Functional Resume: Who Should Use it and Why?

The meaning of function in the term functional resume is an activity or a purpose and we can easily relate it with skills that one has. This is one of the reasons why a functional resume is called a skill based resume.

Last update:
Functional Resume: Who Should Use it and Why?

Write your resume in 15 minutes

Our free collection of expertly designed resume templates will help you stand out from the crowd and get one step closer to your dream job.

Create your resume
Table of contents
Table of content
Create my resume with AI

Write your resume in 15 minutes

Our free collection of expertly designed resume templates will help you stand out from the crowd and get one step closer to your dream job.

Create my resume

A skill based resume focuses on skills, competence, accomplishments, expertise, or techniques that a person can use to get a job done. It means skills are centre of attraction in a functional resume. If that's right to believe then what about other elements in a resume?

That's what this guide will help you with. You will read:

  • Formats of a resume
  • How functional resume differs from others?
  • Who needs a functional resume?
  • Functional resume format example
  • How to write a functional resume?
  • Key takeaways of writing functional resumes

Want to fast forward your resume writing process? Get started with our resume builder. In case, you want to go through resume examples before writing it for yourself then go ahead. Browse industry specific resume examples. Plus a resume template library.

A resume is written in three different formats explained below.

functional resumes

Reverse Chronological Resume Format

The central idea of a reverse chronological resume format is to highlight the work experiences in a reverse order. The work history begins with the current experience and ends with the oldest or the first job.

In short, job seekers arrange their experience in descending order. We have already discussed this resume format in countless resume examples. Below is the list of sample resumes based on reverse chronological format.

We also have free resume templates to help you write a resume the way you want. Click here to browse our free templates.

Functional Resume Format

Unlike the reverse chronological resumes, the functional resumes depicts skills in great details. It's not that you have to completely eliminate the work history but the main focus will be on your expertise.

Let's get this straight - hiring managers simply don't entertain such things and there are valid reasons why they do so.

Why a skills based resume is annoying for hiring managers? First thing first, there's no legit work history to help them calculate your worth. Moreover, it creates suspicions whether or not you are an eligible person for the job.

Secondly, it shows gaps in your employment because that's the reason why you are using a skills based resume format. When you sum up all these, finally, it reduces your chances of getting a job.

Don't be disheartened if you have decided to draft your resume in functional format. A bunch of drawbacks can't outweigh the advantages that a skills based resume bring to the table. We will soon shed some light on this topic here in the post so just hang on.

Hybrid Resume Format

When you equally balance your work experience and skills in a resume you get a hybrid resume. You can term it as combination resume, in a way.

A hybrid resume combines what you have done till date using the kind of technical and non-technical intelligence. However, this is a different story and as of now we will focus on the functional resumes.

How Functional Resume Differs From Others?

We just said above, don't panic if you want to write a functional resume because there are benefits of writing one and they can outrun the negative parts. Moreover, we will show you how to use a functional resume.

How's a skills based resume different from other resumes? The primary objective of a skills based resume is to fetch attentions of recruiters to specific skills and the work done using them in the first place.

In simple words, elaborating your skill set in detail is what you do in a functional resume. In traditional resume there are separate skill categories under which a list of relevant skills are mentioned. These skills category are hard skills, soft skills, professional skills, technical skills, transferable skills, and additional skills if you have any.

Now all this skill category are individually defined in a functional resume similar to a job experience. Refer to the functional resume example below for more information.

functional resumes

Who Needs a Functional Resume?

  • A job seeker having frequent gaps in their employment periods. Reasons can be different depending on circumstances but if you have gaps than this format of the resume is for you.
  • Applicants changing their job titles, for instance, from content developer to a supervisor. When you plan to work for jobs that are poles apart then this format works.
  • When your skills don't match the job application but you can manage by converting them according to the specific job description.
  • Your work experience doesn't match the job title that you are applying for. Under situation when you lack relevant working background use this format to write a resume.
  • Jobs where relevant skills matter the most. For instance, fashion or entertainment industry jobs. This format works fine to highlight skills compared to other things in a resume.
  • When you want to highlight skills more compared to education or experience. Writing individual skills in detail helps the recruiter know you better.

If you think work experience is not essential in a functional resume then you are mistaken. Even though a functional resume highlights specific skills still you need a work background.

Wait, you don't have work experience. Right? Read this guide how to write a resume (with no work experience). Similarly, if you are a student then read this guide to write a perfect high school resume.

Functional Resume Format Example

After all the discussions above finally it's time to see an example of a functional resume format. The example reference that we have taken here is from the creative industry. This will help us to better understand when we elaborate the skills section.

Objective Statement in a Functional Resume

A professional resume summary suits when you don't have career gaps. Summarising your career story with skills and achievements is done in a conventional resume and immediately follows the work history in a reverse chronological order. But in a functional resume it's different.

Write an objective statement containing professional accomplishments, relevant experience along with hard and soft skills. Combine them to formulate a statement speaking to the potential employer that how valuable you are to the company.

Skill Summary in a Functional Resume

Instead of professional experience we will concentrate on detailing skills using bullet points. Now that's what a functional resume does for you when you decide to change careers or job profile.

Hence, make a list of most relevant skills that you have and describe the kind of work that you have done so far using these skills. Refer to the functional resume sample above and see how Jeremy has written skills in technical details.

Work Experience in a Functional Resume

It is easy to write a chronological work history because it is in a continuous flow without major employment gaps.

However, the situation is different in a functional resume. Why? There are unavoidable employment gaps. So how to write work history simultaneously addressing those gaps. Refer to the tips below.

  • Honestly mention why you were unemployed during those period. Were you under medical observation or travelling? Did you undertake academic tasks? For example, completing your graduation.
  • If you took short term relevant projects pertaining to your skills to support your finances then explain them. Switching careers is not a negative thing. Moreover, you are not the first person to do that but if you skip them writing in your resume it may reflect adversely.
  • Label your job experiences with job title, company name, employment dates, and location. Follow this layout to make it convincing and acceptable.
  • Volunteer work can be part of the employment history in case you are a recent graduate. Write them in a neat and clean bullet points with supported details.

Education in a Functional Resume

Add relevant qualifications in the education section. Skip high school diploma or equivalent details if you have completed a major degree. For example, bachelor's or master's degrees.

Follow a format while writing education and it is very easy. Refer below.

  • Name of the degree
  • Name of the college/university
  • Location
  • Duration or completion dates
  • GPA and major subjects

Additional Skills in a Functional Resume

You have read it already - Jeremy is a super hero when it is about selling yourself! Refer to the functional resume example above once again, especially, the additional skills section.

It includes names of all those advanced softwares and tools. He is an expert handling them and this highly impacts the hiring manager. Another efficient way to do this is to read the job duties carefully and find out what the employer is demanding from job seekers.

Make a list of keywords from the job ad and match them with the skills in your resume. When you give employers what they are looking for it dramatically increases your chances of getting hired.

functional resumes

Key Takeaways of Writing Functional Resumes

Unorganised employment history is not an obstacle and neither it makes you vulnerable. Use a functional resume to showcase your expertise. Now you are ready to a functional resume but before you begin here are some key points to remember.

  • Read this guide before you start writing your own functional resume.
  • Functional resumes are purely skill based and for those having gaps in work history. For a chronological resume follow the links given in the beginning of this post.
  • Decide the format first and then start writing because resumes are generally written in three distinct formats.
  • Combination resume strategy is not applicable when you want to display skills instead of experience. Hence, don't divert from the functional resume idea.
  • Mention relevant achievements and accomplishments related to the job along with skills because they both go hand-in-hand when changing careers.
  • Follow the functional resume sample in this guide to help you navigate through the writing process.
  • Eliminate unwanted information in the header like fancy emails and street address.
  • Write a compelling objective statement instead of a summary.
  • Free templates for resumes are good to start with if you are a nomad in the resume writing regime.
  • Attach a cover letter with the job application. Click this link to learn how to write a cover letter.

You can still make a resume for yourself even if you don't have a work history when stepping into a new industry. Let us know if you have questions.

Functional Resume Sample of a Digital Content Developer

Jeremy Krammer

Digital Content Developer

+1 456 789 321

Houston, Texas


Hard working individual with a creative mind and a bachelor degree in arts is seeking a position in Tech Radar as a digital content developer. Highly skilled in generating e-content for social media platforms like Instagram, FaceBook, YouTube, and Pinterest. Having a creative edge in producing textual, video, graphics, and animation contents. Also profound knowledge of content management system like WordPress and blog themes.

Skills Summary

Content Writing

  • Developed ghost articles on internet marketing niche.
  • Published book, product, and food reviews as blog posts.
  • Knowledge of plagiarism, spin content and grammar tools.
  • Achieved milestone of writing e-book of 10000 words in 8 hours.

Video Production

  • Well versed with video editing software Final Cut Pro X
  • Sound knowledge of Adobe Premier Pro suite
  • Know how to shoot videos using mirrorless cameras
  • Expert product photographer and editor.

Content Management System (CMS)

  • WordPress theme installation and advance setup.
  • Experienced working with DIVI theme and builder.
  • Blog and website development & publishing.
  • Knowledge of Yoast SEO tool in WordPress

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Pay per click (PPC), cost per click (CPC), and Google Ads.
  • Skilled in keyword research and content optimization.
  • Local business listing, backlinks & directory listings.
  • Optimize content for organic search results in search engines.

Work Experience

Social Media Manager

Bumble Bee Media

Austin, Texas


Video Editor

Z Productions

Houston, Texas


Content Writer

Mass Multimedia

Houston, Texas



Bachelor of Arts

Texas State University

Houston, Texas


GPA 4.0

Additional Skills

Competent in advanced softwares like CorelDraw, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, Final cut pro x, Adobe premier pro, After effects, Dream weaver, and Microsoft office suite.

Ahh, that's amazing! Jeremy is a super hero when it comes to digital content development.

The functional resume format above smoothly displays the skills section with a detailed perspective in bullet points.

In addition, functional resume focuses on the most relevant skills that the applicant has. We call it professional skills to get hired.

All in all, the purpose of the functional resume format is crystal clear - show technical skills those are relevant to the job duty and increase the chances of getting hired.

functional resumes

How to Write a Functional Resume?

Without a functional resume example it would be hard for you to write it all by yourself. Therefore, we delivered the functional resume example first and now we will discuss how you can write it.

Structure of the Functional Resume Template

The basic idea of writing a functional resume is to keep it easy and readable. Hence, we need to follow the basics first. Following is the structure of a functional resume template for you.

  • Header
  • Objective
  • Skill Summary
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Additional Skills

A resume whether traditional, modern, creative or functional must follow a predefined structure. By doing this you are presenting your professional background in a sophisticated manner to the employer. It shows how organized you are and your dedication to the work.

Header in a Functional Resume

The introduction part of your functional resume that contains your personal information is the header. In our example above, we have included name, job title, mobile number, email address, location, website link, and professional profile link.

All these are generic information you must give in a functional resume when you are looking forward to change your career path.

Create your resume with the best templates

Create your resume in 15 minutes

Our free collection of expertly designed cover letter templates will help you stand out from the crowd and get one step closer to your dream job.

Create my resume