Functional Resume Format: Examples + How To

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski | Career Expert
Functional resumes work great for recent graduates or people changing occupations –– they can jumpstart your career! In this page, you will find expert recommendations, our most-requested designs and a free example to help you create a job-winning functional resume.
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The Functional Resume Format

Functional Resume Format

What is a Functional Resume and Who Should Use One?

What is a functional resume format?

Pretty much all resumes cover the same information; a resume format refers to how those sections are organized on the page.

A functional resume is also known as a skills-based resume. It highlights your skills and achievements, rather than the details of your work history.

This type of format is useful because it leaves your formal work experience toward the bottom of the page and emphasizes your technical skills and abilities. That way, if you don’t have a ton of experience, the functional format doesn’t make it obvious!

Instead of starting off with career highlights, a functional resume format allows you to explain how your career goals align with the position to which you are applying.

A functional resume can highlight your skills and match them to the job posting and increase the chances of getting an interview, even without the required experience.

Who should use a functional format?

A functional format works best for job seekers who are:

  • Recent graduates
  • Changing careers
  • Have less than three years’ experience in the industry
  • Have gaps or many different jobs throughout their work history
  • Reentering the workforce after a long absence
  • Freelancers

As you can see, this format is not for everyone!

If you have 10 years or more of experience, the chronological format is a better fit! It puts the greatest focus on your work experience, starting with the most recent job, giving recruiters a clear overview of your top achievements.

Candidates that have between three and nine years of experience should use a hybrid/combination resume. This type of resume combines the best of the chronological and functional formats. This type of format promotes your experience and skills.

How to Construct a Functional Resume

A functional resume is always going to follow this order:

  • Contact information
  • A summary statement or objective statement
  • Summary of qualifications
  • Professional skills
  • Work history
  • Education

For “Awards and Honors,” “Press,” “Certifications” or “Volunteer Work,” it’s best to place them after your education section.

If you want additional information on how to nail the writing of each specific section, check out our Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Resume.

5 additional writing tips


Before you start your resume, make a list of your skills organized by category or job title. Be ready to provide examples of how you used each skill to achieve your career goals.

Reflect the job posting’s exact phrasing.

Read the job description to identify key skills that the employer is seeking. Use these keywords to organize your skills by category. If applying to several jobs, you should adapt your resume to each job that you are interested in.

Create an attention-grabbing professional summary.

Write a strong introduction near the top of your resume to define the position that you are seeking. Your objective statement should be tailored according to each position to which you apply. Include your career goals.

Identify your top skills.

Create a list of six-to-eight bullets that best describe your abilities and work ethic. Once you have established your top skills, add a brief description under each to explain how you applied those skills to achieve your accomplishments.

Add your work history.

This will be your last section. When writing your work history, make sure you list your employment history by date in reverse-chronological order.

Use numbers! When describing your achievements, grab the recruiter’s attention by providing quantifiable metrics. This adds credibility to your resume by providing a more concrete way to understand what you’re capable of as an employee.

6 Functional Resume Examples

Check out our sample resumes for a closer look at the functional format. Here are the top-requested job titles, written in functional format.

Free Functional Resume Format Example

Optimize your resume with this free downloadable example.

Need more? JobHero offers a great variety of job-specific resume examples that demonstrate the right information to include.

From Accounting to Web Development, you will find the best resume examples that you can use for inspiration writing your own resume!


How do you write a functional resume?

Start with an objective statement or a professional summary, if you have enough job experience. These serve as the first sales pitch about what you bring to the table for an employer.

Next, we have the skills section. First, make a list of the skills that you possess. Then review the job description to identify the skills and keywords that the employer is seeking. Match the skills you already have to those listed in the job description.

When writing the work history section, include any useful information you can, even if it wasn’t paid experience: Focus on your achievements, projects or volunteer work.

Include numbers, data or statistics that can demonstrate your accomplishments. This will show employers that you’re aware of the importance of productivity and measuring your success.

Your last sections will be education and, if relevant, certifications. You may list your information in these three sections by date in a reverse-chronological order.

It can be a lot of work to write a resume, that’s why JobHero’s Resume Builder is such a great tool. It takes out the guesswork and saves you time because it automates the whole process!

It’s easy to use and offers a variety of templates from which to choose. It includes expert tips and advice to help you create a professional and well-structured resume in just a few minutes.

When is a functional resume advantageous?

A functional resume is advantageous when looking to start fresh in a career. It’s perfect for candidates with little or no work experience. That’s why students and recent graduates often use functional formats.

Or, it’s a good option if you don’t have consistent work experience.

Likewise, if you have had many different jobs over a long career, you can also take advantage of a functional resume. This will maximize the skill sets that you have gained throughout your multiple work experiences because less emphasis is placed on the dates you held jobs.

A functional resume format is also a good choice for job seekers with employment gaps who are reentering the workforce.

Why is a functional resume format best for students and teenagers?

Because this is a skill-based resume, the functional format works best when you have almost no experience in the area to which you’re applying. After all, everybody has to start somewhere!

This type of resume is also ideal for students and teenagers because they are new to the job market.

That’s because you can talk about skills without needing to have had a job before. You can talk about the leadership ability you honed as captain of the track team. Or, you can mention that you got experience in cash-handling from a bake sale you helped organize.

If you are a student or recently graduated and you do not have a professional background, use the functional resume to give more space to your academic accomplishments. Add value to your resume by including extracurricular activities, volunteer work and certifications.

JobHero has a variety of functional resume examples. Browse through our library of resume examples for a better understanding of what each section should have.

Why is a functional resume good for people with a gap since their last job?

Functional resumes put the spotlight on your skills and abilities rather than your professional history.

That puts less emphasis on the dates. In some cases, people even choose to omit the dates from their work experience in a functional resume.

It could be that you don’t want to draw attention to the fact that your cashier experience was one gig helping out at a baseball concession stand.

Functional resumes give you some leeway with time specifics that can be useful.

The format outlines your skill sets by category and allows you to amplify each skill with your top accomplishments.

Even though you are still expected to list your past employment, your work history is listed at the bottom of a functional resume. This is key because hiring managers have to read about your skills and qualifications first, before they review your professional work history.

A functional resume is designed to highlight your strengths and relevant skills to the job that you are seeking.