Functional Resume Examples | Tips to Make a Skill-Based Resume from Zero

One thing that plays a significant role in ensuring that the hiring manager checks your resume is the format.

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Functional Resume Examples | Tips to Make a Skill-Based Resume from Zero

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While there are different formats you can consider, we'll focus on the functional resume and discuss it in-depth to help you decide if it's the best one for you. You can also check out our resume examples which are an excellent guide for any profession you want to get into.

In this article, here is some of the information you'll find:

  • What is a functional resume
  • The advantages and disadvantages of a functional resume format
  • The areas the functional resume focuses on.
  • How to make your functional resume stand out.

A functional resume, also known as a skills-based resume, is a format that focuses on your skills and educational qualifications. If you're using this format, your skills should match the job you're applying for; otherwise, you can easily miss out on the opportunity.

While most hiring managers dodge this format, you can use it in your favor by ensuring your skills are exactly what your potential employer needs. The job description usually has some of these skills, so you can check and add them to your resume. You can use our resume templates to structure your resume ensuring you don't leave any vital parts.

The layout of your functional resume will have various sections, which include:

  • A header
  • Resume summary or objective
  • Skills section
  • Education section
  • Work experience section
  • An additional section

Remember to proofread your resume to ensure that all the sections are correct, especially your contact information.

Job titles also play a significant role in allowing you to secure a position. Therefore, you need to ensure that they are keyword optimized and tailored to each job/company.

Who Might Benefit from Using a Functional Resume?

A functional resume format highlights your relevant skills and tries to get the recruiter's attention away from the work experience section. While this can be frustrating because they want to see your previous experience, you can make it worthwhile by showing them the specific skills and relevant qualifications that make you a strong candidate.

You're probably wondering who tries to hide their employment history from the hiring manager when it's all they want to see. Here is a list.

  • Recent graduates who have little to no experience
  • Candidates who are changing careers from other professions and don't have relevant work experience.
  • Candidates with job gaps that would be evident if they used the reverse-chronological format or the combination resume.
💡These three groups benefit from using a functional resume format because it allows them to showcase the transferable skills they have gained from school or previous jobs.

📌Some candidates who are transitioning from a different career may argue that the skills they have gained over time benefit the company more than the experience, and that's why they prefer the functional resume format.

how to write a functional resume

Functional Resume Example

Freddy Watson
Civil Engineer
Salton City, CA

Professional summary
Professional Civil Engineer with expert knowledge of AutoCAD and MATLAB. Detail-oriented and proficient in cost estimations, calculating loads, and determining specifications of designs. Achieves positive project impact by producing professional designs. Seeking a position with Grand Design firm with opportunity for advancement.

AutoCAD specialist
Used this program for the following:
  • To draft and draw design plans as requested.
  • 3D scanning and point cloud generation
  • PDF and DGN import, export and underlay.

Knowledge of STAAD Pro
  • Analyzed and designed the structure of 2 buildings with the help of a senior engineer.
  • Collaborated with other team members to use this program through desktop, cloud and mobile applications.

Interpersonal skills
  • Related well with colleagues and clients, fostering a great work environment.
  • Worked well with clients and increased the customer retention rate by 15%.

Leadership skills
  • Led a team of 5 members in my engineering class and was commended by the professor for the best presentation.

Other skills
  • Autodesk Revit
  • Math
  • Project management
  • Structural design
  • Quality assurance
  • Business administration
  • Microsoft office
  • Analytical skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills

Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering
University of San Diego
June 2016
  • Covered a course in structural design and analysis.
  • I was named the top student in the leadership and business principles class.
  • Led a group of 5 members who gave the best presentation in the hydraulics and hydrology class.

Work experience
Vent Consulting
Junior Civil Engineer
June 2018-January 2020
  • Relayed accurate measurements to architects and inspected and surveyed sites noting site conditions.
  • Identified tools to accomplish tasks to plan and design transportation and hydraulic systems and implemented complex design software.
  • Estimated costs of the entire construction project and assisted other departments with developing plans for road, parking lot, and drainage projects.

Additional section
Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers

Engineer In Training Certification(EIT)

recruiter celebrating at the office

Difference Between the Functional Resume and The Chronological Resume

As we mentioned before, a functional resume highlights your skills, but it's not the only resume format we have.

There are two other common resume formats.

The reverse-chronological resume focuses on your work experience and professional accomplishments. When using this format, you'll need to list your work history and specific employment dates at each workplace.

The combination/hybrid resume format focuses on your experience and your skills. It blends the best features of the reverse chronological order and the functional resume formats. If you're a freelancer, this is a format you can consider using because it allows you to highlight your best qualifications and your list of notable clients.

Let's look at some differences between the reverse-chronological and functional resume formats.

  • While the functional resume focuses on your skills, the reverse-chronological format focuses on your professional experience.
  • The functional resume is perfect for candidates with little to no experience like recent graduates and career changers, while the reverse-chronological format works well for candidates with many years of experience in their field.
  • The functional resume is not easy to scan on ATS systems, but the reverse chronological resume is easily scannable, making it a favorite of most hiring managers.
  • The functional resume conceals your employment gaps while the reverse-chronological resume exposes them.

Functional Resume Vs. Chronological Resume

  • Focuses on a candidate's skills
  • Conceals employment gaps
  • Hard to scan on ATS systems
  • Favors candidates with little to no experience
  • Focuses on a candidate's experience
  • Easy to scan on ATS
  • Exposes employment gaps
  • Favors candidates with experience

Functional Resume: Advantages and Disadvantages

Like any other format, a functional resume has its advantages and disadvantages. Let's look at some of them before deciding if this is the best format for you. Advantages
  • It's perfect for job seekers who have worked in many different fields and don't have experience in one career path.
  • It's an excellent option for fresh graduates who don't have relevant experience or chronological work history in their field.
  • If you've had many jobs and don't want to show it in your resume because many recruiters hate it, you can use this format.
  • If you want to change your career and get into a new industry, use a functional resume because it allows you to highlight the key skills that are transferable to the other position.
  • Some recruiters and career experts don't accept functional resumes and advise job seekers against using them.
  • Resumes written using the functional format may be rejected by ATS systems because, in most instances, they are hard to scan, causing the candidate to miss out on the opportunity.
  • You need to explain the skills you add to your resume giving specific examples of how you use them in a work environment to achieve results.
functional resume

When Is It Best to Use a Functional Resume?

Some of the instances when it's better to use a functional resume include the following:

  • When you're a recent graduate and don't have the professional experience and relevant achievements the recruiter requires.
  • When you're changing careers and don't have the job requirements listed in the job description, especially in the experience section.
  • When your job search takes longer than expected because of the evident gaps of employment in your resume. A functional resume conceals these gaps.
  • When you've worked many different jobs and don't want to look like a job hopper.

When Is it Best Not to Use a Functional Resume?

  • If you have the relevant experience and qualifications required.
  • If you don't have any gaps of employment you would like to conceal.
  • If you're changing jobs but staying in the same career you've been in for many years.
  • If you stay at one position for a considerable period and would not be considered a job hopper.

Summary Of The Functional Resume

  • A good functional resume template will structure your resume correctly, showcasing your top qualifications.
  • Always accompany your resume with a cover letter. Check out our cover letter examples.
  • Your functional resume should have all the required sections.
  • Proofread your resume to ensure the information is correct and does not have any errors or mistakes.
  • The functional resume format highlights your skills, while the reverse-chronological format highlights your work experience.
  • Instead of using bullet points to list your skills, add relevant examples where you've achieved results under each skill to show the recruiter you're bringing value to the company.
  • Your resume should be one page long.
  • If you have the relevant experience and achievements, you can consider the reverse-chronological or combination resume.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Skill-Based Resume

Why is the functional or combination resume most commonly used by teenagers?

The functional or skills-based resume is suitable for candidates without experience, and most teenagers don't have experience in their field. This makes it an appropriate option for them because it allows them to present the skills they've gained from volunteer experiences or school.

Do employers like functional resumes?

Employers don't like functional resumes. In fact, some recruiters reject them and disqualify a candidate if they've used this format. Employers' advice to job seekers is that they should avoid this format if they don't need to use it. Most employers prefer the reverse-chronological order, which is easy to scan on ATS systems and shows their professional experience.

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