Why Recruiters HATE the Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format deemphasizes work history and puts skills and accomplishments front and center. Unfortunately, recruiters hate the functional resume format because of this.

functional resume headings

“Recruiters hate the functional resume format,” a veteran recruiter in the healthcare industry told Jobscan. “It’s a waste of time.”

Most resumes utilize the classic reverse-chronological format. Your name and contact information go at the top, followed immediately by your employment history. Starting with your current or most recent position and walking backward through time, this format plainly shows recruiters exactly where you’ve been. It helps them plot and forecast your career trajectory. It’s simple, intuitive, and skimmable. The reverse-chronological format is the gold standard for resumes now and for the foreseeable future.

But not everyone’s career follows the same path. There are lane changes, U-turns, and missteps along the way. For some, a linear trip through their past job titles isn’t the most effective way to tell their career story. They need to find a different way to communicate their skills and expertise on their resume. They need a different resume format .

Use Jobscan’s free ATS-friendly resume templates and start building your resume that gets noticed by recruiters!

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What is the Functional Resume Format?

Among the alternatives, one of the most popular resume formats is the functional resume. This resume format deemphasizes work history and puts skills and accomplishments front and center. After your name and contact information, you go straight into your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Your work history is listed with minimal detail at the bottom of the resume.

Here is a functional resume example:

Functional Resume Template Example

A functional resume may be appealing in the following instances:

Unfortunately, for the same reasons the functional resume is attractive to some job seekers, it can cause suspicion in recruiters.

Why Recruiters Dislike the Functional Resume

Recruiters dislike functional resumes for two reasons. First, some job applicants use the functional resume to conceal information. For example, it may be used to cover up large gaps in employment or a lack of experience in general, since the main focus is on skills rather than career history. Second, it is difficult to read since the meat of the resume, the experience and education sections, is not featured at the very top.

Our recruiter contact told us a story from his own job search history, back when he tried using a functional resume to make the jump from sales to the HR industry:

“I actually paid someone to do [a functional resume] for me. Whenever I would hand it to someone who was screening at a job fair, I would watch their eyes, and they would skip right past everything at the top of the resume and go straight to my work history and look at the job titles. I would repeatedly watch them do this. Then I finally got myself into the HR industry where I was screening resumes and I do the exact same thing .”

Why do recruiters hate this format?

“You’re taking information out of context,” said the recruiter. “It’s easier to BS your way through to make things sound glamorous. Within the context of where [skills and accomplishments] took place, it gives me a better idea of what’s going on.”

They hate it because they need to draw their own conclusions. The functional resume format was created to cover up gaps in an applicant’s experience and recruiters know it. They will skip straight down to the work history to try and figure what you’re hiding. It’s a dead giveaway.

An Alternative to the Functional Resume

“I definitely want to see everything laid out in context,” said the recruiter. “I’ve seen plenty of people that try to use a functional resume that’s not in that context, and I tell them, ‘You’re just shooting yourself in the foot.'”

That said, recruiters understand that people change careers and can’t always count on their work history speaking for itself.

“If you’re trying to make that transition, yes, you’re going to want to try and list your transferrable skills,” said the recruiter. “But again, I wouldn’t do it so much where you’re listing everything at the top [above your experience].” Instead, the recruiter suggested taking a “more blended” approach.

The Hybrid Resume Format

There’s a name for this. In the space between the functional resume and the reverse-chronological resume is the hybrid resume , also known as the combination resume.

Like the functional resume format, the hybrid resume has space at the top of the page for skills and accomplishments. Unlike the functional resume, it leaves the bottom half of the resume for a more traditional approach to the work history, where each position is accompanied by a blurb that outlines responsibilities and accomplishments.

Here is a hybrid resume example:

Hybrid Resume Template. A better option than the Functional Resume Template.

For job seekers changing careers or industries, the hybrid resume is a safer bet than the functional resume. That said, this versatile format isn’t just for applicants with a non-traditional work history. Hybrid resumes seem to be growing in popularity among applicants of all backgrounds. Most of Jobscan’s free resume templates are hybrids.

The dedicated skills sections found on both functional and hybrid resume formats can also be beneficial when it comes to making sure you have the right resume keywords for applicant tracking system searches . Find out whether your resume is optimized for the jobs you’re pursuing with one click:

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Functional Resume: Examples & Skills Based Templates

Functional Resume: Examples & Skills Based Templates

Bart Turczynski

As seen in:

A functional resume focuses on transferable skills and experience instead of a chronological work history. It's generally used by career changers or candidates who have employment gaps.

It’s the most effective way to deal with a winding work history. And it’s easier to write than you think if you follow our detailed guide.

This guide will show you:

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes?  Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click.  See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here .

sample resume templates

Sample resume made with our builder— See more resume examples here .

Need to jump to the right section you’re most interested in? Use the table of contents:

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume is a type of resume format which showcases skills over experience. The purpose of a functional resume is to draw attention to transferable abilities rather than focusing on a chronological overview of your work history.

Because of it's properties, it's sometimes called a skills-based resume . 

This resume format works for people targeting a job where their work history doesn’t relate directly.

Sound too good to be true, right?

Here’s the problem:

The functional resume format is the one most recruiters hate .

Consider this. Statistically speaking, recruiters spend 7 seconds scanning each resume. They don’t read resumes. They skim them for what’s most important.

In those 7 seconds, here’s what recruiters look for in particular:

A functional resume hides what the recruiters are looking for. Worse—you lose credibility if your skills don’t link to relevant job experience .

Does that mean such resumes are totally worthless? Well, not so fast.

The point of a functional resume is to help those who don’t have the relevant work experience.

It’s not about hiding your skills, it’s about showing they go beyond traditional work history. 

Here is what sets a functional resume—or skills-based resume format—apart:

And that’s what matters for some jobs. To land an interview, you need to emphasize your strongest abilities—a set of hard and soft skills .

Let’s see if the functional resume can work for you.

Who is the Functional Resume Format Good For?

In general, the functional resume is best when:

Need some specific examples? 

Here are the most common types of candidates who benefit from a functional, skills-based resume:

One critical disclaimer: a functional resume won’t work if you don’t have any work history behing your belt whatsoever. Sound like you? Switch over to this beast of a guide written by my friend Christian: No Work Experience? Here’s How to Write Your Resume

The major positive of a functional resume—it’s versatile. 

And skills do matter a lot to recruiters.

Still, functional resumes are suitable for extremely few job-seekers.

Luckily, there are other common resume structures to pick from:

Before you make your final decision, let’s compare these resume structures to see the pros and cons:

When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check . Start building a  professional resume template here for free .

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When you’re done, Zety’s resume builder will score your resume and tell you exactly how to make it better.

Not convinced the functional resume is the best format for you? Take a look at our detailed guide: Resume Format: Samples and Templates for all Types of Resumes (10+)

Functional Resume Sample and Why It Works

Now you know the basics of a functional resume.

You understand who it’s best for.

Time for some fun—seeing a functional resume in action.

Let’s have a look at a well-written functional resume and and see why it can be so effective.

Functional Resume Format Example—Concept Artist

Janice Sather

Concept Artist

4335 Pringle Drive

Chicago, IL, 60606 USA


[email protected]



Twitter: twitter.com/jsatherconcept312

Resume Objective

Passionate concept artist with a BA in Fine Arts from Northwestern University seeking to leverage my experience as a concept art developer with Technicolor. Experienced in developing visual guides (see my portfolio) and creating project artwork for clients publishing needs. Interested in developing and creating new conceptual art forms for both digital and print designs to increase brand awareness for large companies and organizations in the tech and robotics industry.

Skills Summary




Work History

Graphic Design and Illustrator March 2018—present Jsather Concept, Chicago, IL

Freelance Conceptual Artist May 2012—September 2017 Conde Nast, Chicago, IL

BA in Fine Arts

Northwestern University,  2010

Additional Skills

Janice has talents .

And she backs up her talents with key skills.

She chose the functional resume format to highlight the different skills she has as an artist.

See her use of bullet points in the skills section? It’s easily scannable for any HR recruiter to glance through.

She may not be a seasoned candidate who worked one job in the last several years.

But—her skills show how her transition to the new role will go smoothly with all the key achievements she highlights.

Functional Resume Layout, Structure, and Writing Tips

You’ve seen the functional resume in action.

And the functional resume format is super helpful.

But—you need a bit more detail to make each section of your functional resume shine.

Look no further—this section breaks down each part of your functional resume.

Let’s start with the basic layout of sections on a functional resume:

Let’s break down each section so you know how to write a functional resume.

Start With Your Name and Job Title

Seems to be the easiest part of your functional resume, right? Well, it’s a bit more difficult than you think. 

What job title should you put if you’re a creative type or unemployed?

Or, should it be for the position you’re hoping to land?

If your skills match with the position then go with a standard title—artist, copywriter, teacher.

If you’re the one using a functional resume to switch roles or industries, don’t add a job title as it could confuse the recruiter.

Need more information on what job title to put on your functional resume? Read our guide: 450 Job Titles that Work on a Resume & Job Hunt [Current & Desired!]

List Your Contact Information

Make sure your contact information on a resume is up to date.

Do include your mobile phone number, a LinkedIn profile on your resume , and an email address.

Ensure your email looks professional.

Go With a Resume Objective

Let’s downplay the gaps in your employment with a pitch-perfect resume objective.

It gets your functional resume off on the right foot—by showing off your skills and key achievements.

Include 3-4 examples of your most relevant personal achievements. Choose achievements based on the position you’re applying to.

Convince the recruiters you’ll use your skills to benefit your future employer.

Need help writing your resume profile? Check out our in-depth guides: Resume Summary Examples (30+ Professional Summary Statements) and 50+ Resume Objective Examples: Career Objectives for All Jobs (+Tips).

Write the Perfect Skills Summary

This is the shining moment for your functional resume.

It should make the hiring manager’s brows heighten.

It should convince them your skills are more important than your work history.

Remember, the position you’re applying to has requirements. This is the section where you prove you’re capable of nailing the job role.

Follow these simple steps to get the skills section right:

Want to know more information on how to put your skills on a resume? Read our guide:  99 Key Skills for a Resume (Best List of Examples for All Types of Jobs) .

Describe Your Work Experience

Now comes the hard part.

How do you show relevant work experience when you have gaps in employment?

Follow our tips and it shouldn’t derail your application.

First, think about why you were unemployed. There are many acceptable reasons for why people are unemployed.

Were you a full-time student? Parent? Travel? Label your periods of unemployment and list why it’s the case.

Maybe you took on a lot of intermittent projects but had no stable workplace. Use years instead of months to indicate your work experience on your functional resume.

If you had a gap within the year, it still shows you had consistent work, with small breaks in-between.

When you list work history, be sure to list the dates, job title, and the name of the company for each position you held. Add the location of the company as well.

Add Your Education

The education section tells your employer you have value.

It also factors into what skills you have on your functional resume.

If you’re fresh out of school or have breaks of employment, consider adding the following:

Read up on more tips for your education section in our dedicated guide: How to Put Your Education on a Resume [Tips & Examples].

Detail Your Additional Skills

Use this section to add any additional skills you have apart from the ones you listed in the skills summary section.

Only add skills to boost your chances. Here are some ideas:

Finally, remember to write a cover letter to send alongside your functional resume. Cover letters are still expected today!

Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here.  Here's what it may look like:

matching set of resume and cover letter

See more cover letter templates and start writing.

Key Takeaway

And there you have it!

You’re now ready to write a functional resume for your specific need.

Don’t think your imperfect work history as a vulnerability.

Think about the great skills you have—and highlight it with a pitch-perfect functional resume.

Here’s everything you need to know about writing a functional resume:

Do you have any questions about writing a functional resume? Maybe you’d like to share advice on how to get everything right? Give us a shout out in the comments below. We’re always happy to help!

Bart Turczynski

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This guide includes all the information you need about formatting and using a functional resume, like pros and cons, situational usage, and an example.

Functional Resume Guide: Formatting, Pros, and Cons

Writing a resume isn’t everybody’s idea of a good time. Trying to remember the name of this job or that title, what you did when and where, and making it all sound compelling can be difficult. It can be even harder when you’re trying to switch careers or have periods of unemployment.

You may have heard that a functional resume is better for certain job seekers in certain situations. And, while this may be the case, it’s not the whole story. A functional resume isn’t always your best bet and may, in fact, make it harder for you to land an interview.

What Is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume, sometimes called a skills-based resume , puts the focus on your skills and not your job history. That doesn’t mean you leave your work history off your resume. It just means you draw the recruiter’s attention to your skills and abilities.

In a chronological resume , the “meat” of your resume is the list of all the jobs you’ve held in reverse chronological order. Under each job are a list of your job duties, skills, and accomplishments.

However, on a functional resume, the meat is your skills and achievements . Instead of listing your jobs, you group your skills by type of experience and list out the specific things you can do in each of these areas. None of these skills are tied to a specific job or experience, and instead, stand on their own.

Pros and Cons of Functional Resumes

While a functional resume has its place in job hunting, it’s the least commonly used resume format . And there are several reasons why most recruiters and job coaches will tell you to avoid using a functional resume.

You may find that the disadvantages of a functional resume may ultimately outweigh the benefits of using one. However, there may be a few select times when a functional resume is the right choice in your job search.

Functional Resume Disadvantages

Not to be a downer, but it’s important to cover the disadvantages of functional resumes before covering the advantages. This is not meant to talk you out of using one. However, knowing what the cons are first will help put the pros into context.

Recruiters Might Dislike Them

Recruiters dislike functional resumes for two reasons. First, like it or not, when a recruiter sees a functional resume, it could raise a red flag. The thought is that job seekers use a functional resume to hide things. That could be a spotty work history or inconsistent career growth . Or, it could be nothing at all. But, in general, a recruiters’ first thought is that you’re hiding something, and that makes them nervous.

The other reason recruiters dislike functional resumes is that they are hard to read . By this, we mean that recruiters don’t only care about your skills. They want to know how and where you learned those skills. That gives the recruiter relevant information about your skills.

For example, you say you have killer fundraising skills. Great. But, did you learn those skills working for a large nonprofit with an international reach? Or, did you gain those skills working for the local PTA? Those are two very different organizations, and it means your skills and experiences will be vastly different.

Without a job to tie your skills to, your resume lacks meaning and context, making it hard for a recruiter to figure out if you’re worth an interview. And, generally speaking, if a recruiter has to work too hard to figure out what your worth as a candidate is, you’re probably ending up in the no pile.

Doesn’t Tell the Full Story

Along the same lines, a functional resume may not tell the full story about your career progression. It’s hard to tell your career story and demonstrate growth because you aren’t telling the story in a straight line.

For example, on a chronological resume compared to a functional resume , you can show that your first job out of college was working in a call center. Then, a few years later, you were promoted to team leader. A few years after that, you became an account manager and then the head of corporate accounts.

Yes, you can demonstrate growth with a functional resume, too. But, the difference is that with a chronological resume, you’re better able to show that not only did you progress in your career, you gained new skills and experiences as a result of your previous experiences, which helped you in the next one.

On a functional resume, you may have the same story, but it’s harder to demonstrate the growth when the skills and experiences are separated from the job history. There may be career advancement, but without the relevant skills attached to the job, it’s just a bunch of skills and jobs that may or may not mean anything in relation to each other.

Machines Can’t Read Them

Many companies, large and small, use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to help scan and rate resumes. While this allows companies to sort through far more resumes than a human can, the ATS is still just a machine that’s programmed by humans.

That programming tells the ATS to look for certain phrases and keywords. In many cases, it’s told to look for those keywords in a certain spot, like, say, under a job title. Since a functional resume doesn’t have keywords associated with job titles, there’s a chance that your resume will end up in the “pass” pile because the right keywords were in the “wrong” place .

Functional Resume Advantages

Now you now the potential downsides and why it can make hiring managers or recruiters skeptical. But, let’s talk about the ways a functional resume can work in your favor.

Helps Employment Gaps

There are plenty of valid reasons to sit out of work for a while. And, those reasons shouldn’t hold you back from finding a job. Unfortunately, many employers see a gap in employment history as a red flag.

There’s no way to hide your employment gaps on a chronological resume. And, there’s really no way to hide it on a functional resume, either. But, when you use a functional resume, you’re putting your focus on the relevant skills you bring to the table, instead of the fact that you haven’t worked continuously.

Putting the spotlight on what you have versus what you don’t have may be enough to override the employment gap red flag and get you in the door for an interview.

Advantageous to Career Changers

Career pivots happen for many reasons. However, going from accountant to glassblower isn’t as easy as taking a few classes and applying for some jobs.

Using a functional resume is a great way to highlight your transferable skills . By showcasing what you already have as an employee, you can demonstrate to the recruiter that you know what you’re doing, just not in that particular arena. This can make you a more desirable employee because while you have to learn certain nuances of the job, some of the bigger picture items—like how to communicate effectively—are skills you already possess.

Makes Sense of an Odd Work History

Maybe you always wanted to work in a kitchen and was a line cook for a few years. Maybe you volunteered in the animal shelter and want to get paid for it. You’ve got the skills and experience that employers want, they just may not see it on a chronological resume when you’ve held some unusual jobs.

But, using a functional resume may help you translate those experiences into useful skills that the employer is looking for . For example, working in the kitchen probably means you manage stress well and tight deadlines well, making you a great candidate for a customer service role. And, volunteering at the animal shelter may make you the perfect person for the receptionist position in the vet clinic.

On a functional resume, it’s not just about where you worked, it’s about what you learned . Sometimes the skills you possess are far more important to an employer than where you learned that skill.

When to Use a Functional Resume

As a rule, you shouldn’t use a functional resume in your job search. They may not provide recruiters with the context they need to move forward and machines have difficulty processing them. However, there are some situations when you can use a functional resume to your advantage.

Brie Reynolds, Career Development Manager and Coach at FlexJobs, says that a functional resume can have its place in your job search. But, don’t use it when you’re applying online. “A functional resume works best when it’s being sent to an individual via email or being handed to someone at a job fair or another face-to-face meeting.”

This works because it gives you a chance to explain your resume, connect the dots for the recruiter, and tell your full employment story—complete with transferable skills!

Functional Resume Format

If you think a functional resume is right for your job search, make sure you’re formatting it properly. And, that means more than getting the right keywords in the right spot.

In many regards, formatting a functional resume is the same as formatting a chronological resume . Follow the same rules regarding fonts and other “fancy” items (like accent colors) to make your resume easy to read.

Like a chronological resume, a functional resume starts with your contact information at the top. That includes your name, email address, and any social profiles you want to include.

You can include a professional summary just below your contact information. However, because your whole resume highlights your skills, the professional summary on a functional resume can be shorter than on other resumes. You want to avoid repeating what you say in the summary in your skills sections.

Give a brief overview of who you are as a professional and what you can offer the company in terms of broad skill sets. Stick with about three or four sentences at most.

Skills Section

Below the summary is where things get radically different. Instead of listing your jobs in reverse chronological order, you list your skills and experiences by group . And, instead of listing your job duties as bullet points under your job title, you list your skills and experiences under skills categories.

This section is titled “Areas of Expertise,” “Skills,” “Professional Skills,” or even “Qualifications.” Below that header, you create skills categories. Examples can include “Customer Service,” “Administrative Skills,” “Marketing,” “Organizational and Leadership Skills,” “Computer and Technical Skills,” “Sales,” or “Design Skills.”

Create whatever categories you want based on what skills you want to highlight. Limit yourself to your top three or four categories and keep them as broad as possible .

Under each broad category, you describe the specific skills in greater detail, without going overboard. If you can, tie the skill to an achievement at a job and explain how that achievement had a positive impact for the employer.

Here’s an example:

Marketing Skills

As you can see, these are specific, concrete examples of problems identified, actions taken, and the results achieved.

The above example is a “hard” skill. But, you can also categorize and give examples of your “soft” skills .

Customer Service Skills

Work Experience

After you’ve highlighted your top three or four categories, list your work history. Unlike a chronological resume, your work history is very brief . It’s the name of the company, your job title, and your dates of employment.

You do not list any job duties, accomplishments, or skills under your job titles because you covered all of those in the skills section.

If you had any internships, list them here in the same format as work experience. Again, you do not list any skills or accomplishments because they are covered in the skills section.

Below work experience is your education. This is formatted the same way as any other resume, which is the name of the school, the dates you attended, and any degrees you received.

Volunteer Experience

Similar to work history, if there’s volunteer experience you’d like to share, this is the section for it. And, again, just like work history, you only list where you volunteered, what your position was, and how long you volunteered for.

If you picked up any skills during your volunteering that may be relevant to the job, list them under the skills section like you would for any skills you gained from a paid job.

Functional Resume Example

Looking for something to get your started? Check out this functional resume sample:

Functional Resume Sample and Example

Choosing the Best Resume Format

A functional resume can have a place in a job search . However, most experts say you should use them rarely since most employers dislike them. If you have the opportunity to apply in person and you think a functional resume can help you, consider having one ready to go.

In most cases, you should use a chronological resume. But if you’re worried about employment gaps or you’re switching careers, a chronological resume may not be the right choice either. In these cases, consider a hybrid resume , which is the best of a functional resume and a chronological resume .

However, if you’d like some expert advice on formatting a functional resume, or if you need help deciding if you should use one, talk to a FlexJobs career coach .

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Functional Resume: Template, Examples, and Writing Guide

Conrad Benz

If you have non-traditional work experience — or a lack of relevant work experience entirely — the functional resume format may be the right choice for you. Learn how to write your own, and use our template and examples to help you get started.

An example of a functional resume format

What is a functional resume?

A functional resume is a resume format that focuses more on your professional skills rather than each job you held and when you held that job.

Looking to emphasize your skills rather than your career progression? The functional resume format is the ideal choice for you. And if you’re a career changer, job seeker with employment gaps, or someone with a highly developed skill set, the functional resume format gives you the best chance of impressing a hiring manager.

The biggest difference between a functional resume and the standard chronological resume is that a functional resume groups your experience under skill categories instead of job titles. Under each skill category, bullet points are used to highlight examples of your skills, and those examples can come from both work and life experiences.

Here’s what a functional resume looks like:

Structure of a functional resume

Should i use a functional resume.

Yes, you should use a functional resume in the following situations:

Functional resume template and examples

Here’s a functional resume template that you can copy and paste into Google Docs or Microsoft Word and fill in with your own information:

Functional resume template

1. Resume Heading


Email: [email protected] | Phone: 895 555 555 | Address: 4397 Aaron Smith Drive Harrisburg, PA 17101 | Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/yourprofile

2. Resume Summary

Skilled [industry] professional with [# of years] years of experience. Seeking to leverage my expertise in [relevant skills] to fill your [position name] position. An intuitive worker aiming to help achieve [Company’s Name] ’s goals and take on more responsibility as quickly as possible.

3. Relevant Skills

First Skill

Second Skill

4. Work History

Most Recent Job Title Employer Name / Location / Start Year – End Year

Earlier Job Title Employer Name / Location / Start Year – End Year

5. Education

Degree Name / Major University, Location | Start Date – End Date

6. Additional Resume Section

Not sure what your functional resume should look like? Here are a couple different functional resume examples that you can download and use as a reference when writing your own:

Example 1: substitute teacher

A substitute teacher functional resume example

Substitute Teacher Resume (Text Format)

Certified substitute teacher with a proven track record of improving the progress of struggling students and increasing class text scores. Recognized for ability to increase student participation and motivation in learning through engaging lessons. Adept with Microsoft Office and SMART Board Lesson Development.




B.A. / Primary Education

San Jose State University, May 2016

National Board of Professional Teaching Standards

Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, March 2017


Broadway High School, San Jose, CA

Substitute Teacher

January 2020 – Present

Britton Middle School, Morgan Hill, CA

February 2017 – March 2018

Download This Resume Template

Example 2: customer service

A sales clerk functional resume example

Customer Service Resume (Text Format)




Ulta , Manhattan, NY


Sales Clerk

GAP , Albany, NY


Sales Representative

The North Face , Albany, NY

Retail Clerk

Associates Degree/Fine Arts

Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY

How to write a functional resume

Now that you have an idea of what a functional resume looks like, it’s time to learn how to write one. Here’s a section-by-section guide for writing a functional resume:

1. List your contact information

Include the following contact information on your resume :

Your name should be the largest text on the page, and typed out in a professional resume font .

If you have a LinkedIn profile or personal website related to the job you’re applying for, add it in this section.

2. Write a detailed resume introduction

If you’ve been out of a job for chunks of time, a convincing resume summary is the best way to start your resume .

A resume summary provides hiring managers an insight into your professional background and skills. It allows you to list 2-3 examples of your most relevant achievements and responsibilities at the top of your resume, either in a bulleted list or paragraph format. The best way to make a convincing resume summary is by doing some research and writing it yourself or by using a resume summary generator to do the work for you.

Here’s an example of a strong resume summary in paragraph form:

An example of a resume summary for a functional resume

Additionally, check the job description to find resume keywords that you can sprinkle into your resume summary.

3. Group your skills by type

If you use a functional resume format, the skills on your resume are more emphasized than your work history.

Typically the skills section of a functional resume is about the same size as the work experience section of a chronological resume.

When writing the resume skills section on your functional resume, choose at least three skills that are highly applicable to the job you’re applying for. For each skill, add 3 or 4 bullet-point examples that prove you have that skill.

Then you should add numbers to those bullet points to give employers confidence you can fulfill the job requirements and deliver concrete results. These numbers could be anything that you impacted through your work, whether that’s dollar amounts, percentages, numbers of people, or time saved.

Include at least one bullet point with numbers for each skill to catch the hiring manager’s attention.

Here’s an example of what a functional resume skills section with hard numbers looks like:

An example of a skills section for a functional resume

4. Write your employment history

The work history section of a functional resume is short. You only need to list the names of the companies you worked for, as well as each job title.

You don’t have to list your previous jobs in a specific order either, because adding employment dates for those jobs is optional.

Ultimately, the goal of writing a functional resume is to downplay your chronological work history as much as possible, and your work experience section should reflect that.

Here’s an example of an effective work history section on a functional resume:

A short work history section sampled from a functional resume template

5. List your relevant educational background

Unless your resume’s education section directly relates to the job you’re applying for, only include the name of your university or organization, the city and state, the degree you received, and your GPA (if it’s above 3.5).

Here’s an example of how to list your education background on a functional resume:

An example of a proper education section on a functional resume

6. Highlight your professional accomplishments

If you have an award or honor related to your target position, add it to your functional resume.

Earning an award shows you’ve stood out among your peers, proving you’ll be a valuable addition to a workplace.

If you have numerous accomplishments , you should list them in a separate “Awards” section on your resume. Otherwise, you can mention them in your summary or skills bullet points.

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Conrad Benz

Written by Conrad Benz

Conrad Benz is a Digital Media Specialist & Resume Expert at Resume Genius, where he helps countless job-seekers craft standout resumes and launch their careers. His... more

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Functional Resume Format: Focusing on Skills and Experience

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The functional resume format focuses on portable skills or functional areas and ignores chronological order. The functional resume style omits dates, employers, and job titles in its purest form. It is oriented toward what the job seeker can do for the employer instead of narrating history.

Because employers don’t like it when you leave out the particulars, contemporary functional resumes list (but downplay) employers, job titles, and sometimes even dates by briefly listing them at the bottom of the resume.

Choose areas of expertise acquired during the course of your career, including education and unpaid activities. These areas become skill and functional headings, which vary by the target position or career field. Note any achievements below each heading. A few examples of headings are: Management, Sales, Budget Control, Cost Cutting, Project Implementation, and Turnaround Successes.

List the headings in the order of importance and follow each heading with a series of short statements of your skills. Turn your statements into power hitters with measurable achievements.


Click here to view this resume.

Strengths and weaknesses of this resume format

The following are the strengths of the functional format:

A functional resume directs a reader’s eyes to what you want him or her to notice. It helps a reader visualize what you can do instead of when and where you learned to do it.

The functional format — written after researching the target company — serves up the precise functions or skills that the employer wants. It’s like saying, “You want budget control and turnaround skills — I have budget control and turnaround skills.”

It uses unpaid and nonwork experience to your best advantage.

It allows you to eliminate or subordinate work history that doesn’t support your current objective.

Weaknesses of the functional format include the following:

Because recruiters and employers are more accustomed to the reverse chronological resume format, departing from the norm may raise suspicion. Readers may assume that you’re trying to hide inadequate experience or educational deficits.

Functional styles may leave unclear which skills grew from which jobs or experiences.

This style doesn’t make a clear career path obvious.

This format doesn’t maximize recent coups in the job market.

Who should (and shouldn't) use this resume format

This resume is heaven-sent for career changers, new graduates, ex-military personnel, seasoned aces, and individuals with multitrack job histories, work-history gaps, or special-issue problems.

Job seekers with exemplary backgrounds and managers and professionals who are often tapped by executive recruiters should avoid this format.

About This Article

This article can be found in the category:.

Functional Resume Example and Writing Tips

Alison Doyle is one of the nation’s foremost career experts.

functional resume headings

Other Types of Resumes

When to use a functional resume, what to include in a functional resume.

Review More Resume Examples

Depending on your work history, you may want to consider using a functional resume. A  functional resume  focuses on the skills and experiences that make you a strong candidate for a position.  

Unlike a traditional resume, the functional resume does not highlight your chronological work history. Instead, it focuses on the skills you have developed that fit the requirements of the job for which you are applying. 

Functional resumes are ideal for people who have gaps in their employment histories or are new to a particular industry.

Functional Resume vs. Traditional Resume

A traditional resume, also known as a  chronological resume , emphasizes your work history. It includes a list of your work experiences. For each job you have held, you include the dates you worked, the job title, and the company. Most traditional resumes list work experience in reverse chronological order (with your current experience first).  

You should use a chronological resume when you have an extensive work history that is related to the job you are applying for. It is a good way to quickly show that you have related experience.

Functional and traditional resumes are not the only  resume types  to choose from. For example, if you want to both highlight your skills and include your chronological work history, consider a  combination resume .  

If you are in a creative field (such as graphic design), consider using a nontraditional resume. This kind of resume allows you to include visuals, such as graphs and infographics. This way, you can show off your design skills within the resume.

Functional resumes are ideal for people who do not have lots of work experience related to the job they are applying for. If you are switching careers, are new to the field, or have gaps in your employment, consider using a functional resume.

If you frequently change jobs, you might also consider a functional resume. This will help you avoid highlighting the fact that you have not stayed at one job for very long.

A functional resume isn't organized by position, so you'll need another organizational structure. Typically, functional resumes are organized by categories based on your skills or qualifications. Look at the job description for cues about what to emphasize here. 

A  functional resume  does not emphasize your chronological work history. Instead, it highlights your skills and abilities:

That being said, it is still a good idea to include a brief work history section in a functional resume.

Consider including a short, chronological work history section at the end of your resume.

If you have gaps in your employment or have frequently changed jobs, you can leave out your employment dates.

Functional Resume Example & Template

Read below for an example of a functional resume. This example includes a resume summary statement , which is a great way to quickly demonstrate your skills and abilities. It also includes a concise list of experience and a detailed list of skills.

While this resume includes a work history section (labeled “Employment History”), it provides only brief details about the jobs held. It also includes this information near the bottom of the resume, to avoid highlighting it.

Download the functional resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Functional Resume (Text Version)

John A. Doe 999 Main Street Ann Arbor, MI 99999 (123) 555-1234 johndoe@email.com


Experienced and versatile professional with strong urban planning as well as people, management, and research skills seeks a position in urban planning and environmental impact analysis with a major city or Fortune 500 company.



Administrative : Lead coordinator for the daily processing of thousands of checks for payment and the mailing of confidential reports, meeting strict deadlines, and avoiding late fees.

Problem Solving : Designed a waste-management program involving Recycle Ann Arbor and a major book company, intended for the efficient handling of tons of paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, and glass, achieving net savings of $20,000 per building annually and reducing company disposal obligations.

Management:  Oversaw operations of an expanding research lab, providing expertise, commitment, and quality control during a time of significant transition.


Senior Process Engineer, September 2018-Present Zezee Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich.

Process Engineer: Technical Support, September 2014-September 2018 Zezee Corp., Ann Arbor, Mich.

Technical Professional , September 2012-September 2014 City of the Stars, Mich.

Master of Business Administration (2017); GPA 3.9 Southern Nazarene University, Bethany, Okla. (Online Program)

Bachelor of Science (Emphasis: Ecosystem/Environmental Business) May 2014 Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich.

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Resume format tips for functional resumes

Traditions can be wonderful, but sometimes there are good reasons to break them. If you're a vegetarian, for example, serving the customary Thanksgiving turkey just won't work. And if football isn't your thing, you won't be glued to the TV during the big game, no matter how many millions of other folks are. It's the same with resumes.

The vast majority of job seekers use the familiar chronological resume (which lists employment history in reverse order, beginning with the most recent experience), and with good reason. It's the tried-and-tested format most preferred by HR professionals and hiring managers nationwide.

But just like turkeys and touchdowns, the chronological resume isn't a perfect fit for everyone. It's up to you to decide if it's appropriate for your current professional situation and the circumstances surrounding your job search.

When to consider a functional format

If you've held a number of different or unrelated jobs during a relatively short period of time and are worried about being labeled as a job-hopper , the functional resume (also known as a "skills-based format") could be the answer for you. This resume format can also work well for those entering the workforce for the first time or after a long absence (such as recent grads with no prior formal work experience, stay-at-home moms or dads now seeking outside employment, or caregivers who have spent a year or more treating an ill or aging family member). It could also be a good choice if your prior work experience is more relevant to your current job target than what you're doing presently. (Not sure where you land? Check out a combination resume .)

Functional resume how-tos

Functional resumes rely on strategically grouping key skills into different categories to demonstrate a candidate's qualifications and expertise for a particular job. This skills-based focus allows you to emphasize your strengths and soft-pedal a flawed or absent employment record.

For example, if you're applying for an international sales management position, you might choose categories such as "Sales and Marketing Experience," "International Business/Foreign Language Fluency" and "Team Building and Leadership Expertise" for your headings, listing appropriate skills and accomplishments beneath each one.

The actual employment history section of a functional resume is typically brief with a simple list of positions held, company names and employment dates at the bottom of page one or on page two to de-emphasize their importance. Occasionally some of this information is even intentionally omitted altogether.

Functional resume sample format

Name Contact info

Seeking an office manager position with ABC company in order to maximize efficiency of employees and stimulate growth of the company through proactive effort, excellent time management, and coordination skills.

Accomplished office manager with a proven ability to develop and implement time-management strategies that support business and financial objectives. Reduced operating budget by $10,000 in most recent job. Recognized as an expert in efficiency and data management.

Respected team player focused on achieving company goals. Keep up-to-date with changes in the industry through continuing professional development (earned Project Management Professional certification).


Streamlining processes/Problem solving


ABC Business – New York, NY Administrative assistant, 2017 to present

EFG College – New York, NY BA Communications , 2016

Proceed cautiously

If a functional resume sounds like it could be a good fit for your situation, be aware there are a few drawbacks to this approach. Leaving off dates or titles can raise hiring managers' suspicions that you're trying to hide something, which, in all probability, you are. It can also be a little frustrating to readers who are trying to figure out where you performed a particular accomplishment, since these details are listed under skill categories instead of job titles.

The best strategy is to carefully evaluate your situation, weighing the pros and cons of this format. If the advantages of the functional design outweigh the drawbacks, go ahead, defy tradition. A new skills-based format could be just what your resume needs to present you in the best possible light.

Get it checked out

If you're considering a nontraditional resume format, it's all the more reason you want to have it reviewed before you use it to apply to jobs. Otherwise, you risk sending in a convoluted representation of your skills—and nobody wants that to happen. Could you use some help? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service . You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. It's a quick and easy way to make sure your resume is in top shape for a job search.

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In this article, you'll read about:

What Is a Functional Resume?

Functional resume template, how to write a functional resume, functional resume examples.

A functional resume, also known as a skill-based resume, is a type of resume format that emphasizes skills rather than experience. Instead of concentrating on a chronological review of your work experience, the goal of a functional resume is to highlight transferable skills. This resume style is good for individuals who are looking for a profession where their previous work experience isn't immediately related.

The functional resume format is a good alternative for people who have had inactive periods in their careers. By focusing on your capabilities, you do not give as much importance to time, as you would in a chronological format, for example. With a functional resume, you have more freedom to give prominence to your skills. This guide will show you all you need to know about the functional resume format.

A functional resume is ideal for certain people, such as freshers and career changers. Moreover, a functional resume format puts your skills in the spotlight and makes your skills the focus over education or experience.

When Should You Use a Functional (Skill-Based) Resume Format?

Resume formats (functional, chronological, or combination) rely on your career background and situation, which vary among people.  A functional resume format works best if you fall into one of the following circumstances:

Other Types of Resume Format

There are three 3 common types of resume formats, which are functional format, chronological format, and combination format. There is no one-size-fits-all format, as each individual has a different job situation.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the functional format and the other two types of formats:

1. Functional Resume Format (Skills-Based)

2. Reverse-Chronological Formal (Chronological)

3. Combination Format (Hybrid)

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Before taking a look at the skill-based resume template shown in this section, it is important to go through all the elements that make a functional resume be on point:

1. Resume Header

This section on your functional format resume displays your contact information. Without this, recruiters will not know who you are. Generally speaking, the functional resume heading contains your full name, email, phone number, and other relevant URLs, such as your LinkedIn profile or personal website.

2. Resume Summary

A functional resume summary is an overview of your career highlights based on experience and qualifications obtained. Your resume summary on your functional resume should be a concise paragraph, so do not exceed 5 sentences. If you are a fresher or with not enough relevant experience, a resume objective is better than a resume summary on your functional resume.

Skills can make or break a functional CV or resume. This is the key element for professionals making a resume or CV with a functional format as skills are the qualifications that are highlighted the most. When listing relevant skills in your functional CV or resume, give some description of duties and accomplishments related to those skills.

4. Work History

Work history should not be left out in your functional resume, but don’t forget to give the main details of each entity you were employed, such as organization name, job title, and dates of employment.

5. Education

List the schools you attended in your functional resume with the following details: School name, date of graduation, and the degree obtained.

6. Additional resume sections

Your functional resume can have an additional section, such as certificates or projects. Since your work experience is not full of details, this space can be used with an extra section in your functional resume.

Here is a what a functional resume template typically looks like:

Ross Giardini

Professional Fluent in English, French, and Italian

Mobile: (+26) 001-3450 Email: [email protected] Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/rgalardini

Marketing and F&B Professional with over 7 years of management and leadership experience, with recent ventures in the wine and hotel industries. Highly accomplished and well versed in all areas of sales and business development for all types of food and beverage products, including brand development, marketing, and management.

Relevant Skills

Product management and control: 

Leadership skills: 

Marketing and advertising: 

Work History

Toldo Hotel |  2017-2020 F&B General Manager

Direco Winery and Co.   | 2013-2017 Marketing Assistant

Bachelor’s Degree - Hotel Management Georgia State University  | May 2012

Here are some tips when writing a functional resume:

1. Categorize skills into different skill types.

Besides hard and soft skills, there are specific skills compatible with certain jobs, so use them in your functional resume. 

2. Demonstrate the skills by providing detailed descriptions.

After your resume summary, give details on the relevant skills you are listing in your functional resume, as provided in the previous section.

3. Create a strong resume summary.

You can use a resume summary over an objective in your functional resume. The best practice for a summary on a functional resume is to mention your skills and complement your past duties to show your career development.

4. Mention relevant projects and activities that showcase your skills.

A functional resume focuses on skills, and projects/activities back up the fact you acquired such skills.

5. Keep your writing concise and brief.

A functional resume lacks extensive work history, so use this at your advantage to have concise content so readers will not be overwhelmed by it.

6. Replace lack of work experience with any volunteer work or organization activities.

If there was any volunteer work you have done, do list it in your functional resume to show you have done some work.

7. Add certificates (if any).

Listing certificates further prove that your skills are relevant if you still have the experience to amass. You can make an extra section for certificates in your functional resume.

Here are more examples of a functional resume for different situations.

Let’s take a look at each functional resume template:

1. Functional Resume Example for Freshers

Functional Resume Example for Freshers

2. Functional Resume Example for Customer Service

Functional Resume Example for Customer Service

3. Functional Resume Example for Teachers

Functional Resume Example for Teachers

--- Originally written by  Jose J. Rosales ---

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With the intention of helping job seekers to fully display their value, CakeResume creates an accessible free resume/CV/biodata builder, for users to build highly-customized resumes. Having a compelling resume is just like a piece of cake!

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