What is a functional resume?

Before you proceed with your resume, you should have an idea of the format or the appropriate resume template most suitable for your profile and industry.

There are 3 standard ways of writing a resume. The following shall give you an easy idea of what these formats are and how and why to choose the functional resume.

By the end of the article, you will know how to write a professional functional resume for your work profile.

Here is a small overview of this article:

Types of Resume Format

There are three different types of resumes that are accepted within the industry. These resume templates are:

Reverse Chronological Resume Layout

In which your information starts from your current/last-held profile and dates back to the beginning of your education. It includes all your major achievements and information listed along with important dates.

The resume template examples follow the below-mentioned structure:

  1. Contact information
  2. Resume summary or resume objective
  3. Work experience
  4. Education
  5. Skills
  6. Additional Sections

Combination Resume Layout

It is a combination of the reverse chronological resume format and the functional resume format. It allows a candidate to showcase their skills and achievements with evidence from their professional experience.

The points on this format of the resume are grouped based on the skills highlighted.

The resume template examples follow:

  1. Contact information
  2. Skills Summary
  3. Additional Skills
  4. Work Experience
  5. Education

Functional Resume Layout

Only the professional experience headers are listed without any details of the actual work done. A separate section is created in which all significant points are grouped under relevant skills.

This format is recommended by resume experts for people with gaps in their employment history or for ones who have changed their jobs a lot.

The resume template examples follow:

  1. Contact information
  2. Resume objective
  3. Skills Summary
  4. Additional Skills
  5. Work Experience
  6. Education

An example of a free functional resume sample template is attached for a better understanding of how you can proceed with writing your resume.


You can check out the pros and cons of the different resume formats on our blog. You can also find more free functional resume templates on our website.

What is a Functional Resume Template?

A functional resume template does not focus on your chronological work history but on your skills and experience. It is typically suggested for people who are changing careers or who have gaps in their employment history.

Functional resumes are also effective for job seekers whose work history is not directly related to the job.

In functional resumes, specific skills and capabilities are emphasized to underscore the abilities of the person.

This approach of functional resume templates is different from a traditional resume that displays a timeline of work experience in reverse chronological order with brief descriptions of each job.

This shifts the focus from job titles to relevant skills which the applicants possess.

A functional resume hides the fact that one may possess imperfect work experience. It also showcases your outstanding skills while changing industries. You may have had periods of unemployment and are not sure how to conceal them on your resume.

You should definitely try to conceal those gaps in your profile unless you have an explanation for them.

Ultimately a functional resume is employed to reflect your work experience as normally as possible. Most people do not have perfect work profile records.

Hence, there are quite a few strategies to cover these gaps in your functional resume template.

To understand the functional resume definition you must first understand the functional resume structure. Keep reading to find out how to suit your work profile into a functional resume.

Functional Resume vs Chronological Resume

Chronological Resume Functional Resume
Work history is at the top of the resume, listed in a reverse chronological order It focuses more on skills and overall experience rather than chronological work history
It is not mandatory to put a resume summary or headline at the top Resume summary and headlines are located at the top which highlights the candidate's skills and achievements
Used by job seekers who have a strong work history Used by job seekers who are changing the industry or have a career gap

Functional Resume Template: Why do we use it?

People who benefit from a functional resume are:

  • Professionals joining creative industries - because your portfolio matters more than your resume.
  • Professionals transitioning Industry - as a detailed job descriptions could be too difficult for unfamiliar recruiters to comprehend.
  • Overqualified or Under-qualified Candidates - who are joining mid-level jobs.

Since the functional resume template allows you to shift the focus from your work history to your skills and qualifications it is also called the skills based resume format.

Although in theory it sounds great yet in practice, it has the possibility to get rejected in the first stage of the recruitment process.

Since the functional style resume is non-compliant with your job history. The recruiters look for tangible proof of your work profile which the functional resume format does not employ.

As there is no specific evidence that you learned your skills in any job profile, the functional resume becomes the least successful resume format.

Although some experts may believe that functional resume is good for a fresh graduate, they are not. Even if you do not have much work experience, you should still link your skills with your achievements. Your achievements can be either academic or part-time jobs and volunteer experiences.

The functional resume format is also likely to fail the ATS resume test. The ATS scanner is unable to scan your resume for dates or specific sections resulting in non-detection of relevant information.


  • The functional resume can be used by candidates to focus on skills and avoid the work history.
  • Since the focus is on the skills, it helps mask the job shifting trait of the candidate.


  • The functional resume format is not parsed by most ATS since the ATS only looks for points under the relevant work experience.
  • The functional format is not a well accepted resume format as it raises suspicions in the minds of the recruiters that the candidate is trying to hide something.

Functional Resume Template: Who should use it?

A functional resume template is particularly useful for job-seekers who:

  • Have frequently changed jobs
  • Have gaps in their work history
  • Are reentering the workforce
  • Are transitioning into new careers
  • Under-qualified or Overqualified for particular job posts

The reason functional resumes work well for these people is that most of our acquired skills are transferable despite our careers not standing well.

For example, if you have been a sales manager, you were possibly responsible for training, coaching, and customer relations. These skills could even be used in your functional resume for a Public Relations Manager.

In a chronological resume, this information might not appeal to a recruiter. Essentially you did not hold the title of Public Relations Manager. However, the functional resume format showcases that despite your job profile you have dealt with PR-related issues.

Eventually it comes to how you illustrate yourself. If you give the employers the same information in an improved package you are bound to increase your chances for an interviews. Functional resumes describes more than just background and experience.

Functional Resume Template: When should you use it?

We understand that functional resumes are ideal for people without related work experience or for ones who are switching careers or are new to the field.

It also covers gaps in your employment and the frequency of your job change if you have held many different or unrelated jobs during a relatively short period of time.

This resume format can also work well if you are:

  • Entering the workforce for the first time or after a long absence
  • If the skills to acquired from your prior work experience is more relevant to your target job than your work profile.

How to make a Functional Resume?

The goal of the functional resume is to showcase your skills first to attract the attention of the manager before they realize your actual chronological information.

Regardless of how you choose to write your resume, there are two key points it should address:

  • How well you can you do the job
  • If you the company can work with you

There are many ways you can discuss successful work and personal projects that could show off your unique abilities when writing a skills-based resume.

Skills and previous projects demonstrate your proficiency to work towards business goals. Your relevant interest and skills determine your co-workers inclination to work with you.

You are essentially selling your strengths for why you should be selected. It should reflect whether you:

  • Are you a hard worker
  • Are eager to please
  • Get along with others

It answer three questions:

  • Who you are
  • What you can provide
  • What you want

They make the ideal resume.

If you are writing a functional resume you can not get away with not listing your work history at all. Despite strong skill sets, recruiters look for your track record of previous employers. For best effect, you may place this section below your skills.

An experienced recruiter will, however, see through this strategy. It may not necessarily be perceived as dishonesty but you should be prepared to answer questions about your work history and gaps, just in case.

How to format a Functional Resume?

In functional resumes you require to strategically group key skills into different categories. Doing this shall determine a candidate's qualifications for a particular job.

Some sample functional resume on the website showcase that in case you are applying for a sales management position, you might choose categories such as "Sales and Marketing Experience" "Foreign Language Fluency" and "Team Building and Leadership Expertise" for your headings, listing appropriate skills and accomplishments beneath each one.

The employment section of functional resumes is typically brief. It simply lists the positions held along with company names and employment dates at the bottom of page.

Occasionally selective information is intentionally deleted due to non-compliance with the target job profile.

Structure of a Functional Resume Format

Follow the order given below to make your resume using the Functional Format:

  1. Contact Information
  2. Qualifications Summary
  3. Relevant Skills
  4. Professional Experience (dates optional)
  5. Education
  6. The Additional Section

Key Sections in a Functional Resume

Qualifications Summary

The Qualifications Summary section is an ideal way to begin writing functional resumes. It allows lesser emphasis on gaps in your employment record and hides any imperfect work experience.

It comes immediately after your contact information. Therefore, it is the first thing the recruiter views. It gives you the space to make your pitch. Include sentences that align with the target job profile. as closely as possible while also highlighting the core skills or qualifications that make you the ideal candidate.

Of all the parts of a functional resume, this is where you want to spend some quality time crafting your words for maximum impact. As it’s at the top of your resume, it’s one of the first things a hiring manager will read.

You may add your best traits and achievements from your work and educational history at the top of your resume. This section also includes at least 5 examples of your most relevant achievements.

You can follow our examples to guide you on writing a Qualifications Summary or use our online resume builder for best understanding the relevant section.

However, while making this long, boring, and irrelevant would reduce your chances of an interview, making it engaging, and relevant gives you the best odds.

Relevant Skills

In functional resumes, the candidate’s skills are more important than their work history. If you check out the sample functional resume above, you will notice that this section looks similar to a traditional professional work profile section.

This is because the applicant's skill set is the most important section of the functional resume.

The skills section in a functional resume template should include at least three skills that are significant to the target job. For each skill, bucket 3 or 4 points which can provide evidence for the same.

Quantifying your skills in your functional resume instills confidence in the employer. It showcases that you are able to fulfill the requirements of the position.

Therefore, you must aim to include at least one quantified point for each skill to catch the recruiter's attention. Highlight the skills with examples from your experience to demonstrate the skills in action

You may refer to the functional resume examples to better comprehend how the skill sets are improvised in a sample of functional resume.

In a functional resume template, skills come after your personal details and before your professional or academic experience. To best highlight your functional resume skills list ensure a combination of

  • Skills listed in the job description
  • Skills you possess

HIRATION PRO TIP: The more specific you can be with your bullet points the better. Quantify what you are saying with some numbers. This allows the recruiter to understand not only your skills but also gives an idea of your achievements and capabilities.

For example, for the functional resume of a waitress, you may say:

Served 15 tables at a busy pub, averaging nearly $5,000 in sales per shift

instead of

Served tables at a busy pub

Quantifying your skills adds value to the business and to your output.

Contact Information

Although adding your contact information looks like the easiest part of the resume writing process yet many functional resumes manage to miss relevant contact details. Include your:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • E-mail address
  • Home address (city and state)

You may even include your LinkedIn URL but do not redirect the recruiter to an empty profile.

Your name should ideally be the largest text on the page between 20-24 pt. font size. The rest of your font may correspond to the font style and size of the rest of the page.

Professional Experience

In functional resumes, the professional experience section showcases your experience without prominent display. This shifts the focus on the skills and other qualifications you have for the position.

To conceal your missing work experiences:

Label your period of unemployment

You may have been unemployed for legitimate reasons like being a parent or doing an independent study or being a full-time student. You may describe yourself in the following ways to label your period of unemployment:

  • Full-Time Student
  • Independent Study
  • Full-Time Parent
  • Family Management
  • Adventure Travel
  • Personal Travel

You must always demonstrate on your functional resume that you were doing something during your gaps in employment. Refrain from explaining them as a result of:

  • Rehabilitation, or
  • Recession

Refrain from specific dates

In the functional resume examples you might notice minimal mention of the periods of employment. This creates the impression that even if you were unemployed during the middle of the year 2010, it appears as though you have been consistently working.

This is an acceptable way of “fudging” in functional resumes.


In a functional resume, your education section holds a very basic value. Similar to the reverse chronological format of a resume, you can include the name of the university, location, the degree received, and the date you graduated along with your GPA.

However, if your educational experience corresponds to the job you are applying for then you must mention the skills you have acquired in due process.

In case your degree is not relevant to your field, keep this section short. You may also consider changing the headline to "Training and Education" to incorporate more volume of relevant skills.

Make sure this section is in tandem with your relevant skills section.

The Additional Section

To make your application stand out in functional resumes include a resume summary highlights section. This should underscore your career progress and achievements.

Why is it so important?

Recruiters usually focus on the top portion of your resume. Your resume summary or objective highlights what you do not want a potential employer to miss.

However, once you have grasped the attention of the recruiter, showcasing any additional information should improve your chances of getting hired.

Fonts, Margins & Spacing

  • Employ professional or sans-serif fonts such as, Arial, Verdana, Trebuchet MS, Century Gothic, Calibri, Lucida Sans, Tahoma, etc. over serif fonts
  • The ATS is often unable to process serif fonts
  • Maintain the font size larger than 10 pts. but smaller than 12 pts. for the section points
  • Maintain the font size larger than 12 pts. but smaller than 14 pts. for the section headings
  • You should not compromise formatting and legibility of the text to limit it to the required page size
  • Maintain a 1-inch margin on all sides
  • Maintain single-spaced spacing for your resume
  • Ensure a line break after each section

HIRATION PRO TIP: Before sending your resume across, print it to see how it looks on paper.

Other Tips

  • Maintain simplicity instead of extravagant fonts or colors
  • Be consistent with your functional resume template
  • Stick to the same date format. The standard date format in functional resumes is (mm/yy)
  • Follow the current trends. Resume examples 2019 may differ from resume examples 2022
  • Refrain from cramming your resume with gimmicky graphics
  • Leave more white space for your recruiters to have a comfortable read
  • Do not include pictures in your functional resumes
  • Make your resume brief and relevant
  • Do not try to fit every important information on a one-page resume. Do not, however, exclude key details about your career

Tips for writing a Functional Resume

Include a resume summary

At the top of your resume focusing mainly on relevant skills. This acts as a pitch for how the employer sees you at first glance.

When writing within a functional resume template, organize your sections into categories of similar skills and experiences. Do not simply list your jobs as is prevalent in reverse chronological order.

These sections can also include your qualifications (for example, Customer Service Management). Grouping your skills allows the employer to easily assess whether you have the required skills for the job despite an unqualified work history.

Check out our resume template examples to find how to organize your sections in a functional resume.

Use keywords

From the job description in your functional resume. You might use these keywords as the titles for your subheadings, or in the bulleted lists where you describe your skills and accomplishments in more detail.

This will help the employer see that your abilities match well with the job requirements.

Remember to include relevant projects both academic personal or professional that are relevant to the job. They demonstrate your success in the development and completion of related tasks.

Include relevant employment history

No matter how minimal they are, include relevant work history. This will represent that you have some amount of work experience nevertheless. In functional resumes you do not have to necessarily write the duration of your work history.

You may also include this at the bottom of your resume, so that the recruiter focuses more on your skills than on your work history.

Functional Resume or Chronological Resume: Which should you use?

Chronological Resumes

The reverse chronological resume is the standard, traditional format which is used. It usually comprises an objective or summary statement and a reverse chronological listing from most recent to past of all your past work experiences and related accomplishments.

Then write educational information along with certifications and special skills.

Although this resume format may be okay for an experienced professional it might not serve the purpose in case you are switching careers or re entering the industry after a gap.

The traditional resume highlights your work history. For each job profile, you include the company, the job title and the dates you worked for.

Reverse chronological resume formats are effective if you have extensive work history related to your target job. It quickly showcases your related experiences.

Functional Resumes

Strong functional resumes take time to develop. They highlight your abilities better than your chronological work history.

However, you should still summarize your work history at the bottom in your functional resumes. But try to make sure that by the time the recruiter has reached that section your profile has already stood out.

Skill-based resume are typically organized by theme. Under each theme specific examples of projects and assignments are bucketed to best enhance the theme.

In case you have gaps in your employment, or have frequently changed jobs and do not feel it is relevant, you may consider leaving out your employment dates.

What do recruiters think of Functional Resumes?

Recruiters have themselves used different hacks to join the industry before they reached the standards of a hiring manager. Therefore they know the benefits of a functional resume.

A recruiter usually skips the top of the resume and goes straight to your work history and to follow your job titles. They want a highlight of your

Why do recruiters dislike this format?

In a functional resume you usually put information out of context. It is easier to add fluff to make your profile look glamorous. Within the context of skills and accomplishments, it gives you a better opportunity to make yourself stand out despite having significant experiences.

However, recruiters hate functional resumes since they need to take time to draw their own inference without valid proof.

Recruiters are familiar with that fact that the functional resume format covers gaps in the applicant’s experience.

They, therefore, usually skip to the work history to figure out what you might be hiding. In the process, if you manage to impress with your skills, you are good to go.

Use with caution

Although a functional resume might sound like it could suit your situation yet you must be conscious of the few drawbacks to this approach.

Excluding the dates or titles can raise the recruiter's suspicions that you might be trying to hide something.

It can be frustrating for recruiters to figure out where you performed a particular accomplishment.

So carefully evaluate your situation, weigh the pros and cons and if you consider the functional resume template an the advantage which outweighs the drawbacks you may go ahead with it. The skills-based resume could present you in the best light.

Key Takeaways

  • It is critical to choose the best resume format for the job application. The best best format should ideally employ all the necessary keywords.
  • Picking a proper format ensures focusing on either of the two - your skills or your career progression
  • Make sure that your resume format do not make your recruiters suspicious of your achievements.
  • Your resume format should address two points - how well you can you do the job and If you the company can work with you?
  • Opt for a functional resume template if you have frequently changed jobs or have gaps in their work history
  • Quantify your work experiences with your achievements using the Cause Effect formula
  • Write a strong skills section and boast any certifications or awards you have received

Hiration does not recommend the use of functional resumes.

You may, however, find a few functional resume samples on our website for references. Alternatively visit our online resume builder to create professional looking ATS friendly resumes.

Go to Hiration career platform which has 24/7 chat support and get professional assistance with all your job & career-related queries. You can also write to us at support@hiration.com and we will make sure to reach out to you as soon as possible.