A functional resume can breathe new life into your professional profile by letting you talk about your skills and accomplishments in a new way.
This page provides functional resume templates and instructions on how to fill out your own resume.
Functional Resume Templates Menu
What Is A Functional Resume?
A functional resume is a type of resume format that allows you to emphasize your specific job skills by categorizing your work history by the abilities you are best at.
To think of it another way, a functional resume is a different way to organize the content of your resume.
The purpose of the functional resume is to overwhelm the recruiter with positive information in the top half of the resume. That way, by the time they get to any weaker spots, they may have already convinced themselves how great of a fit you are.
Who Should Use A Functional Resume?
It is often said that functional resumes are good for people with large gaps in employment.
The truth is that you will have to disclose your work history at some point and not disclosing that information on your resume makes you look bad. Regardless of the type of resume you use, you should always be listing your employment history with the corresponding dates. Never omit your employment history dates.
What can be helpful regarding a functional resume is leaving your actual dates of employment at the bottom instead of completely omitting them. This provides the employer with the correct information while hopefully enticing them to overcome any objections based on the earlier sections of your resume.
With a functional resume, you’ve turned this potential downside into an upside by showing the number of different skills you have learned and how you’ve used them to show that you are a good fit for the job. Be up-front, but explain the benefits to any potential downsides they bring up.
This is also a good resume for people with stable work history who have worked for the same company for many years but have worked across different departments and responsibility levels. The categorized job duties sections let you go into lots of details about the different roles you’ve held.
A functional resume can also make it easy to group your past experience into skill or ability categories, making it a great fit for people who may be seen as a jack of all trades and have trouble truly describing all that they can do.
As you go through the tutorial below on how to make your own resume understand that the underlying point of a functional resume is to show your strongest skills and abilities first while displaying any shortcomings or less relevant information at the bottom of the resume. For that reason alone, it’s a resume that can be used by just about anyone.
Functional Format Vs. Other Resume Formats
Let’s quickly go over some of the other types of resume formats so that we can make some fair comparisons.
A chronological resume is a way of listing your employment information wherein you put your most recent work experience first and your least recent experience last.
A “chronological resume” can also be the general term used for a type of resume that emphasizes your work experience over everything else on the resume. In this way, it could also be called a “standard” or “traditional” resume.
It’s main difference from a functional resume is that it gives more attention to employment history rather than skills and technical areas of expertise. Even so, a functional resume should still be listing work experience in a chronological or reverse-chronological order.
To view resumes that focus on the chronological format, click here.
A combination resume is a combination of a chronological and functional resume.
All of the “functional” resumes on our site are actually a type of combination or “hybrid” resume that layout skills in a functional style while providing the chronological work history an employer expects to see.
How you combine the two different styles will be up to you, but it will be heavily dependent on your own experience & skills, as well as the job you’re applying for.
The way you combine the two types will largely be a function of what order you put things in on your resume. Though it may be a different order from job to job, your resume should always have the most relevant and important information at the top.
A targeted resume is a resume designed for a specific job listing or application.
But here’s the thing: all of your resumes should be targeted!
While it may be helpful to have a general resume that stands as a profile or summary of your work, when you actually go to apply you should be curating your resume based on the requirements of each different job.
Even if you are not changing your resume more than one or two words for each application, customizing your career profile to the employers’ needs is a crucial and often overlooked step in getting hired.
Take an extra few minutes on each application and make every one of your resumes a targeted resume!
Here’s the bottom line: the only thing that matters when it comes to how you format a resume is how great you can come off to an employer.
The best resume format is the one that will help you to put your best foot forward and describe in detail your top accomplishments as quickly as possible.
How To Make A Functional Resume
Organizing your career information into a different type of resume format can be a great way to shake things up if you’ve been having bad luck with your job search.
As we go through the parts of a functional resume, think about how you are organizing your career information on the page.
Also think about how a hiring manager’s eyes would wander through your resume.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at a sample functional resume format to see what it looks like:
This particular functional resume has 5 sections: heading, professional summary, skills, job descriptions, work history details, and education.
Your resume may have a different number of sections than this resume because this resume happens to separate the job descriptions from the work details themselves.
What matters more than section numbers is how you organize the information and what you put into each section.
Nothing changes with the heading on a functional resume. It will still go at the top and include at least four pieces of information: your name, phone number, location, and e-mail address.
Next on your resume will be a professional summary.
The professional summary is a summation of your career profile, while also detailing why you are the best fit for the job.
This summary can be anywhere from one to four sentences. You can decide best how to use the space on your resume, but I find that it’s best to be brief in your opening.
If you’d like more information on professional summaries and templates with a professional summary, click here.
Work History & Job Descriptions For a Functional Resume
With a functional resume, your previous employment will be described under headings of skills and/or job titles.
The key to a great functional resume is coming up with great headings for your past experience. What makes a heading “great” will differ from job to job, but your headings should be customized for each job you are applying to.
This is important because even with jobs that share a job title, like “customer service representative”, their duties and responsibilities could be vastly different.
So take the time to review each and every job listing to gain an understanding of not only the individual skills a company is looking for, but the general ideas and concepts they expect you to understand or quickly learn.
You will also need to go back and review at least the last 7 years of your work history (or however many you have, if you have less) and start to think of the jobs you’ve had and the skills you’ve acquired in terms of their “job titles” or “general skill groupings”.
Even if you can’t quite think of the exact title just yet, start to group your different abilities and skills so that you can begin to describe and write them with a larger purpose in mind. In fact, sometimes you may keep what you’ve written and just change the titles to make a resume more appealing for certain companies.
Under each category title should be a combination of job duties and descriptions of applying your skills. Use the job listing for the job you’re applying for to find out what types of skills the company needs.
Once you know the skill-sets, talk about how you’ve applied those skills and abilities to get tasks done.
Detailing Your Tasks & Job Duties
Tasks and duties you describe should vary in length (daily tasks to monthly or yearly goals) and responsibility (team vs. personal accountability). And ultimately, the skills and abilities you talk about should be in the context of an accomplishment whenever possible.
For example, if you’re working in a call center and hit daily goals of getting to 100 callers a day, then you would talk about your ability to handle customer issues quickly in the context of meeting (or exceeding) company expectations.
This is the most important section of any functional resume, so it is crucial to explain your strongest points with as much detail as possible so that an employer an see your matching experience alongside what you’ve accomplished.
Functional Resume Templates To Download For Free
Three columns of specific skills lead into your categorized experience.
Make sure to still include all of your employment history at the bottom of the resume.
File name: Functional Skills Resume Template.docx
File size: 7.9 KB
Total downloads: 177
The left column address your most specific & technical skills.
The right column is a combination of detailed employment experience & talking about how you used your skills.
File name: functional two columns resume template.docx
File size: 18.2 KB
Total downloads: 127
More resume details coming soon.
File name: Years-of-Experience-Functional-Resume-Template.docx
File size: 7.2 KB
Total downloads: 73
Show off your skills as well with a dedicated skills section.
File name: College-Education-Functional-Resume-Template.docx
File size: 7.5 KB
Total downloads: 47
The above video is a tutorial on how to build a functional resume for job hoppers, career changers, and students.
A functional resume is a great way to show off your technical knowledge and skills while disguising your past work history (or lack thereof).
Functional Resume FAQ
Answers for functional resume frequently asked questions:
What is a functional resume example?
An example of a functional resume is a type of resume where you explain why you’re the best fit for a job through your skills and abilities rather than through specific jobs.
For specific examples & templates of what a functional resume looks like, click here.
Who should use a functional resume?
A functional resume can be used by just about anybody!
Having said that, functional resumes are most often used by people who need to group their resume skills and knowledge into multiple categories so that they can fully showcase their strengths.
To learn more about if a functional resume is right for you, click here.
What is the difference between a chronological resume and a functional resume?
A functional resume is a resume where particular skills or job categories are emphasized instead of your specific work history.
A chronological resume is a resume format in which the job listing is emphasized and specifically listed by date, with the most recent first and the least recent last.
Technically, a functional resume should still have your work history listed in a chronological style, even if the overall format of the resume is not chronological.
The distinction between the two is often purely academic, with most resumes being some type of combination between the two.
Are Functional resumes bad?
No particular resume format is bad insomuch as it can be used to help you get a job.
Functional resumes are often critiqued for hiding employment information. But any resume, including functional resumes, should have the dates of your employment.
The functional resumes on our site include all of the necessary information and we encourage you to include it.
The object of a functional resume is not to withhold information. It’s to explain your experience in a different, and hopefully more favorable light.
What is a functional resume?
A functional resume is a resume format that emphasizes specific skill and ability categories rather than employment experience.
Learn more by clicking here.
What are functional job skills?
Functional job skills is just a different way of talking about how you would describe your skills & abilities through the categories on a functional resume.
Since a functional resume generally does not include job descriptions, your “functional job skills” can be anything from a short phrase that quickly communicates your competency to multiple sentences that describe your skills in terms of your achievements.
It may or may not make sense to include a dedicated skills section on a functional resume, so think about what is right for you and the jobs you’re applying to. But if you do, the skills you list should be short phrases of 2-3 words at most and should be focused on specific tools, processes, or certifications.
To learn more about adding skills to your resume and for skills based resume templates, click here.
What type of resume do employers prefer?
Employers prefer that a candidate communicate why they are the best fit as quickly and clearly as possible.
Therefore, there is generally not a specific type of resume format that an employer would prefer.