A functional resume format showcases your professional skills and downplays the specifics of your work experience. This resume is about skills on all sections of the resume, your summary and work history sections included.
This resume format is advantageous for these reasons:
- Also known as a "skills-based" resume, it allows you to present your hard, soft and technical abilities in multiple ways by utilizing such sections as a summary of skills, qualifying skills and relevant skills.
- Takes a skills-first approach in telling the story of your professional experience to showcase your accomplishments, regardless of the employer, title or time in position.
Who Should Write One?
The functional resume is the perfect format for these types of job seekers:
- Entry-Level Job Seekers With Little or No Work History
Entry-level job seekers can have great qualifications, even if they lack work experience. Illuminate your strongest skill sets from school and part-time work in a functional format. Group your skills by type. Include four to five examples of your most relevant achievements and experiences within each skills grouping.
- Job Seekers Who Are Changing Careers
If you’re changing careers, it’s often difficult to relate your previous job titles to a new industry. A functional resume can help you emphasize relevant qualifications and achievements rather than specific job duties. Focus on transferable skills that benefit the employer.
- Applicants with Employment Gaps
Most employers don’t like to see large employment gaps, which the chronological and combination resumes highlight. A functional resume format, however, allows you to downplay those gaps by focusing on particularly strong skill sets and accomplishments relevant to the position for which you are applying.
If none of these situations match your work experience, consider using the chronological or combination resume formats to highlight your career progression.
How to Write One
Understanding the “must-have” skills an employer expects is key to writing a job-ready functional resume. Review the job description to determine how to best approach writing about your skills in two primary sections of your resume. Use your summary statement and, of course, your skills section to put your best foot forward. Your work history is a no-frills, factual record of employment.
A well-written summary statement should inform employers of who you are and what value you can bring to the company. This section should be concise — just two to four sentences or lines — and prove that you will benefit the team. Summary statements don’t include pronouns, so don’t use “I” anywhere.
Insider Writing Tip: Make Your Summary About Qualifications
Use your summary statement to list your qualifications by highlighting a few skills sought by the employer. For example, if the employer seeks a “dedicated social worker who always puts the client first,” then you should write something like, “dedicated, client-focused social worker with 12 years’ experience.” Then add several more relevant skilled based on your qualifications, such as: ”keen ability to actively listen, set boundaries and empathize”. You can format your summary section in sentence form or a bulleted list. Writing sentences takes up less space than a list, so plan accordingly. If you have enough space, you can utilize both styles.
Consider how the employer’s desired skill sets align with your portfolio of talents. Make a detailed list of your hard, soft and technical skills. This section should take up the most resume space.
Insider Writing Tip: Create Several Sections to Capture All of Your Relevant Skills
After categorizing our skills, create sections to place in order of importance. Start with a section of “Relevant Skills,” where you can list in bullets or in short phrases your most relevant hard, soft and technical skills. Keep it short because you should create at least one more section.
That section — often called “Professional Skills” or “Summary of Skills” — should correlate top skills to career accomplishments in your current job and any previous positions. This approach allows you to select three to four broader skill sets that most relate to the job description.
Round out the writing of this skills-focused section by adding measurable results. To make it easy for the hiring manager to scan, state the skill and below it use bulleted phrases to highlight your accomplishments.
If you have work experience, keep this section short and sweet. Unlike the chronological and combination formats, this is not a focal point of the resume.
Insider Writing Tip: Keep Your Work History to Just the Facts
Simply list the company, your job title and employment dates. Skip the bullet points and description of achievements. This approach helps downplay the lack of experience and gaps in employment. Remember, your skills sections has to sell you to the hiring manager on your ability to handle the position. Don’t be bashful about including volunteer work or internships, especially if you developed relevant skills in such roles.
How to Write Your Contact Information and Education Sections
These are must-have sections in your functional resume. Writing this section is simple.
For contact information, include your full name, your city and state of residence, a professional email address, your phone number, and ensure that your voicemail greeting is professional.
When you write your education section, list your highest academic achievement first and any relevant training or certifications. Avoid abbreviations and don’t include your GPA and graduation date (unless you’re a recent graduate). Make sure you include all relevant honors and awards.
Use Our Resume Builder
Our easy-to-use Resume Builder is a great tool for job seekers who want to write a functional resume. The employer-tested templates are designed to be simple to customize for any job. Build each section using the pre-written templates crafted by career experts. After you create the perfect resume, prepare a matching cover letter. We’ll be there for you every step of the way with expert advice.
Diagram of a Perfect Functional Resume
Contact Information Section
- (555) 555-5555
- Fairburn, GA
Resourceful financial manager adept at supporting technology and service organizations. Successful track record of handling high-volume transactions on a regular basis and a 60 percent growth rate. Considered expert in creating robust financial models for large organizations of 500 employees. Skilled in aligning people, processes and technology to achieve continuous improvement in operational processes. Well-versed in providing analytics with insight, and influencing decisions that support growth and development.
Brian wrote a robust summary statement to identify his strengths and shared a tangible result of his hard work. The opening sentences tell us the types of organizations that Brian has worked for and describe his strengths in his industry. We also see a quantifiable result from Brian’s efforts, which helps hiring managers understand his capabilities. Even the note about “creating robust financial models for large organizations of 500 employees” helps contextualize Brian’s talents.
- Advanced financial analyst
- Member of the Financial Management As sociation
- MS Excel expert
- Advanced computer proficiency (PC and Mac)
- Certified Financial Manager (CFM)
- Financial modeling
- Costing and integration planning
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS:
- Supported various financial modeling activities, including acquisitions, new market investment, pricing and costs for $100,000-deal analysis
- Managed high volumes of financial activity in a fast-paced, risk-based corporate environment
- Supervised a team of 50 finance and operations professionals, with day-to-day responsibility for contracting, order processsing, forecasting, budgeting, reporting and analysis
- Oversaw implementation and maintenance of the LAN financial system
- Georgia College And State University
Milledgeville, GA • 2014
- Master of Science :
Accounting And Business Management
- Geogria Technical University
Greenwich, GA • 2010
- Bachelor of Science :
- Led financial planning and analysis by managing key metrics, analyzing data, and providing support and insight for strategic planning.
- Generated revenue and reduced costs by recommending innovative alternatives.
- Managed analytical framework for identifying and developing financial growth opportunities
- Created strategies to increase client revenue 75 percent and reduce spending
- Helped management make financial decisions and contributed to effective hiring process by interviewing applicants and making recommendations for the best candidate to leadership.
- Analyzed established fiscal parameters and organizational needs to develop approved annual budget of $250,000.
- Adjusted to market trends to maximize profits and find expansion opportunities.
- Developed and transformed finance and operations team from transactional to analytical to enhance business support
- Excelled at preparing statements, business activity reports and forecasts
- Monitored financial details to ensure that legal requirements are met.
- Established budgetary benchmarks, and formulated financial management strategies by reserarching operating and historical financial records.
Observe how Brian wrote three different skills sections. Remember, the skills section should be the meatiest part of a functional resume. He starts with a summary of qualifications, where he showcases his industry knowledge. This section is similar to what you’d see in a work history section on a chronological resume. The first bullet point details his financial model work and offers a scale for reference, while the following points support his first statement.
Next you’ll see a list of technical skills. This part should be easy for a hiring manager to skim. Brian wrote short, specific descriptors to leave no room for confusion.
The last part of this section is Brian’s collection of professional skills. Check out how he identified core abilities — analytical expertise, communication and detail-oriented — and then described how he demonstrated those skills at work. Again, this is similar to a chronological resume’s work history section, except that it groups each by capability. Brian led each line with a good action verb to show his command of the subject and then inserted data to provide context and explain the result.
- Financial Manager | Ruby Peak Recruiting
Green Bank, GA • 02/2018-Present
- Budget Analyst | Ruby Peak Recruiting
Green Bank, GA • 11/2014-01/2016
- Finance Assistant | Breezeworks Inc.
Mabel, GA • 03/2010-10/2012
- Business Intern | Blackwood Inc.
Mabel, GA • 08/2007-05/2008
It’s clear that Brian has taken some time off in between jobs, and that’s OK — that’s why he’s using a functional resume. Notice how he lists his job titles, employers and dates of work. This is all you need to do for a work history section on a functional resume.
Functional Resume FAQs
- When should a functional resume be used?
You should use a functional format if you have no job experience, are seeking a career change or have noticeable gaps in your employment history. You may also want to use this format if you have several short-term positions, temporary assignments or if you want to turn your hobby into a career. This resume style emphasizes skills and accomplishments over employment history.
- What are the advantages of using a functional resume?
A functional resume is a skills-based resume that places significant emphasis on your most relevant talents. It also allows you to focus on accomplishments rather than job duties.
- How long should a functional resume be?
The best functional resume is one page in length. Job seekers with 10 or more years of work history can write a two-page resume, but shouldn’t stretch that into a longer document. Generally speaking, those for whom a functional format is best do not have enough relevant job experience to warrant more than a single page.
- What template should I use to create a functional resume?
The template you decide to use depends on the information you want to illuminate. Some functional templates place more emphasis on skills over education, or on accomplishments over skills. Decide which area will make the greatest impression on an employer and select a template that leads with that. For instance, if you’re an aspiring nurse and recently obtained your RN degree, lead with education.
- How do I write a functional resume for a stay-at-home mom?
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs there is! It requires multitasking, patience, problem-solving, conflict resolution, time management and a host of other valuable skills. Highlight these skills in your functional resume to stand out as a qualified applicant. Under each subgrouping, show how you plan to transfer your skills to the role in question.