tips for submitting your functional resume:

Customize your resume for each job application. Your functional resume should be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position.

Use keywords from the job description. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant keywords. Make sure you include keywords from the job description to increase your chances of passing the ATS screening.

Focus on achievements rather than duties. Instead of listing your job duties, highlight your accomplishments and how you added value to your previous roles. This will help the employer see the impact you can make in their organization.

Keep it concise and easy to read. A functional resume should be no longer than two pages, with clear headings and bullet points to organize the information.

Following up on Your Functional Resume

After submitting your functional resume, it’s important to follow up on your application to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position. Here are some tips for following up:

Wait a week before following up. Give the employer a chance to review your application before reaching out.

Send a brief email. Keep your follow-up email short and to the point. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest in the position.

Showcase your skills and experience. Use your follow-up email as an opportunity to highlight your relevant skills and experience, and why you’re a good fit for the job.

Be persistent but polite. If you don’t hear back after your initial follow-up, it’s okay to send another email or make a phone call. However, remain polite and professional in your communication.

Dealing with Rejection

Unfortunately, rejection is a part of the job search process. Here are some tips for handling rejection:

Don’t take it personally. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re not a qualified candidate or that you’ll never find a job. It’s simply part of the hiring process.

Ask for feedback. If possible, ask the employer for feedback on why you weren’t selected for the position. This can help you improve your resume and job search strategy moving forward.

Keep a positive attitude. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated during the job search process. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.

Submitting a functional resume can be an effective way to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers.

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How to Write a Functional Resume (with Example)

Resumes are usually the first impression you will make on a recruiter or a hiring manager, and you may be asking yourself: How can I make it count?

One of the best ways to make a good impression is to use the right format in your resume. While many resumes use the chronological order structure, there are other formats you can use, like the functional structure.

Find your bootcamp match

In this article, we’re going to discuss what functional resumes are, who should use the functional resume approach, and how a functional resume is structured.

What is a Functional Resume?

The goal of any resume is to highlight your experience and qualifications for a job. In a functional resume, the focus is on your skills and experience as opposed to your work history.

The main difference between a functional resume and a chronological resume is that you will list your skills more prominently on your resume. Functional resumes highlight the actual skills you have acquired and often include examples of how you have used a particular skill.

Who Should Use a Functional Resume?

There are three types of people who can benefit from using a functional resume.

First, if you have gaps between jobs, you may want to use a functional resume. This is because functional resumes put an emphasis on skills and don’t require you to create a complete timeline between your past work experiences.

Second, if you are still starting in your career, functional resumes can be useful. Focusing more on your skills and how you have used them is a good way to demonstrate your value to an employer because you may lack work experience.

Third, functional resumes are useful for people who are switching careers. When you are writing a resume as a career changer, you may have no relevant experience to list. So to impress an employer, you may want to put more of an emphasis on your soft skills, such as organization and management, to help them learn more about what qualifies you for a job.

The most popular resume structure used today is the chronological resume, which lists your work experience in order of most recent to least recent. Some resumes use the combination structure, which highlights skills and then work experience. But, if you meet one of the above three profiles, a functional resume may be best for you.

How to Write a Functional Resume

If you’ve decided that a functional resume makes sense for you, you’re ready to start writing one. Here is the structure you should follow to write a functional resume:

Section #1: Contact Information

The first section in any resume should be your contact information. State your full name, email address, phone number, and any other relevant information you feel an employer should have about you.

An employer will likely already have some of this on-file, as you will have been asked for your name and email in the application process. However, providing it on your resume makes it easier for an employer to reach out to you. This may increase the likelihood of their contacting you to schedule an interview.

Section #2: Summary

While writing a summary is optional, it is a good way to highlight the main skills and experiences that you think qualify you for a position. In your summary, you should mention what skills are relevant to the job for which you are applying and any experience you have related to the job.

Section #3: Skills

The next section in a functional resume is the skills section. This is where you will talk about the specific skills you have acquired.

To help you decide what skills to mention, you should read over the job description and look out for any keywords. For instance, if a job description mentions “creative thinking” as a core skill needed to do the job, you may want to list it on your resume if you possess this skill.

Ideally, you should list four or five main skills on your resume. Then, you should back up each of these skills with a few examples. Try to provide examples relevant to the position because doing so will make it easier for an employer to evaluate whether your experience qualifies you for a job.

It can also be helpful to mention statistics when discussing your skills. This allows you to show a recruiter or a hiring manager what skills you have, rather than just tell them.

Section #4: Work Experience

Once you have discussed your skills, you should list your work experience, especially any positions relevant to the job for which you are applying.

In a functional resume, your work experience section will likely be shorter than it would be if you used another structure. This is because the emphasis in a functional resume is on skills, not work experience.

Make a list of the companies for which you have worked, and include one or two goals you reached in each position. You should avoid mentioning the dates at which you worked in a position if you have gaps between jobs that you don’t want to expose.

Section #5: Education

The final section on your functional resume should be your educational history. This section should list all the main educational experiences relevant to the job.

If you graduated from college, you’ll want to list that on your resume; if you are a high school graduate, you will want to list where you attended high school.

In this section, you may also opt to discuss any courses you have taken that are related to the position you’re applying for. For instance, if you participated in a leadership course in your last job, you should mention it on your resume.

Functional Resume Example

If you have never written a functional resume before, you may be looking for an example that can help guide you. Below is an example of a functional resume that you can use as inspiration when writing your resume.

Shaun Carlton

123 Main Street

Venus profile photo

"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"

Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot

San Francisco, CA 94102


[email protected]

Retail assistant with over two years of experience providing friendly assistance to customers in the electronics department of a superstore. Passionate about helping strangers and resolving customer pain points.

Customer Service

Provided a high quality of customer service to people who visited our store. Assisted customers in finding products that met their needs, understanding the technical specifics behind different products, and comparing technologies. Helped boost store electronics sales by 10% in one quarter after taking lead of a technology assistance help desk.

Problem Solving

Helped customers resolve technical problems and issues navigating the store. Provided hands-on assistance on how to use new technologies, resolved help desk support tickets, and processed the returns for faulty or damaged technology.


Worked to identify customer needs and find the products that met those needs. Used communication skills to coordinate the technology sales team and ensure that all customers were being attended to in a timely manner. Hosted a daily standup for technology sales associated which helped boost sales in the technology department by 5% each quarter.

Spencer’s SuperRetail

Retail Assistant: Resolved customer inquiries, advised customers on technology to purchase, helped improve sales processes for new technologies.

Johnson’s Retail

Retail Assistant: Greeted customers with a helpful attitude, answered questions regarding inventory sales and promotions, offered ideas to increase product appeal.

Greenwood High School, 2012-2017

In Conclusion

While the functional resume format may not be as common as chronological resumes, if you lack experience, have gaps in your resume, or are changing careers, using a functional resume can be a great way to show your skills.

Functional resumes focus on the specific skills you have acquired that qualify you for a job, rather than your past work experience. Functional resumes include a few examples of how you used a particular skill, which helps an employer better evaluate whether you are the right fit for a given position.

By following the tips in this guide, you’ll have no trouble writing a functional resume that catches the attention of an employer. Soon enough, you’ll be called in for an interview to discuss your skills and experience!

About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication .

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Everything You Need to Know About Functional Resumes

Published: June 21, 2023

Not sure how to make your resume really pop? Wondering how to highlight your skills and experience, despite any possible gaps? You might benefit from a functional resume.

marketer holds a functional resume

Luckily, this article closely examines everything you need to know about functional resumes, including what they are, when to use them, and the benefits they offer.

So, whether you’re new in the workforce, changing careers, or have experienced some time unemployed, a functional resume can help you attract potential employers.

What is a functional resume?

The benefits of functional resumes, when to use a functional resume, limitations of functional resumes, how to write a functional resume, functional resume examples.

Unlike a traditional, chronological resume, a functional resume focuses on your skills and experience — not just your work history.

So, instead of focusing on companies, roles, and dates of employment, it groups things like your marketing experience together, presenting a collection of relevant experiences and skills.

It’s great if you’re changing careers or have a gap in your work history, as it steers attention away from dates and underscores why you’re a great fit for the role.

Plus, functional resumes begin with an objective or summary statement that sets the tone. Then it highlights your skills, accomplishments, and education.

The result is a much more targeted, customized resume that reflects your strengths and qualifications.

It’s probably clear right now — functional resumes are pretty great. Still, this deserves to be broken down into specifics. Here are the four main, undeniable advantages of functional resumes:

1. Highlights relevant skills and accomplishments.

When applying for a job, a functional resume highlights skills and accomplishments related to the position. It emphasizes your most relevant skills, even if they weren't acquired in a traditional workplace.

2. Overcomes employment gaps.

Another benefit of a functional resume is that it can help overcome employment gaps.

So, for instance, if you’ve taken time off or had a period of unemployment, a functional resume leads with the good, so the gap isn’t as much of a heavy hitter.

3. Allows for flexibility.

You can also present your qualifications in a more flexible way with a functional resume. For example, you can group your skills and accomplishments under specific headings, like "project management" or "leadership experience.”

It makes it easier for employers to find the relevant bits they’re looking for quickly.

4. Stands out from the crowd.

Here’s something else a functional resume can do better than the rest: help you stand out. It’s easy to do when basically everyone else is using the standard one.

So with a functional resume, you can show that you’re not only willing to try different, innovative approaches but also that you can think creatively.

A functional resume is great if you’re looking for a way to underscore skills and accomplishments in a tailored way that fits the role you’re applying for.

It considers everything you’ve learned, even in non-traditional formats, making it a genius solution if you have employment gaps.

A functional resume may be right for you if you fit into any of these categories:

  • When you have limited work experience. A functional resume can help you highlight your relevant skills and accomplishments if you're a recent graduate or have limited work experience in your field.
  • When changing careers. A functional resume can help you showcase your transferrable skills that can apply to your new career path if you're changing careers.
  • When returning to the workforce. A functional resume emphasizes your skills and experience rather than just your work history.
  • When job requirements are specific. A functional resume can help you highlight specific qualifications and skills clearly and concisely from a job posting.

A functional resume highlights your relevant skills, accomplishments, and experiences — even with a limited work history. However, pay close attention to the roles you’re applying for.

Functional resumes only work for some applications, so make sure you research the company first before deciding which type of resume to use. Here are three instances where you might want to skip using a functional resume.

Sizable Work History

Some people are just super lucky — and you might be one of them. If you’ve been working consistently in your field, with role after role of relevant jobs and experience building, then you’re better off using a chronological resume.

You have the dates, roles, and skills to showcase. You don’t need a functional resume to help you fill in any gaps.

ATS Compatibility

With the sheer amount of resumes floating around out there, it’s no wonder some companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter candidates. However, ATS doesn’t play nice with resumes that don't follow a traditional structure.

So, even if you’re more than qualified for a role, the recruiters might never see your resume.

Employer Preferences

Also, keep in mind employer or industry preferences. Some hiring managers prefer traditional resumes, so using a functional format may hurt your chances.

Before deciding which format to use, research the company and job posting. It’ll help you tailor your resume to meet their expectations and present you in the best possible light.

If you've decided that a functional resume is the best choice for your situation, here's a step-by-step guide to help you create one.

1. Start with a strong summary statement.

Start your resume on the right foot with a summary statement showcasing your skills, qualifications, and experience.

It's important to customize this section to the specific job you're applying for so that it provides a brief overview of why you're a great fit for the position. This statement should capture the hiring manager's attention and entice them to continue reading your resume.

2. Identify your key skills.

Once you finish that, the next step is to list the skills you want to emphasize in your resume. This section should showcase your technical and soft skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for.

Demonstrating how you have applied these skills in the past helps the hiring manager understand your skills. So highlight your key strengths — it’ll help you show why you’re the best candidate for the job.

3. Organize your skills into sections.

After identifying your top skills, organize them into clear sections that make sense for your work history and your desired job.

For example, you could divide your skills into Technical Skills, Leadership Experience, or Project Management Skills sections. This allows the hiring manager to quickly and easily identify the areas where you excel and can help you stand out as a highly qualified candidate.

4. Provide supporting examples.

When detailing your skills within each section of the resume, provide concrete examples of how you've applied those skills in real-life situations.

Include specific projects you’ve worked on, notable achievements you've accomplished, or other relevant experiences that demonstrate your proficiency in that particular skill.

5. Include your work history.

Even though a functional resume may not focus heavily on your work history, providing a brief overview of your employment background is necessary.

You should list your job titles, the names of the companies you worked for, the dates of employment, and a concise description of your responsibilities and notable achievements in each position.

6. Tailor your resume to the job posting.

Ultimately, it's essential to customize your functional resume to the specific job. So brush up on the role, company, and industry.

Then use your research to adjust your summary statement, reorder your skill sections, or incorporate different examples that emphasize the most relevant experiences for each position.

By tailoring your resume to the job posting, you can improve your chances of capturing the attention of hiring managers and securing an interview.

Here are three functional resume templates to give you an idea of what your own resume could look like.

The Blended Resume

Functional resume example, specialist resume

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The Functional Resume: What It Is & When To Use It (Spoiler: Never)

Kayte Grady

3 key takeaways

  • What a functional resume is
  • How using this resume format might put you at a disadvantage
  • How to use Teal's resume templates (+ functional resume examples)

Considering a functional resume format because your skills outweigh your work experience?

A functional resume focuses on specific skills rather than roles and companies—moving away from a traditional or chronological resume layout. And while it sounds like a good strategy if you're looking to highlight certain abilities, using a functional resume still requires some consideration. 

What is a functional resume?

A functional resume (sometimes called a skills-based resume format) focuses on the skills that qualify you for a role. This resume format prioritizes the tools and aptitudes you've used to do the job over where and when you've done it. 

A functional resume example

Teal Note: We can provide guidance for building a functional resume, but this resume template doesn't exist in the Teal platform.

As the workforce evolves, functional resumes have become increasingly popular—but not universally accepted; the trend toward functional resumes is more prevalent among job seekers than hiring professionals. Here's why:

By emphasizing transferable skills and abilities, a functional resume allows anyone with a non-linear career path or limited work experience to present areas of strengths and potential rather than a job history.

But while the core of a functional resume emphasizes skills and competencies, it doesn't focus on:

  • Comprehensive work history 

Recruiting expert and Teal Social Media Manager Leah Dillon says:

"Anyone can list a skill, but just listing it doesn’t add value. It’s about showcasing that skill through experience, whether at a company or independently: How do you know it? How did you use it to have an impact alongside other skills?"

The elements above are critical for hiring professionals to assess your qualifications, especially during the initial screening. Direct, relevant experience, reflected through a clear timeline and job titles, is crucial to many job requirements.

Dillon echos this sentiment:

"Companies are looking for people to help drive the business forward, and those who showcase they’ve helped drive initiatives along tend to have higher interview rates."

Disadvantages of a functional resume

  • Lack of familiarity:  Recruiters may find a functional resume less intuitive, making it harder to extract critical information quickly.
  • Potential for skepticism:  The absence of a chronological work history can look like an attempt to hide gaps in employment or a lack of specific experience.
  • Difficulty establishing career progression:  Demonstrating professional growth over time is often key to emphasizing the evolution of roles and responsibilities.
  • Limited skills showcase: Functional resumes miss the opportunity to show the breadth of your abilities. A range of skills throughout your resume will help align your experience with a job's requirements. Merely listing skills without showing how they've been applied collectively to have an impact undermines the effectiveness of your entire resume.

Functional resumes vs. other resume formats

Chronological resume.

A chronological resume (or reverse-chronological resume ) is the most widely accepted resume format—presenting your work history in reverse chronological order.

It offers a straightforward view of your career progression, highlighting your work experience and making it easy for hiring managers and recruiters to see your background, achievements, and how you've used your skills to have an impact over time.

Use a chronological resume to show a clear view of your career, impact, and skills.

View our full selection of free reverse-chronological resume templates to find a style and presentation that suits your career.

Combination resume

The combination resume , or hybrid, blends elements of both functional and chronological resumes while still offering a clear and easy-to-read layout. It typically starts with a professional summary, followed by a section for hard or technical skills, and then a reverse chronological listing of your work history. 

functional resumes focus on

When to use a functional resume

If you've made it this far and still feel the best resume format is a skills-based resume, here are the best use cases.

Career pivoters

Suppose you're transitioning to a new industry or career path. In that case, a functional resume can help highlight transferable skills relevant to your new field—regardless of where you've acquired them.

Those with employment gaps

If you have a gap in your employment, you can use a functional resume to emphasize your skills, highlighting what you bring to the table rather than focusing on your employment history.

Reentering the workforce

If you're returning to work after a significant break, a functional resume can help you highlight your relevant, valuable skills.

First-time job seekers

If you're a job seeker creating a resume with no work experience , a functional resume format focuses on skills rather than a non-existent or thin work history.

For applications that request this format

Some job postings might request a functional resume. In these cases, sticking to this format shows you can follow directions and understand the specific preferences of your prospective employer.

How to write a functional resume

Before you choose a resume format, you need the  right  tool to store your skills, achievements, and more. 

The Teal  AI Resume Builder  is a free platform to house all these details in one central location. 

A screenshot showing what professional details are stored in the Teal AI Resume Builder

Now, it's time to write your functional resume.

1. Start with your contact information

You want prospective employers to contact you, so you're going to need to give them those details as clearly as possible.

Your resume contact information should include:

  • Phone Number
  • Professional email address
  • LinkedIn profile URL 
  • Portfolio or personal website URL (if applicable)
  • Your target title

2. Add a professional summary

Below your contact information, write a 3-5 sentence professional summary. Consider this your highlight reel—zeroing in on top achievements, skills, and qualifications while generating enough interest to keep the hiring manager or recruiter reading the rest of your resume.

Pro Tip: If you want to save time writing your professional summary, try Teal’s AI Resume Summary Generator to write tailored, position-specific summaries in seconds.

3. List relevant skills

Next up, list your skills. Because you're using a functional resume format, this section will change each time you apply for a specific role.

The skills in your resume (regardless of format) should  always  align with the job description of the role you're applying to.

Resume skills example: 

If a job description says,

"3 years of experience in an SEO, Growth Ops, or Marketing Ops role, ideally in a startup environment for a B2C audience with strong knowledge building and owning workflows as it relates to SEO, content production, and publishing."

Then, your resume's "Skill" section should focus on at least three skills listed. 

  • Content Production

Not sure which skills matter most? Teal's got you covered. The Teal AI Resume Builder pulls the top skills as keywords from any job description, so you know which ones matter most.

A graphic showing how the Teal Resume Builder highlights skills in job descriptions

Once you've identified the top three skills in the job description, add three to five bullet points beneath each to showcase  how  you used that skill to have impact.

Using the job description above, here's a functional resume example of how this might look.

  • Orchestrated a growth ops strategy, successfully improving SEO workflow efficiency by 25%
  • Led a team in implementing growth op practices, increasing web traffic by 35%
  • Redesigned growth op workflows, improving content production and publishing by 20% 

4. Add optional sections

Once you have your primary skills and the impact of those skills, add job history, an "Education" section, and certifications to support them.

4 tips for writing a functional resume

Now that you understand how to write a functional resume let's go over some best practices that'll help guide you.

  • Only emphasize relevant skills : Identify the skills most relevant to the job you’re applying for and provide specific examples of how you used those skills.
  • Quantify your achievements : Wherever possible, use numbers, metrics, and data to show the impact of your work. Think efficiency improvements, revenue growth, etc.
  • Use a clear, organized layout : Ensure your resume is easy to read. Use headings, bullet points, and consistent formatting to make your skills and achievements stand out.
  • Tailor your resume : Customize your target title, resume summary, skills, and bullet points—ensuring your content aligns with what an employer is looking for.

Functional resume format

The functional resume layout differs significantly from other traditional formats. Here's how to do it:

  • Contact details
  • Your resume summary
  • A clear "Skills" section with achievements relevant to the role

If you include an employment history, place it after the skills section. Education and any other relevant details (certifications or volunteer experience) should come last.

3 tips for formatting a functional resume

  • Provide clarity: Use a clean, easy-to-read layout. Opt for bullet points to describe your skills and achievements, making the resume scannable.
  • Use consistent formatting : Your resume content should stick to one font style and size, with clear and slightly larger or bolded headings to distinguish each section.
  • Balance white space and text: A well-balanced layout avoids clutter, making your resume clear and easy to read.

Functional resume examples

A functional resume example can help guide your process—giving you a clear idea of how to create a compelling functional resume.

Data analyst functional resume example

A functional resume example for a data analyst

Software engineer skills-based resume sample

A skills-based resume example for a software engineer

Project manager functional resume example

A functional resume example for a project manager

Functional resume templates

A free functional resume template can be a valuable tool in writing your resume.

Functional resume templates provide a structured layout so you can effectively showcase your skills and their impact.

Websites like Teal, Canva, Google, and Microsoft offer a variety of resume templates . These platforms are user-friendly, and their simple resume templates cater to different career needs and styles.

How to use skills-based resume templates

1. Copy the template into your editing software : Copy and paste (or download the template) in your preferred editing software.

functional resumes focus on

2. Customize each section : Replace any placeholder text with your own details. Focus heavily on the skills section, making sure to highlight only skills that are 100% relevant to the job you're applying for.

A screenshot of how to edit resume details in Teal

3. Adjust the design : While the template provides a basic structure, feel free to make minor adjustments to the design. (This could include changing font sizes or styles, adjusting the layout of sections, or adding a small pop of color. Just be mindful to keep it easy to read.)

A screenshot of Teal's design mode

4. Proofread and edit : Make sure your resume is free of errors like placeholder text and the information is current and accurate.

A screnshot of Teal's spelling and grammar tool.

Skills-based resume templates

Below are some free skills-based resume templates that provide a solid foundation for you to start from. Use them as a guide for showcasing your unique skills and experiences effectively.

Student skills-based resume template

[Full Name]

[Contact Information]

[Target Title]

Professional Summary

[Highly motivated and detail-oriented student] pursuing a [Bachelor's/Master's] degree in [Field of Study] with a strong foundation in [Key Skills]. Experienced in [mention any relevant internships, part-time jobs, or projects with impact] and passionate about [specific interest within the field].

[Relevant Skill]

  • Achievement with impact

[Bachelor's/Master's] in [Field of Study]

[University Name], [Expected Year of Graduation]

Coursework (Optional)

[Course] - [Brief description]

Recent graduate functional resume template

[Energetic and motivated recent graduate] with a [Bachelor's/Master's] degree in [Field of Study] from [University Name]. I have excellent [Key Skills] and am eager to apply academic knowledge and [internship/academic project with results] experience to contribute effectively to [industry/role]. Strong [relevant soft skills] and a quick learner, ready to excel in a [specific field/role].

[University Name], [Year of Graduation]

Projects (Optional)

  • [Project Title] - [Brief description and outcome]

Career pivot skills-based resume template

[Experienced professional in [previous career] with a strong foundation in [relevant skills] and a passion for [new career/industry]. Seeking to leverage [transferable skills] to transition into a [target role/industry]. Accomplished in [mention at least one relevant achievement with impact] and committed to achieving success in [new career/industry].


[Certification] - [Organization]

Professional Experience

[Previous Job Title] | [Previous Company], [Years of Experience]

  • [Any relevant achievements]

Create and manage your resume with Teal

While functional resumes showcase specific skills, they also have limitations.

Their format, which deviates from the traditional chronological layout, is less familiar and more challenging for hiring professionals to navigate. This unfamiliarity may lead to difficulty in quickly assessing what you bring to the table—leaving you at a disadvantage compared to other candidates.

A chronological or hybrid resume might be a better option if you're looking for a more easily recognized approach. These formats are more familiar and provide a clear, linear view of your skills and how you used them over time to have an impact.

If you're ready to grab (and hold!) the attention of hiring managers and recruiters with a holistic view of your skills and experience—one they can easily follow and appreciate—it's time to get started:

Frequently Asked Questions

Do employers like functional resumes.

Employers typically don't prefer functional resumes because they can obscure chronological work history and specific job titles. Unless a functional resume format is specifically requested, try to use a chronological or combination resume format instead.

What is a functional skills resume?

A functional skills resume focuses on skills and experiences rather than chronological work history, highlighting your top competencies.

When should you not use a functional resume?

You should not use a functional resume when applying to roles that require a clear understanding of your work history and progression.

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Kayte Grady

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What Is a Functional Resume?

Definition & Examples of Functional Resumes

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Maddy Price / The Balance

A functional resume focuses on skills and experience rather than on your chronological work history. It's typically used by job seekers who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.

Learn more about functional resumes and how to develop one.

What Is a Functional Resume? 

A functional resume showcases an applicant's skills. It may start with a summary of qualifications followed by a list of a candidate's skills and examples of using those skills.

For example, you might list "Leadership" as a skill, then follow that with examples of when you've shown leadership. For example, you might say, "Managed the sales department of five staff members. Increased sales by 25% in six months."

This is different from a  traditional, chronological resume  that displays a timeline of your work experience with brief explanations of each job. As a result, the focus is shifted from job titles and the amount of time that has passed to the actual skills you possess.

Another resume option is a combination resume , which uses a chronological format but highlights the skills you showed in each position.

How a Functional Resume Works

A functional resume draws attention away from items that a hiring manager might find problematic. It de-emphasizes gaps in your work history or the fact that you're making a significant career change.

A functional resume is less commonly used than a chronological resume, which recruiters and interviewers generally prefer. If you don't have a reason for using a functional resume, opt for a chronological one.   Additionally, some applicant tracking software programs reject resumes without a chronological work history.  

Writing a Functional Resume

Here's how to approach writing a functional resume:

  • Start with a resume summary : Consider including a resume summary  at the beginning of your resume, which is a brief statement that highlights your most relevant qualifications. This sets the tone for how the employer sees you (and your resume) right from the start.
  • Organize by theme : When writing a functional resume, use themes like skills or qualifications. For example, you might group skills under “Recruiting Experience” or “Customer Service Experience.” By grouping your skills together, the employer can more easily see whether you have the right skills for the job, even if your work history isn't directly related to the position.
  • Use keywords : Use keywords from the job description in your resume. Keywords are words or phrases that relate to the job requirements, and you can use the job posting for a guide to which words to use. Use keywords as the titles for your subheadings or in the bulleted lists where you describe your skills and accomplishments in more detail.
  • Mention relevant projects : Include any personal or professional projects that are related to the job. Projects demonstrate your success in developing and completing tasks.
  • Include your employment history : Placing this section at the bottom of your resume helps the employer focus more on your skills than your work history.
  • Write a strong cover letter : Use your cover letter to expand on the skills and abilities you have that make you a strong candidate for the position. This will help lessen any concerns the employer might have about your work history.

Example of a Functional Resume

This is an example of a functional resume. Download the resume template to develop your own resume.

Functional Resume Example (Text Version)

Jose Applicant 321 Jackson Street San Jose, CA 55555 (123) 456-7890


Successful track record in the blood-banking care environment

Results-oriented, high-energy, hands-on professional with skills in management, quality assurance, program development, training, and customer service.

Key skills include:

  • Blood banking
  • Quality assurance
  • AABB accreditation
  • Compliant with FDA cGMP



  • Facilitated educational projects from 2018-2020 for Northern California blood centers.
  • Assisted team members in veni-punctures, donor reaction care, and providing licensed staffing to extend their duties by managing the blood services regulations documentation (BSDs) while assigned to the self-contained blood mobile unit (SCU).
  • Provided daily operational review/quality control of education accountability as it relates to imposed government regulatory requirements in a medical environment.


  • Successfully supervised contract support for six AT&T Broadband systems located in the Bay Area prior to a career in phlebotomy. Managed scheduling, quality control, payroll, special projects, and evaluations to ensure proper end-of-line and demarcation signal.
  • Reduced employee turnover, introduced two-way communication to field employees, enhanced employee appearance, and spearheaded the expansion of employee (health) benefits.
  • Chief point of contact for the AT&T telephone and the ABC-affiliated TV stations as related to complaints and diagnosing communication problems either at the site or remote broadcasting.



  • Associate of Applied Science in EKG-Phlebotomy, 2017

Key Takeaways

  • A functional resume focuses on your skills and experience rather than on your chronological work history.
  • It may be a good fit for those with employment gaps or who are changing careers. 
  • On a functional resume, list your skills and specific examples of how you used those skills. 
  • Include your work experience at the end of the resume.

Business News Daily. " How Do Functional Resumes Compare to Chronological Resumes? " Accessed June 28, 2020.

CareerOneStop. " Select the Best Format ." Accessed June 28, 2020.

functional resumes focus on

Exploring the 6 Different Types of Resumes

N avigating through the job market requires an impressive resume, one that highlights your skills, experience and achievements effectively. It's the initial step towards getting noticed by recruiters, and it often determines whether you'll move to the next stage of the hiring process.

The right resume format doesn't just present your qualifications but does so in a manner that aligns with your career goals and the specific job you're targeting.

This guide explores the different types of resumes and their unique features, helping you choose the format that best suits your professional profile.

Do I need a resume?

In the realm of job hunting, a resume is more than just a document — it's a marketing tool, a bridge that connects job seekers to potential employers. Its role is pivotal as it provides a concise and compelling snapshot of your professional journey. It encapsulates your work history, skills, accomplishments and unique qualities that make you an ideal candidate for the job.

Moreover, the importance of a well-structured resume is heightened due to the use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in the recruitment process. These automated software applications streamline the hiring process for employers by filtering out resumes that don't meet specific criteria.

A poorly formatted resume, or one that doesn't include key terms relevant to the job description, may fail to make it past these systems. Hence, understanding different types of resumes and the strategic use of keywords are vital steps toward crafting an ATS-friendly resume that gets you closer to your dream job.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Writing the Perfect Resume

What different types of resumes exist?

While every resume shares the common goal of selling your professional abilities, not all resumes are the same. Each type has its unique structure, purpose and benefits.

Here are the different types of resumes:

1. Chronological resume

The chronological resume, or reverse chronological resume, is a time-tested format favored by many hiring managers. This format presents your work history in reverse chronological order, with the most recent job listed first and the rest following in descending order.

In a chronological resume, each job listing typically includes the job title, the company's name, the company's location and the dates of employment. Following this information, a list of job responsibilities and accomplishments is given in bullet points. This allows hiring managers to see at a glance not only where you've worked but also what you've achieved in those roles.

This format works particularly well for job seekers with a clear career progression in a single field without significant gaps in employment. It allows recruiters to quickly see the career trajectory and understand how the applicant's experience fits with the new role.

2. Functional resume

A functional resume, also known as a skills-based resume, places the focus on skills and competencies rather than work history. This type of resume usually begins with a summary of qualifications, followed by a list of skills and examples of their use in work or other settings.

The employment history is typically listed towards the end of the resume, often providing only a basic list of positions without detailed descriptions of each role.

This format can be particularly useful for job seekers with gaps in their employment history, those who are changing careers and have skills transferable to a new industry or recent graduates with limited work experience but possess relevant skills acquired through coursework, internships or extracurricular activities.

Related: How to Build a Better Resume in 4 Easy Steps

3. Combination resume

The combination resume, or hybrid resume, merges elements from both chronological and functional resumes. It typically begins with a section highlighting your skills and achievements. This is followed by a detailed chronological work history.

This format allows you to showcase your relevant skills and accomplishments at the top of the document, helping to catch the hiring manager's eye. Following this with a chronological listing of your employment history allows the recruiter to see your work trajectory and understand the context in which you've applied your skills.

The combination resume can be effective for job seekers with a solid employment history who want to change fields or those with a robust set of transferable skills and experiences across multiple sectors.

4. Targeted resume

A targeted resume is tailored specifically to a particular job posting. Instead of a generic resume sent to multiple employers, a targeted resume aligns your skills, experience and qualifications precisely with the job description. Each section of your resume, from the objective statement to the employment history, is customized to highlight why you are the perfect fit for the specific role.

This format can be more time-consuming to create as it requires tweaking your resume for every job application. However, it can pay off, especially when applying for jobs in highly competitive industries. A well-tailored resume can stand out among a sea of generic resumes and increase your chances of securing an interview.

5. Infographic resume

An infographic resume visually presents your career history and skills using charts, graphs, images and other graphic design elements. This format can make your resume stand out and show your creativity and innovative thinking.

Infographic resumes can be particularly effective in fields such as graphic design, marketing and other creative industries. However, it's essential to remember that some applicant tracking systems (ATS) may struggle to read and process these types of resumes, so if you're applying through an ATS, it's better to stick with a more traditional format.

6. Non-traditional resumes

Non-traditional resumes break away from the standard formats and allow for more creativity. These may include video resumes, LinkedIn resumes, digital portfolios, personal websites or social resumes.

Non-traditional resumes can demonstrate your skills in a way that traditional resumes may not, such as showcasing your video editing skills through a video resume or your web design skills through a personal website.

Just as with the infographic resume, if you're applying through an ATS, a more traditional resume format would be better. Non-traditional resumes are typically best when sent directly to a hiring manager or when you're working in a creative industry that values innovative presentation.

Each of these resume formats has its strengths and is best suited to specific situations. Carefully consider your career goals, work history and the needs of the job you're applying for when choosing your resume format.

What circumstances should you consider in resume writing?

Crafting a resume can sometimes present unique challenges based on personal circumstances. Here are a few special scenarios and how to handle them:

Writing a resume for a career change

If you're making a career change, your resume should highlight transferable skills and any relevant certifications. Although your work history might not be directly related to the new field, showcasing your adaptable skills can convince hiring managers of your suitability for the role.

Handling employment gaps

Employment gaps can often be a concern for job seekers. However, these can be managed strategically on a resume. Use the space to highlight any productive activities during the gap, such as volunteer work , courses or freelance projects.

What is a mini resume?

A mini resume is a brief summary of your top skills and career highlights. It's often used for networking purposes, perhaps on a business card or LinkedIn summary. It offers an at-a-glance overview of your professional qualifications.

Related: 7 Tips for Networking

What are some additional components of a job application?

Apart from a well-structured resume, a few more elements add to the strength of your job application:

Cover letter

A cover letter serves as an introduction and provides context to your resume. It allows you to elaborate on certain points in your resume and express your enthusiasm for the job.

Just like your resume, your cover letter should be tailored to the specific job you're applying for, focusing on how your skills and experience make you an ideal candidate.

The job title on your resume can significantly influence its appeal to hiring managers. It should accurately reflect your role and responsibilities while aligning with the industry norms. Misrepresenting a job title can be detrimental to your application and professional reputation.

ATS-friendly resumes

Incorporating relevant keywords and phrases from the job description into your resume can enhance its visibility in an applicant tracking system (ATS). ATS-friendly resumes are concise, straightforward and void of complex formatting, ensuring they can be read and understood by the system.

Related: 3 Ways an ATS Can Help Your Business Source the Top Hires

What are resume builders and resume templates?

With a plethora of resources available, creating an attractive and professional resume has never been easier. Resume builders are online tools that provide step-by-step guidance to generate a well-structured resume. They offer various templates, customization options and pre-written phrases to assist you in the process.

On the other hand, resume templates serve as a predesigned framework for your resume. They come in numerous styles and formats, allowing you to choose one that aligns with your personal taste and the industry's standards.

While these tools simplify the resume creation process, remember to personalize your resume and reflect your unique professional journey accurately. A tailored resume stands out more to hiring managers than a generic, cookie-cutter one.

What are some tips for effective resume writing?

No matter which resume format you choose, following certain writing tips can optimize your resume:

Highlight relevant experience

The most effective resume isn't necessarily the one that includes all your experiences but the one that strategically highlights the most relevant ones. Avoid detailing every job you've had and focus on the ones that matter to the job you're applying for.

Include a skills section

A well-crafted skills section can be a game-changer, particularly for functional or combination resumes. Here, include hard (technical) and soft skills relevant to the job. Be specific; instead of saying "good communicator," consider "experienced in public speaking and client presentations."

Use bullet points

Use bullet points for easy readability. They help break down information into digestible pieces, ensuring that key points don't get lost in dense paragraphs. Remember to write bullet points as complete sentences with periods at the end, following our client's style preference.

Include a resume summary or objective

The top of your resume should contain a summary or an objective, a brief snapshot of your qualifications. This section should be concise yet impactful, as it's likely the first thing a hiring manager will read.

Looking forward

Crafting the perfect resume is an evolving process that may require several drafts and iterations. While these different types of resumes and their corresponding tips provide a general guideline, remember that there's no one-size-fits-all solution. The most effective resume will be the one that best showcases your unique skills, experiences and career goals.

Always revisit and revise your resume for each job application, ensuring it aligns with the specific job requirements and expectations. With a well-structured, compelling resume, you're one step closer to securing that dream job.

Explore for more insights and resources to guide your professional journey.

Exploring the 6 Different Types of Resumes


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    Build Your Resume. Resume Builder offers free, HR-approved resume templates to help you create a professional resume in minutes. 1. Craft an outstanding profile with a summary of your functional qualifications. On a functional resume, your professional profile should only focus on relevant skills.

  18. Functional Resumes: Tips, Steps, Sample and Advantages

    Here are some basic steps you can follow to create a great functional resume: 1. Create your header. In many professional documents, especially resumes, it is important to have a header with your full name in clear, bold letters. This enables employers and hiring managers to identify and keep track of your application package easily.

  19. Functional Resume Template and Why Recruiters Hate This

    The functional resume format focuses on skills and abilities, not work experience. That's why it's also called a skills-based resume. In this format, your work experience is listed with minimal detail at the bottom of the resume. When to use a functional resume format. A functional resume can be used in the following instances:

  20. Exploring the 6 Different Types of Resumes

    Functional resume. A functional resume, also known as a skills-based resume, places the focus on skills and competencies rather than work history. This type of resume usually begins with a summary ...