How to Write a Functional CV

Complete guide on how to write a functional CV with tips, downloadable template, and FAQs.

How to Write a Functional CV

August 14th, 2020

A Functional CV emphasizes your skills as opposed to your work experience. These CVs are best for job applicants who are recent graduates, lack industry experience, or are transferring to a different career. The Functional CV highlights strengths, while taking the focus off any employment gaps.

Functional vs. Chronological CV:

A Functional CV highlights a candidate's skills and is suitable for inexperienced job seekers or applicants with limited experience in the field they're entering. A Functional CV draws on skills gained during a candidate's studies, and volunteer or part-time work. By contrast, A Chronological CV is designed for experienced professionals.

How to Write a Functional CV:

  1. Place your name and contact details in the CV's header on page 1 (remove it on the other pages if your CV is longer than a page). Use a professional email address and your current contact number. You may also list your LinkedIn profile or website address provided it's relevant for the position you're applying to.
  2. Include a Personal Profile below your contact details if you're not submitting a Cover Letter and you feel that it could improve your chances of being interviewed. It's important to add the Personal Profile if you're uploading your CV to a job board that doesn't allow for a Cover Letter.
  3. Right below the Personal Profile, list your skills. Include both hard and soft skills, limiting this section to between 5 and 7 skills. The skills section of the Functional CV should be more detailed than the skills section of the Chronological CV, and you should include bulleted points to explain how you developed each skill.
  4. List your academic qualifications, starting with the most recent degrees, diplomas, or certifications. You can choose how detailed you'd like this section to be. You could mention specific courses the hiring manager may be interested in.
  5. Work experience is the next section you should include. List any part-time or volunteer work you've done, as well as leadership positions you've held, e.g. Treasurer of the Debate Club.
  6. Once you've completed all the essential sections, you can select additional sections that might be useful. Be sure to use the headings provided by the word processing software.
  7. Select a neutral font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. Use only black and font size 10-12.
  8. Do not use color or graphics, and remove them if you've used a CV builder.
  9. Do not include false information or try to mask gaps in your CV.
  10. Use Grammarly to identify errors and get a friend or colleague to do a final read-through before you complete your application.
  11. References are no longer included on CVs, but you can prepare a separate list in case the employer requests one. Read our resume guide to find out what should be included in this list.
  12. If your CV is longer than 2 pages, include your name and the page number in the footer.
Functional CV Template in MS Word Format

Start applying for jobs today using our Functional CV Template.

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Functional CV Template: (Text Version)

(In the header)
[Your Full Name]
[Your contact number] | [Your professional email address] | [Your LinkedIn profile/website]

Personal Profile
[Write your Personal Profile. Craft a paragraph of 100 – 400 words highlighting your skills and work experience most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Describe who you are as a professional, what you can offer the company, and also what your overall career objectives are. This section is optional if you’re submitting a Cover Letter or if you feel that writing one will decrease your chances of getting an interview.]

Skills
[List Main Skill, e.g. Leadership]
[Have one or two bullets beneath this skill where you elaborate on how you developed it, e.g. you were the vice president of the debate society in college]

[List Main Skill, e.g. Leadership]
[Have one or two bullets beneath this skill where you elaborate on how you developed it, e.g. you were the vice president of the debate society in college]

[List Main Skill, e.g. Leadership]
[Have one or two bullets beneath this skill where you elaborate on how you developed it, e.g. you were the vice president of the debate society in college]

Academic Qualifications
(Include the most recent/relevant qualifications first)
(Format for New Graduates)
[Qualification]
[Name of institution]
[Location]
[Year started – year ended]

  • [Brief overview of your degree/diploma, mentioning significant courses]
  • [List any honours/scholarships/awards achieved]

OR

(Format for Experienced Professionals)
[Qualification], [Name of institution], [Location]*

*graduation date not required for experienced applicants.

Work Experience
(Include the most current position first)
[Company/Institution Name]
[Link to company/institution's website]
[Position Title]
[Date of employment with year/month – year/month]

[Brief outline of key duties]
- [Bulleted list of top achievements, strengthened by using facts, statistics, and percentages.]

[Company/Institution Name]
[Link to company/institution's website]
[Position Title]
[Date of employment with year/month – year/month]

[Brief outline of key duties]
- [Bulleted list of top achievements, strengthened by using facts, statistics, and percentages.]

[Company/Instititon Name]
[Link to company/institution's website]
[Position Title]
[Date of employment with year/month – year/month]

[Brief outline of key duties]
- [Bulleted list of top achievements, strengthened by using facts, statistics, and percentages.]

Additional Sections
(All of these sections are optional, but experienced candidates may require them. Select those most relevant to you.)

[Books/Chapters]
(Include the titles of the books you’ve written or contributed to. Include the publication date, imprint, and any other relevant details. Can take the form of a bulleted list, with short explanations.)

[Journal Articles]
(Include the titles of the journal articles you’ve written or contributed to. Include the publication date, name of the journal the article was published in, and any other relevant details. Can take the form of a bulleted list, with short explanations.)

[Peer-Reviewed Articles]
(Include the titles of the articles you’ve peer-reviewed and any other relevant details.)

[Other Publications]
(Include any other notable works you’ve completed, with their publication dates, and other relevant details.)

[Awards, Honours, or Achievements]
(List the awards you’ve achieved, with brief explanations of them.)

[Additional Certifications or Licenses]
(List any relevant certificates or licenses you hold.)

[Fellowships, Grants, and Scholarships]
(List any fellowships, grants, or scholarships you’ve received, along with their dates, and any other relevant information.)

[Conferences Attended]
(List the conferences you’ve attended, their dates, and where they were held.)

[Presentations or Lectures Delivered]
(List the presentations, lectures, or seminars you’ve delivered, as well as the details thereof.)

[Teaching Experience]
(Mention any teaching or training experience you’ve had, with dates, locations, and other notable details.)

[Non-Academic Activities/Notable Interests & Hobbies]
(If they’re related to the position you’re applying for, include a list of non-academic activities like interests and hobbies.)

[Graduate Fieldwork]
(Include the details of your fieldwork and research.)

[Research or Lab Experience]
(Include the details of your research and lab experience.)

[Additional Languages]
(Mention any additional languages you have learned. Indicate your proficiency as a novice, intermediate, or advanced.)

[Memberships]
(Mention any active memberships relevant to your career/the position you’re applying for.)

[Volunteer Work/Initiatives]
(List your volunteer work or the non-profit initiatives you’ve been involved in, as well as the impact you’ve made there.)

[Projects]
(List any projects you’ve initiated or been involved in, as well the details thereof.)

[References]
(Compile a separate list to go at the back of your CV.)

FAQs:

What is the format of a Functional CV?

  • Name and contact details.
  • Personal profile.
  • Skills (a detailed list).
  • Academic qualifications.
  • Work experience.
  • Additional sections, relating to published works, awards, supplementary courses, training, and more.

Who should use a Functional CV?

A Functional CV is best-suited to those with limited industry experience, like job seekers who are recent graduates or applicants who are transferring from one career to another. It also works well for candidates with gaps in their employment.

What is the difference between a Functional and a Chronological CV?

A Functional CV foregrounds skills, whereas a Chronological CV focuses on work experience.

How do you list skills on a Functional CV?

The Skills section on a Functional CV fits beneath the Personal Profile. It usually covers 5 - 7 skills that are relevant to the job the candidate is applying for, and it would contain details about how the candidate developed each skill.

Are Functional CVs bad?

Functional CVs are not necessarily compatible with ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems). Many Hiring Managers also regard Work Experience as the most significant area of your CV, so they expect to see this information at the top of your CV. Consider the other CV formats carefully before deciding which one is best.