What Is a Functional Resume?

An In-Depth Look at the Functional-Resume Template
Functional Resume Sample Template

The functional-resume template is best suited for those job seekers with a nonlinear work history. This resume template emphasizes a candidate's core abilities and proficiencies.

Key Takeaways:

  • Functional resumes focus primarily on an applicant's skills, proficiencies, and abilities instead of chronological work history.
  • This resume format is particularly strategic for those with nontraditional career paths, including career changers and applicants with employment gaps.
  • A functional resume includes sections such as summary, areas of expertise, and professional experience to best highlight the candidate's qualifications.
  • Selecting an appropriate functional resume template requires attention to layout, readability, and customization options.
  • Creating a compelling functional resume involves effectively identifying transferable skills related to the target job description.

Understanding the Functional Resume

A functional resume is a type of resume that emphasizes a job applicant's skills, abilities, and accomplishments over their chronological work history. This approach is tailored to individuals with diverse, nonlinear career trajectories, accommodating the need to highlight transferable skills that may not be evident in a traditional chronological resume.

The primary goal of a functional resume is to direct the reader's attention to the candidate's relevant qualifications and accomplishments. This template departs from the chronological resume, where the focus is placed on a linear timeline of work experience. The functional style has proven to be particularly beneficial for professionals with:

  • Employment gaps
  • Freelance or consulting experience
  • Mixed work history across multiple industries
  • Recent professionals with degrees who are seeking to highlight skills rather than limited work experience

While a functional resume prioritizes skills and abilities, it does not entirely omit the work history. Instead, it presents employment details in a concise and secondary manner, often at the end of the resume. A clear understanding of the functional-resume components will enable job applicants to strategically curate and organize their qualifications effectively.

Functional Resume Component Description
Contact Information Includes the candidate's name, phone number, email address, and optionally, a professional website or social media profile.
Resume Summary or Objective A brief statement outlining the candidate's goals, strengths, and most relevant qualifications, tailored to the specific job application.
Areas of Expertise A list of the individual's most relevant skills, abilities, or proficiencies, organized into categories or themes that relate to the target job.
Accomplishments and Achievements A section highlighting the applicant's notable career highlights, success stories, or quantifiable results that demonstrate their expertise and impact.
Professional Experience An abridged outline of the candidate's work history, including job titles, company names, and dates, but with minimized or no elaboration on job responsibilities.
Education and Certifications A simple listing of the candidate's completed degrees, professional certifications, or relevant coursework.

Core Components of a Functional-Resume Format

A functional resume is formatted to highlight a candidate's skills and abilities by focusing on core competencies rather than a traditional chronological work history. The core components of a functional resume include:

  • Summary
  • Areas of Expertise
  • Professional Experience


The summary section serves as an introduction to the candidate, briefly outlining their skills, qualifications, and career objectives. This section should be concise and engaging, giving potential employers a clear understanding of the applicant's professional profile.

Areas of Expertise

Areas of expertise, also known as skill categories or functional areas, are where candidates can showcase their proficiencies and demonstrate how their unique skill set matches the job requirements. Some examples of functional areas include:

  • Project Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Operations Management
  • Customer Service

In each functional area, applicants should list their accomplishments, using quantifiable metrics wherever possible to emphasize their tangible contributions.

Professional Experience

The professional experience section of a functional resume is organized differently from that of a traditional chronological resume. Instead of listing positions in reverse chronological order, this section groups relevant professional experiences under each functional area, providing a comprehensive demonstration of the candidate's specific skills and expertise. For each experience, be sure to include:

  • Dates of employment
  • Job title
  • Company name
  • A brief description of responsibilities and accomplishments
Functional Area Professional Experience
Project Management
  • 2018-2020 Project Manager, ABC Company
  • 2015-2018 Senior Project Coordinator, XYZ Industries
Sales and Marketing
  • 2013-2015 Marketing Specialist, DEF Incorporated
  • 2011-2013 Sales Assistant, GHI Enterprises

The Strategic Advantage of a Functional Resume

The functional-resume format can be a powerful tool for job seekers under specific circumstances, offering several key advantages over more traditional resume styles. The strategic benefits of a functional resume include highlighting skills over chronology, minimizing employment gaps, and facilitating career transitions.

Highlighting Skills Over Chronology

One significant advantage of a functional resume is its ability to emphasize an applicant's skills and qualifications rather than their chronological work history. This is especially beneficial for job seekers with unconventional career paths or those who have held multiple positions with varying degrees of relevance to their target job.

By focusing on transferable skills and abilities, candidates can demonstrate their expertise and experience in essential areas, even if their career history is not presented linearly. This approach can be advantageous for those entering the workforce for the first time as well as workers seeking a shift in career direction.

Minimizing Employment Gaps

Another major benefit of a functional resume is its ability to address and minimize employment gaps. While periods of unemployment can be a cause for concern among potential employers, a functional resume shifts the focus to an applicant's ongoing skill development and relevant achievements.

By showcasing continuous learning and professional growth, even during periods of unemployment, a functional resume can effectively alleviate concerns related to employment gaps. This advantage makes the functional format particularly appealing to applicants who have taken time off for personal reasons.

Facilitating Career Transitions

A functional resume is also an ideal choice for those undergoing career transitions. By concentrating on transferable skills and relevant qualifications, a functional resume allows candidates to showcase their capabilities and demonstrate how they can excel in a new role, even without direct experience in the field.

With its adaptable format and focus on skill sets, a functional resume can help individuals strategically present their expertise in a manner that highlights their suitability for a new career direction. These qualities make the functional resume a preferred option for those seeking a fresh start or pursuing opportunities outside their established path.

Diverse Functional-Resume Examples

Functional resumes can be customized to fit the unique needs of job seekers from various industries and stages of their careers. In this section, we will explore functional-resume examples that demonstrate how applicants can tailor this format to showcase their skills and experiences effectively.

Entry-Level Candidate

For entry-level candidates, a functional resume can emphasize relevant skills obtained from internships, volunteering, summer jobs, or academic projects, allowing them to focus on their potential value in a new workplace. Here is a sample of what an entry-level functional resume might look like:

Section Content
Resume Summary Enthusiastic recent graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing, possessing strong communication and problem-solving skills. Completed a successful marketing internship at Big Brands Agency and currently seeking an entry-level position in marketing.
Areas of Expertise
  • Content creation
  • Social media management
  • Market research
  • Campaign planning
Relevant Experience
  • Marketing Intern at Big Brands Agency
  • Blocked content creator and editor for University Magazine
  • Volunteer Social Media Coordinator for Local Nonprofit
Education Bachelor of Science in Marketing, State University

Career Changer

Professionals seeking a change in career can use a functional resume to emphasize the transferable skills that will be relevant in their new industry. Here is an example of a functional resume for someone transitioning from sales management to project management:

Section Content
Resume Summary Experienced sales manager with over 10 years of experience in various industries. Proven ability to lead teams, manage budgets, and oversee multiple projects simultaneously. Seek to leverage these skills to transition into a project management role.
Areas of Expertise
Relevant Experience
  • Regional Sales Manager at Tech Company
  • Senior Sales Associate at Consumer Goods Company
  • Account Executive at Digital Marketing Agency
Education Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Business Studies

These functional resume examples showcase how this format can highlight the valuable skills and experiences that candidates possess. This template is an ideal choice for those with unconventional career paths or looking to enter new industries. By customizing the resume sections and selecting the most relevant skills and experiences, job seekers can effectively demonstrate their potential value to employers.

Choosing a Functional-Resume Template

Selecting an appropriate functional-resume template requires careful consideration of crucial features that align with the job seeker's goals and industry standards. A successful resume template should be primarily focused on layout, readability, and personalization of vital skill sets to make a resume stand out from the competition. A resume builder, such as one provided by ResumeBlaze, can help the job seeker focus on the content while the resume generator takes care of the formatting.

Essential Features of a Successful Template

Job seekers must focus on essential features to ensure that their resume effectively communicates their skills and experience. The critical characteristics of a successful functional resume template include:

Guidance on How to Write a Functional Resume

Creating a functional resume that effectively showcases an applicant's skills and qualifications requires a clear understanding of the necessary components and formatting strategies.

Identifying Transferable Skills

Transferable skills form the core of a functional resume. They demonstrate one's capabilities and expertise. The functional template will deemphasize work history. Begin by listing the skills that match the job requirements or can be applied to the target position. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Review the job description thoroughly and note the required skills.
  • Analyze work experience, education, and extracurricular activities to identify potential transferable skills.
  • Seek feedback from colleagues, mentors, and industry connections.
  • Group related skills into categories to create well-defined areas of expertise within the resume.

Structuring a Resume Effectively

Organizing the functional resume systematically plays a crucial role in making a lasting impact on potential employers. Here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Begin with a professional summary that highlights key skills, experience, and career objective.
  • Create an "Areas of Expertise" or "Technical Skills" section showcasing transferable skills in categories that are relevant to the job.
  • Include a separate section to list notable achievements or accomplishments.
  • Include a brief "Professional Experience" section, mentioning the job titles, employers, and duration but focusing less on the chronology.
  • Conclude the resume with education, certifications, and any relevant professional affiliations.

Combining Elements of Various Resume Types

Sometimes, it might be necessary to combine elements from various resume formats to showcase skills and experience. By creating a hybrid resume, one can customize the presentation and cater to specific job requirements or industries. To develop a hybrid resume, follow these steps:

  • Determine which elements from functional and chronological resume types are most applicable to the situation and the target position.
  • Combine the most relevant sections of each format while still prioritizing transferable skills and expertise.
  • Ensure the layout and organization maintain clarity and readability, highlighting key strengths effectively.
  • Always tailor a hybrid resume to each job application, emphasizing skills and experience that align with the employer's specific requirements and preferences.

Functional Resume — An Excellent Option for Job Seekers

Job seekers can leverage the power of a functional resume and its ability to showcase their unique skills and qualifications. By understanding the functional resume benefits, applicants can make an informed decision when selecting this format to emphasize their abilities and expertise over their work history.

Implementing effective resume writing strategies enables a job seeker to highlight transferable skills and minimize the appearance of employment gaps. This format boosts the chances of standing out in the job application process for job seekers with work history gaps or those switching careers.

Overall, a functional resume serves as a strategic tool in any job application, empowering individuals to demonstrate their value to potential employers. With the right guidance, formatting, and attention to detail, a functional resume can significantly enhance an applicant's chances of securing their desired position.

Remember, we may earn a small commission if you purchase through our affiliate links. This comes at no extra cost to you and helps support our work.