Though some job seekers may have had a straight career path, others may have moved through different industries and positions—weaving from one specialty to another. Every career path is unique, and a standard chronological resume format that focuses on work experience may not always be the best way to showcase your talents. That’s where a functional resume (or skills-based resume) comes into play.

Functional resume formats highlight your personal skills and work accomplishments. And while work history is still included in the format, it is not the main focus of the resume and provides only a limited amount of detail.

Why Choose a Functional Resume

Emphasize your strongest abilities and skills, rather than work history

Make a great impression, despite possible gaps in work history

Highlight relevant skills associated to the job you’re applying for

Easy format for Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to scan. Learn more about getting through an ATS.

Is a Functional Resume Right for You?

A functional resume might be the right fit for you if you: are making a career change; have gaps in your employment; or have limited work experience.

If you have worked in the same industry for several years, or want to highlight your experience and work history, a reverse-chronological format (like the chronological or hybrid resumes) may be a better choice.

Not sure a functional resume is right for you? Head to our Resume Formats page to see which one is the best fit.

How Is a Functional Resume Ordered?


Name and Job Title

Place your name and most recent job title at the top of your resume so they’re easy to see. Both can be formatted in a larger font size, or even made bold, to stand out.

If you’re making a career change, your current job title may not be applicable to the position you’re applying for. If this is the case, nix the job title, but put more emphasis on your summary and objective as an overall descriptor.


Contact Information

Your contact information should be up-to-date and placed below your name and job title. Use your phone number, LinkedIn profile, or email address as your main form of contact. Rule of thumb: Keep it simple, keep it professional.


Resume Summary or Objective

Below your contact information, you’ll write a short, two- to three-sentence summary of your overall experience and objective. This is your first and best opportunity to speak to your unique skills and work history. What makes your experience different? What are your goals? Make it tight and impactful, painting your work experience and history in the best light possible.


Skills & Qualifications

Your skills section should be the focal point of your resume, delivering an overall master list of your hard, soft, and technical skills. Make sure to speak specifically to the skills and qualifications that could be transferrable to the position you’re applying for.

To help you decide which skills to choose, take a look at the position’s job posting to verify which skills the company is specifically looking for. You should also include any accomplishments, especially those with industry-accepted metrics, to show impact.

View three simple steps to writing your resume skills section.



If you have more than two years of experience out of college, you can set your education section up as follows:

  1. University/college name
  2. Major
  3. Degree
  4. Graduation year

Quick Tips:

  1. If you have graduated from college within the last two years, you can consider the addition of the following after your graduation year:
  2. GPA
  3. Relevant coursework
  4. Minor
  5. Dean’s list
  6. Honors
  7. Study abroad

If you started working directly out of high school, list any licenses or certifications that you’ve received that are applicable to the industry you work in, or the industry you would like to get into.

Find out ways to showcase education on your resume.


Professional Work Experience

On a functional resume, this section will look vastly different from the chronological format, as your work history is still important, but not the main focus.

Instead of going into great detail about each position, you should simply list each one in reverse-chronological order with the job title, the dates of employment, the company name, and the location (optional).

Learn how to write your resume work experience section.



If you’d like to add more information to your resume, make sure it is necessary and relevant to the position you are applying for. Some considerations:

  1. Languages
  2. Certifications
  3. Achievements
  4. Volunteering
  5. Hobbies and interests

Learn the best ways to list professional certifications on your resume.

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