Functional Resume Example & Writing Guide

A functional resume is an ideal choice for candidates with limited work experience or employment gaps. Learn how to write one with our guide!
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Landing your dream job isn’t all that easy in and of itself. And if you have no relevant work experience or gaps in your employment history, it can seem nearly impossible.

Well, we’re here to tell you that all is not lost! 

If your work experience leaves much to be desired, a well-written functional resume might be exactly what you need. By emphasizing your skills, it can help you increase your chances of getting hired even if you have zero work experience!

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to write a job-winning functional resume. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways 

  • A functional resume is a resume format that highlights your professional skills.

  • You should use a functional resume format when you lack relevant work experience or have gaps in your employment history. 

  • To write a compelling functional resume, you need to include your contact information, use a resume statement, summarize your skills, and list your education.

  • When creating a convincing functional resume, you can also make use of additional sections.

What is a Functional Resume?

Functional Resume

 A functional resume is a resume format that highlights your professional skill set rather than your work experience. 

Since the functional resume puts a spotlight on your skills, it’s also known as a skill-based resume.

The functional resume format has one striking difference that sets it apart from the other two most common resume formats—it doesn’t include a work experience section

In fact, if you add your work history to your functional resume, it automatically becomes a combination, or hybrid, resume!

Although the functional resume allows you to showcase your skills, it has a few major drawbacks you need to keep in mind:

Major Drawbacks of Functional Resumes

  • Disregards your work experience. As previously mentioned, the functional resume format doesn’t include a work experience section, which is one of the first sections hiring managers look for in a resume. Because of this, you need to polish your skills summary to a T—otherwise, you may lose credibility.

  • Not ATS-friendly. Both hiring managers and ATS have a difficult time scanning functional resumes. This makes this resume format a liability; if your resume can’t pass the ATS scan, it’s unlikely it will reach the hiring manager.

  • Not popular. Due to its limitations, the functional resume simply isn’t the most popular choice. Not to mention, this resume format is notoriously disliked by recruiters, as it’s difficult to read. Some hiring managers also assume that candidates who use this resume format are hiding information such as employment gaps or being fired. 

When Should You Use a Functional Resume? 

Now that you know the disadvantages that come with using a functional resume, you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort at all.

Here’s the deal: in most cases, you can’t go wrong with the reverse-chronological resume format. Besides being the most popular resume format, it’s also ATS-friendly and immediately shows the recruiters what they’re looking for. 

Still, there are some specific situations where you might want to choose the functional resume format. So, consider using a functional resume format if:

When To Use a Functional Resume? 

  • You’re making a career change. The functional resume format can help you show off your transferable skills. So, if you’re switching careers and don’t have relevant work experience, you can use it to your advantage.

  • You have just graduated and don’t have work experience. If you’re a recent graduate looking to land your first job, the functional resume format might be your best option. It enables you to show how your skills can be applied to the job, even if you have no work experience.

  • You have employment gaps. By focusing on your professional skills, the functional resume format can help you draw less attention to the gaps in your work history.

That said, before opting for a functional resume format, make sure to consider all the pros and cons. For instance, you might find that addressing the employment gaps on a reverse-chronological resume would be a better option for you than writing a functional resume. 

How to Write a Functional Resume in 5 Simple Steps 

writer resume

Decided to go for a functional resume? Here’s an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to writing one that will help you stand out from other candidates:

#1. Include Your Contact Details 

No matter which resume format you choose, the first step in writing a resume is to include your contact information. 

This is no rocket science, but you do need to double-check to make sure you entered your contact information correctly. 

So, here are all the contact details you should mention on your functional resume:

Mandatory Contact Details

  • Full name

  • Phone number

  • Email address

  • City and country/state

Additionally, you can also mention other relevant details, such as:

Optional Contact Details

  • Job title

  • LinkedIn profile (only if it’s up-to-date)

  • Social media handles (e.g. Behance if you’re a graphic designer)

  • Personal website, blog, or portfolio

Here’s an example of a well-written contact information section:

Contact Information Example

Sandra Walker Technical Writer 012-345-6789 Savannah, Georgia

#2. Use a Resume Statement to Get Noticed

Once you’ve filled in your contact details, it’s time to write a short and catchy resume statement.

Here’s what this looks like on a functional resume:

Now, there are two resume statement options you can choose from:

Types of Resume Statement

  • Resume objective. This is a 2- or 3-sentence statement that shows your career motivation. It works best if you don’t have relevant work experience.

  • Resume summary. A resume summary outlines your professional background in a couple of sentences, with an emphasis on your achievements.

Since the functional resume format is the go-to choice for candidates without relevant work experience, you’ll likely be writing a resume objective

Here’s how to write a convincing one in three steps:

How to Write a Resume Objective

  1. Describe yourself as a professional.

  2. Include any skills or experience that might be relevant to the position.

  3. Explain how you can help the company achieve its goals.

Pro Tip

The key to an impactful resume objective is focusing on what you can do for the company instead of personal gain.

Here’s an example of an effective resume objective:

Resume Objective Example

Driven and adaptable Marketing graduate looking to join Company X as a Junior Marketing Assistant. Skilled in copywriting, market research, and social media analytics. Looking to leverage my content creation and organizational skills to help Company X reach its marketing goals.

If you think a resume summary is a better option for you, follow these four steps to immediately show the recruiter that you’re the right candidate for the position:

How to Write a Resume Summary

  1. Use one or two adjectives to describe yourself.

  2. Introduce yourself by adding your professional title and years of experience. 

  3. Mention your most relevant skills.

  4. Finish with a bang by including one or two top professional achievements.

Your resume summary should look something like this:

Resume Summary Example

Meticulous and people-oriented Bank Teller with 2 years of banking experience. Proficient in MIMICS Teller, TotalTeller, and MS Office. Skilled in customer service, mathematics, and cash handling. Consistently maintained a 95%+ customer satisfaction rate at Bank X.

#3. Craft a Powerful Skills Summary 

Now, let’s move on to the most important part of your functional resume—the skills summary section.

To write a convincing skills summary, you want to mention three skills that are relevant to the position. Then, under each skill, you need to give details on how you gained the skill and how you’ve used it in the past.

Not sure which skills to add to your functional resume? Here are some useful tips that will help you narrow down your choices:

Skills Section Tips

  • Make a list of your skills. You want to write down all the skills that you have, so make sure to include both soft skills and hard skills

  • Check the job listing. Each job requires a particular set of skills, so take another look at the job ad to see which skills the company expects you to have. If the job ad doesn’t give you much information to work with, you can research the top industry-related skills.

  • Note down relevant skills. Compare the list you’ve compiled with the company’s requirements and see which skills you can add to your functional resume. Then, identify which three skills are the most valuable for the position and include them in your skill summary.

Additional Tip

To impress the hiring manager, use numbers to back up your skills. If applicable, you can also list your achievements to leave a lasting impression.

To get a better idea of what your skills summary should look like, check out this example:

Skills Summary Example

Customer Service

  • Greeted, checked in, and provided directions for 30+ patients every day.

  • Handled email correspondence with patients and insurance companies, as well as 60+ incoming phone calls every day, with an average 97% customer satisfaction rate.

  • Awarded “Employee of the Month” in May and July 2022 for excellent customer service and positive attitude.

Organization and Planning

  • Scheduled appointments for 5 healthcare providers based on their availability and patient load.

  • Documented and stored patient medical information, including personal information, medical history, insurance, and billing details.

  • Handled administrative tasks and regularly checked patient data to ensure it was accurate and up-to-date.

Conflict Resolution

  • Answered patient complaints, which contributed to a 14% increase in patient satisfaction in 3 months.

  • Resolved a lasting conflict between clinicians by optimizing their patient loads.

#4. List Your Education 

Congrats, the hardest part is over! But don’t get too relaxed—you also need to include an education section in your functional resume.

To ensure that your education section is well-organized, start with your latest degree and mention the following details:

Mandatory Education Details

  • Degree. For example, an MA in Journalism or a BA in Public Relations.

  • Academic institution. This can be your university, college, etc.

  • Attendance years. Add each entry using the mm/yyyy format (e.g. 08/2013 - 06/2017)

If relevant, you can also include:

Optional Education Details

  • GPA

  • Minor

  • Honors

  • Academic achievements

  • Attended courses

Here’s an example of a well-structured education section on a functional resume:

Education Section Example

Education MS in Economics The University of Texas at Dallas 10/2021 - Present BS in Economics The University of Texas at Dallas 09/2017 - 07/2021

#5. Make Use of Additional Sections 

At this point, your functional resume is almost completed—the only thing left to do is add some additional sections.

If you have some space left on your resume, here are some additional sections you can add to help you stand out from the competition:

Additional Resume Sections

  • Languages. The demand for bilingual employees is on the rise. So, regardless of the position you’re applying for, make sure to include any languages you speak on your functional resume. Don’t forget to mention your proficiency level as well.

  • Personal projects. Personal projects are a great way to show off both your skills and your interests. You can also include any university projects you’ve worked on, especially if they’re relevant to the position.

  • Volunteering experience. Mentioning your volunteer experience serves a dual purpose. Besides showing that you’re a compassionate person, it also attests to your skills, which is perfect for functional resumes.

  • Hobbies and interests. Let’s be realistic—these won’t make-or-break your job application, but they can help you add a personal touch to your resume and show off your personality. 

And here’s an example of how additional sections could fit on your functional resume:

Additional Section Example


English—Native or Bilingual Proficiency Chinese (Mandarin)—Native or Bilingual Proficiency Cantonese—Limited Working Proficiency Hobbies and Interests

  • Chess

  • Video games

  • Hiking

Free Functional Resume Template

Functional Resume Template

Name and Surname

Phone number: 000-000-0000 | Email: | Location: City, State

[Adjective] [your job title] with [years of experience, if applicable] in [your area of expertise, if applicable] looking for a [position] job at [company name]. Eager to apply [relevant skills] gained through [work/volunteer/other experience] to help [company name] [mention what you can do for the company].

Skills Summary

Skill #1

  • Mention any achievements relevant to this skill

  • Explain how you used this skill 

  • Explain how you used this skill 

Skill #2

  • Mention any achievements relevant to this skill

  • Explain how you used this skill 

  • Explain how you used this skill 

Skill #3

  • Mention any achievements relevant to this skill

  • Explain how you used this skill 

  • Explain how you used this skill 


[Degree] in [Major] [University/college name] [Start date] - [Graduation date]

Additional Sections

  • Add any relevant additional sections (languages, university or personal projects, organizations, hobbies, etc.)

Closing Thoughts

And that’s about it!

The main takeaway is that the functional resume format isn’t the most popular choice, but it can be a good option if you want to draw attention to your skills rather than work experience.

If you do opt for the functional resume format, remember to take advantage of our free templates. Not only will they help you save time, but their modern designs can also help your resume stand out!

Henry Garrison
Henry Garrison
Senior Content Writer
Henry Garrison is a senior content writer, but he is also a guitarist, a baseball fan, and a family man. He has years of experience in the industry, and he loves challenging himself and thinking outside the box. His passion is writing high-quality content that helps thousands of people land their dream job! He has had his fair share of editing content too, and loves to help out everyone in the team.

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