Functional Resume
Highlight Your Skills and Accomplishments.

The functional resume highlights your specific skills and experience, and brings your relevant skills to the forefront. Unlike the reverse chronological resume, this style ignores chronological order.

Instead, it allows you to highlight your skills that are required for the job you are seeking.

When to use a functional resume…  

  • The job you are applying for requires a specific skill set. 
  • You have limited work experience or are returning to the workforce.
  • You have gaps in your employment dates and do not want to draw attention to them.
  • You are changing careers and your skills and accomplishments are more relevant to the job than is your work history.

How to write a functional resume…

Start your resume with a career summary. You can also name this section Summary of Qualifications, or something similar.

Here, you will list your skills and experience that are specifically related to the target job. This is your chance to grab the employer's attention by showing that you have the skills that are required for the job.

Optional: To help organize the information, you can use sub-headings to sort the information by skill area or job function. Examples of headings include…

  • Sales
  • Management
  • Project Leadership
  • Marketing
  • Customer Service
  • Employee Relations
  • Critical thinking
  • Research
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Programming
  • Teaching/Training

Then, list your skills, experience, and accomplishments under each heading accordingly. Use bold font for the section headings and regular font for the information under each heading. Use bullet points to organize the information.

In the next section, include a quick summary of your previous jobs. The title of this section can be Work Experience, Job History, or something similar. Be careful not to repeat the same information you placed in the career summary.

Note: If your education information is not covered in the career summary, add an education section, followed by any other sections that showcase your qualifications.

When well-written this type of resume tells the employer about your specific skills, and shows that you are qualified for the position at the very beginning.

It emphasizes what you know and what you have accomplished, rather than where you worked and when you worked there.

Benefits of a functional resume…

Changing careers: If you are changing careers, your most recent jobs may not be related to the job you are seeking. However, you may have gained experience at a previous job that can apply to the target job. This resume style helps you maximize on this experience.

Gaps in employment dates: If you have significant periods of unemployment, you can draw attention away from the employment dates, and guide the employer's attention where you want it... to your qualifications.

Although you won't specify your employment dates, be prepared to talk about any gaps if an employer asks about them at an interview or during the hiring process.

Limited work experience: You may not have much work experience. Or maybe you don't have any work experience yet. Perhaps you are a recent graduate or you are new to the workforce.

Solution: You can highlight other experience such as…

  • Internships
  • Classes/Training
  • Workshops/Seminars
  • Volunteer work
  • Licenses
  • Professional associations
  • Projects you've initiated or completed

Note: Some of the job search websites do not align with this style. Sometimes, the website's format requires your work history in chronological order. Keep this in mind if your primary means of applying for jobs is over the internet.

Not sure if the functional resume is right for you? Don't worry... You have other options. Read more about the reverse chronological resume and combination resume. A thorough comparison will help you decide which style is best for you.

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