Functional Resume Format: Examples & Templates

Kellie Hanna, CPRW
By Kellie Hanna, CPRW, Career Advice Expert Last Updated: April 09, 2024

A functional resume – also known as a skills-based resume – focuses on your skills and qualifications rather than your work history. Read on to learn how to write a functional-style resume using our Resume Builder.

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Functional Resume Format

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What is a functional resume?

The functional resume format highlights your skills over work experience. Your abilities may be grouped under sections like “Summary of Qualifications” and “Relevant Skills,” and they are placed directly above your professional summary or resume objective.  The purpose of a functional resume is to show potential employers that you have the skills to get the job done, even if you lack work experience.

Functional resume templates

Our professionally designed resume templates have been curated to help you showcase your job qualifications effectively so you stand out in today’s competitive job market. Whether you are a student, career changer, or have gaps in your employment history, we have a functional resume template. 

Explore our wide range of layouts and formats to find the perfect template that suits your unique career goals and aspirations. Let your resume make a lasting impression with our modern and eye-catching designs.

When to use the functional resume format

A functional resume is an incredibly useful and valid way to present your qualifications in several circumstances, such as if you’re a first-time job seeker or have employment gaps.

Here’s a closer look at how to use the functional resume format for each situation.


You’re a first-time job seeker or don’t have much work experience.

If you’re low on work experience, emphasize your other job qualifications in a functional resume. For example, you might place your educational experience directly under your resume objective, followed by your skills.


The job places more importance on skills than experience.

If the job doesn’t require heavy experience and places a premium on specific skills, then the functional resume will spotlight your relevant skills. A good technique to emphasize your skills is to categorize them by major areas of expertise (e.g., “Computer Skills,” “Marketing Skills,” or “Soft Skills”), with four to five accomplishments within each area.


You have employment gaps.

The functional resume format downplays employment gaps in your career by focusing on your relevant skills and educational achievements over work history. A functional resume places employment toward the bottom of the resume layout, highlighting your capabilities and downplaying employment dates.

How to write a functional resume

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  • Resume Objective

    When crafting a functional resume, use a resume objective instead of a professional summary. It is your chance to tell hiring managers what you can do for them and why you want the job. Highlight your job-relevant expertise and define your goals for the position in three to five sentences. Tailor your objective to the company and job requirements.

  • Summary of Qualifications

    Follow the lead of the job seeker in the functional resume sample above and use a summary of qualifications to display examples of how you’ve used your job-relevant skills. If you excelled in an internship, volunteer position, personal project or extracurricular activity, mention those accomplishments here.

  • Professional Skills

    A great way to display your skills in the functional resume format is to group them by category. For example, if you’re applying for a web developer job, you might create a “Software,” “Technical,” or “Computer Skills” category where you list all the programs you’re proficient with.

  • Work History

    Place the work history section of your functional resume under your skills section. For each job, display the company name, job title and employment dates. Start from the most recent job and work your way backward.

  • Education

    In your skills-based resume education section, feature your highest academic credential (e.g., diploma), including the institution’s name and location. If you don’t have professional work experience, then place your education section before your work history section.

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Functional resume examples

Use these functional format resume examples for popular jobs as a foundation for your resume or visit our resume examples page for hundreds more job and industry-specific examples. We also have dozens of resume templates, from professional resume templates to creative and modern, as well as free downloadables you can use to create your skills-based resume.

Use the following functional format resume examples for popular jobs as a foundation for your skills-based resume, or visit our resume examples page for hundreds more job and industry-specific examples. We also have dozens of resume templates to choose from.

Functional resume example for a babysitter

Like the job seeker in this skills-based resume sample, showcase activities or volunteer work you’ve participated in that display your ability to monitor and take care of children, and highlight a mix of pertinent soft skills (such as patience and flexibility) and hard skills (such as First Aid and CPR).

Functional resume example for a bartender

While drink mixing skills are valuable, make sure your functional style resume also lists skills related to working with and supervising teams, managing supplies and inventory, and keeping dining areas clean and organized.

Functional resume example for a cashier

List activities or part-time work where you’ve had to display good customer service in your functional resume and include hard skills that can help you excel, such as basic math or familiarity with payment apps.

Functional resume example for a cook

Emphasize transferable skills such as teamwork or efficiency that show you can thrive in fast-paced work environments along with your cooking specialties. If applicable, make sure your skills-based resume includes recognition you’ve received for your cooking. 

Functional resume example for a customer service representative

In this functional resume sample, the job seeker makes a compelling case by presenting past activities that utilize valuable skills for a customer service role. The candidate also points out important soft skills that make up for the lack of professional experience.

Functional resume example for a graphic designer

Feature your software proficiencies, and if you have a portfolio, add it to your functional resume header. If you’re writing a functional resume for a career change, include a good mixture of soft skills like organization and time management and explain how you’ve used your creativity to create designs. 

Functional resume example for a maintenance technician

List your vocational training as part of your education section and highlight technical skills and knowledge you’ve gained through training in your skills-based resume. 

Functional resume example for a medical assistant

Select one of our functional resume templates to spotlight your communication skills, empathy and other intangible qualifications that are necessary for working with patients. 

Add a section for your certifications and licenses under your resume education section.

Functional resume example for a restaurant server

This example of a skills-based resume highlights summer jobs and volunteer work that shows the job candidate already has plenty of solid experience, even if it’s not full-time employment. Notice how they display soft skills that pertain to customer satisfaction.

How to make a functional resume


1. Write a compelling objective statement

Your resume objective is your chance to make the perfect first impression. First, zero in on your top qualifications and feature skills the employer is looking for. For example, if you’re writing a social worker resume and a central requirement is “always putting the client first,” then you might introduce yourself as a “dedicated, client-focused social worker with a keen ability to actively listen, set boundaries and empathize.”


2. Arrange your skills by themes or topics

The functional resume format allows you to group your skills under subcategories and organize them into different sections. This is where the employer will see your professional accomplishments. Add three to five skills per topic. 

  • Use the “Summary of Qualifications” section to present up to three skills that you’ve learned or used in projects, extracurricular activities or internships related to the job you’re applying for, and briefly expand on them, just like our skills-based resume samples. 
  • Below your summary of qualifications, add a “Professional Skills” or “Relevant Skills” section to dive further into your abilities. Use that section to display the job-specific abilities you’ve attained through practice, education and repetition, such as Adobe Photoshop, editing, translation or budgeting.
  • Create a bulleted list of your soft skills — the personal traits or intangible abilities that are not tied to one specific job or industry, such as interpersonal skills, critical thinking and problem-solving.



3. Include relevant projects and activities in your functional resume

Your work history will look slightly different in the functional style resume from the combination and chronological formats. Whereas the combination and chronological resumes feature an extensive work history section with action verbs and bullet points, a skills-based resume will only include your job title, the company name and dates of employment.

Still, you can make a good case for your abilities by featuring relevant internships, skills gained from work experience, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities. Providing such details in a functional resume can be as impactful as describing past professional experiences.



4. Keep your skills-based resume short

Your functional resume should be one page long, especially if you don’t have a lot of work experience. A short resume is easier for recruiters, hiring managers and ATS software to scan your resume for relevance.

Ready to write your resume? Our Resume Builder is the perfect tool to help you structure your skills and achievements in a functional resume format quickly and easily. 

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Key takeaways

Here are our top five tips from this article:

  1. Use a resume objective instead of a professional summary on a functional resume. 
  2. Categorize your skills into types or topics and add three to five skills under each category. 
  3. If you don’t have professional work experience in the job you’re applying for, highlight your achievements from relevant volunteer work, extracurricular activities, community service work, or internships. 
  4. Tailor your functional resume for the job you want. 
  5. Be concise. Keep each section brief and your resume to one page.

Functional resume format FAQ

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