How to Write a Functional Resume

Complete guide on how to write a functional resume with tips, downloadable templates, and FAQs.

How to Write a Functional Resume

July 25th, 2020

Functional resumes are best for applicants who'd like to highlight their skills as opposed to the jobs they've held. If you have job hopped, been out of work for a while, lack experience, or if you're entering a different field, this resume format will place emphasis on your transferable skills and other useful attributes, like education.

Functional vs. Chronological Resume:

A Functional Resume foregrounds skills and is suitable for those with limited work experience or employment gaps. A Functional Resume repackages your experience so that employers look favorably upon it, whereas a Chronological Resume is geared towards applicants with extensive work experience.

How to Write a Functional Resume:

No matter the type of resume you choose, there are some basic guidelines you'll have to follow when you construct each section. Read through our article on How to Write a Resume for a comprehensive guide on how to make a great impression on the hiring manager.

Guidelines to follow when writing your functional resume:

  1. List your name and contact details at the top of the resume. Always use a professional email address and a reliable contact number, and include your LinkedIn profile or any links to websites relevant to your work.
  2. Include a Career Summary or Resume Objective beneath your contact details. A Resume Objective might be more suited to a Functional Resume.
  3. List your education history, starting with the most recently obtained qualifications. Include any degrees, diplomas, or certificates that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Be sure to mention awards and achievements that highlight your key skills.
  4. List your skills, including at least three main skills that are essential to the position you are applying for. The skills section of the Functional Resume is more detailed than that of the Chronological format. Beneath each skill, include a bullet point or two about how you developed that skill.
  5. Lastly, include your work experience, listing any volunteer or part-time positions you've held. Even if you've never been formally employed, mention any leadership positions you've occupied.
  6. Choose a simple font like Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. Use black and font size 10 - 12. You may bold the headings.
  7. Do not use color or fancy graphics and be mindful to remove them if you are using resume builders.
  8. Do not include false information on your resume or try to hide gaps in employment.
  9. Use Grammarly to pick up mistakes and also get someone else to read over your final resume before you submit it.
  10. Before sending your resume off, read our article on How to Email your Resume to the Hiring Manager.
Download our Functional Resume Template

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Functional Resume Template: (Text version)

[Your Full Name]
[Your contact number] | [Your professional email address] | [Your LinkedIn profile/website/a link to your online portfolio]

Education
[Name of the educational institution | Location (year started – year ended)]
[Name of degree as well as majors/another relevant certificate]
[Any special achievements or awards obtained]

[Name of the educational institution | Location (year started – year ended)]
[Name of degree as well as majors/another relevant certificate]
[Any special achievements or awards obtained]

[Name of the educational institution | Location (year started – year ended)]
[Name of degree as well as majors/another relevant certificate]
[Any special achievements or awards obtained]

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]

Experience
(Include the most current position first. If you’re a new graduate or someone with limited formal work experience, you may want to include any volunteer positions or part-time work you’ve done.)

[Date of employment with year/month – year/month]
[Position Title]
[Company Name and location]
[Include 2-4 bullet points with all your responsibilities and accomplishments]

[Date of employment with year/month – year/month]
[Position Title]
[Company Name and location]
[Include 2-4 bullet points with all your responsibilities and accomplishments]

FAQs:

What is the format of a Functional Resume?

A Functional Resume should span one page and it has a detailed section for your skills. In order, the Functional Resume includes the following sections:

  • Personal contact information.
  • Resume Objective.
  • Education.
  • Skills.
  • Work experience.

Who should use a functional resume?

Those who are new to the workplace, lack extensive experience within a particular industry, or have gaps in employment, might want to use the functional resume and highlight their skills instead of their employment history.

How do you list skills on a Functional Resume?

The skill section fits just below your education section on your resume. Include at least three main skills and write a short description beneath each one, about one or two bullets, explaining how you obtained that skill as well as your understanding of its significance.

How do I write a Functional Resume with no experience?

A Functional Resume format works well for those with no experience. Under the Experience section, list any part-time jobs or volunteer work. If you haven't volunteered or worked part-time, you can include any leadership positions under this section, for example, Treasurer of the Fencing Club.

Is a Functional Resume bad?

Functional Resumes are not always compatible with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System). Also, for many Hiring Managers, work experience is the most important section of a resume, and it's what they'd like to see first when they look through yours. Take a look at the other resume formats before deciding which option is best for you.

How long is a functional resume?

Try to limit your Functional Resume to one page, but it is okay to have up to two pages for this format.

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

A Chronological Resume emphasizes work experience, while a Functional Resume highlights skills.