What Is A Functional Resume?

The functional resume, or skills-based resume, focuses on your relevant skills instead of your work experience. It acts as a way to show you are capable of performing essential responsibilities, even if you haven’t worked similar jobs in the past.

Unlike a Chronological resume, a functional resume will devote more space to the skills section, and this, combined with the summary of qualifications, dominates what the reader sees. Although work experience is included, it is given minimal attention at the bottom of the page.

When Should You Write A Functional Resume?

A functional resume allows you to draw attention toward your abilities and away from any issues with your work history. Due to this, functional resumes are good if:

  • cap-iconYou have little to no experience: If you’re a first-time job seeker, then you don’t have a lot of experience to show on your resume. A functional resume will help promote your abilities and make you look qualified.
  • pen-iconYou work as a freelancer or contractor: If your work history is scattered among various job experiences, you can summarize your qualifications more efficiently with a functional resume.
  • suite-iconYou are changing careers: Use a functional resume template to discuss your transferable skills to show why you are qualified for the job even if your past work history is unrelated to the field.
  • note-iconYou have significant gaps between jobs: A functional resume barely discusses your work history. This means it is not as apparent if you have any gaps, however, understand that you may still need to explain them if asked.
  • tick-iconYou are applying to jobs prioritizing skills over experience: Some positions are more concerned about your skills, especially if they are highly specialized and/or require hard skills. A functional resume will bring these desired traits to the reader’s attention.

Do employers and recruiters like functional resumes?

Many recruiters and hiring managers, and by extension Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), prioritize work experience over skills and do not like functional resumes. They may disregard the attention placed on your skills, and focus only on the little information given about your past jobs, which means it will be harder to convince them you are qualified.

That is not to say functional resumes are bad. They are not. However, you should be careful when using one. Make sure you are using a functional resume because its focus on skills over experience is beneficial to your professional goals.

How To Write A Functional Resume

The functional resume template is broken down into the following sections:

Animation 1

Contact Information

In any resume format, you will write your contact information in the header of your document. This heading will contain the following:

  • Your first and last name.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your professional email address.
  • The city and state where you live.
  • Any links to professional websites or social media.

Summary or Objective Statement

A resume summary is your pitch to the reader that explains why you are the best candidate for the job. In one to four sentences, briefly describe your qualifications. If you lack experience, you may want to use an objective statement that declares your professional goals and what you want to achieve through employment.

Summary of Qualifications

In the next section of your functional resume, you will include a summary of your qualifications highlighting your most relevant skills. Your summary should be brief and easy to read, so use bullet points that list three to five skills required for the job.

It is important that you include examples of how you used these skills. Even if you don’t have professional experience, consider including volunteer or academic work demonstrating your value.

Professional Skills

The skills section will be the center of attention for your functional resume. You will want to tailor this section with skills required for the job position. Use a combination of hard and soft skills based on keywords found in the job description. Additionally, mention any transferable skills from previous experiences that would be useful.

Under each skill provide a bulleted list that shows capabilities. Provide experiences of when you used the skills and be able to quantify your achievements. Keep your bullets concise to create a clear picture of your skill set.

Work History

Unlike a chronological resume, the work history section of a functional resume is brief and appears at the bottom of your resume. You want to list the name of your company, your job title, and your dates of employment. You will write any other information related to your work experience in the summary of qualifications or skills section.


Finally, provide any education, such as degrees, courses, training, or certifications that show you have the knowledge and thinking skills to help you succeed at the job.

Functional Resume Template and Examples

If you want to know how to write a functional resume, download a template from our collection of examples to get started. By using a sample, you can be sure that you format your functional resume correctly so that it maximizes your qualifications.

Premium Functional Resume Examples

Free Functional Resume Templates

Functional Resume Pros and Cons


  • Demonstrates skills even if you lack professional experiences.
  • Can highlight transferable skills which is helpful if you are changing careers.
  • Minimizes any gaps or inconsistent periods of employment.
  • Good for first-time workers, career changers, freelancers, contractors, and those who have taken a break from working.


  • Less popular, so it can confuse readers unfamiliar with the format.
  • A lack of experience can be viewed negatively by recruiters and hiring managers.
  • Not ATS-friendly.
  • Not suitable for most people looking for work through traditional career paths.

Functional Resume vs. Chronological Resume

The main difference between a functional resume and a chronological resume is that a functional resume showcases your professional skills, while a chronological resume focuses on your professional work history.

Both the functional and chronological resume summarize your technical abilities and break down your experience, qualifications and achievements, but they follow unique formats to do so.

  • Functional resume: Uses multiple skills sections to define and elaborate on your soft, hard and technical skills, adding detail to each of your past successes.
  • Chronological resume: Uses work history to highlight past jobs, and links skills, responsibilities and professional accomplishments to each of your formal roles.

What to use instead of a functional resume

A combination resume would be preferable to a functional resume in most cases. This is because a combination resume integrates the elements of the chronological and functional formats.

A combination resume includes a skills section that allows you to underscore your most valuable skills, including transferable skills, hard skills and soft skills needed for the job.

After the skills section, there is a work experience section that lists your work history in reverse chronological order. Under this section, you will provide more detail about your responsibilities, including quantifiable achievements and valuable results.

Functional Resume FAQ

Updated: December 26, 2023

You might use a functional resume if:

  1. You have no professional experience: Without professional experience, the work history section of your resume will look pretty slim. The template of a functional resume gives you the chance to focus on the transferable skills that you have learned at school, through volunteer work, or in any other type of environment.
  2. You are changing careers: A functional resume can help you contextualize your past work history based on the transferable skills that apply to the needs of an open job.
  3. You have long gaps in your work history: There are many valid reasons for gaps between jobs, but they stick out like alarming red flags on a resume without the proper context. Since a functional resume doesn’t focus on jobs and dates of employment, it’s easy for you to put your talented best foot forward.
  4. You freelance: A freelancer might have inconsistent periods of employment or projects. A functional resume lets you showcase the skills and achievements you developed over years of collaborating with multiple brands and teams.
  5. You are a short-term contractor: Similar to a freelancer, the short-term nature of your work might alarm recruiters or hiring managers without context. The functional resume lets you assert your qualifications and provide a better picture of your experience.

To write a functional resume, tailor it by focusing on your skills that are relevant to the job. This is accomplished with the help of the “Summary of Qualifications” and “Professional Skills” sections at the top of your resume. A “Work Experience” section will follow and provide minimal information about your past job titles, employers, and dates of employment.

The overall format of a functional resume is:

  1. Contact information heading.
  2. Summary or Objective Statement.
  3. Summary of Qualifications.
  4. Professional Skills.
  5. Work Experience.
  6. Education.

The strengths of a functional resume are that it provides those with limited related professional experience to showcase their skills. This is especially helpful for transferable skills that can come from past academic experiences, trainings, volunteer work, or jobs in other industries.

The main weakness of a functional resume is that it does not provide direct detail about your work history. Many employers, hiring managers and recruiters place a high value on work experience because it provides tangible evidence of a candidate’s qualifications. They want to see how your skills were successfully put into practice.

Additionally, applicant tracking systems (ATS) do not read most functional resumes very well.

This does not mean you should never use a functional resume. However, it does mean you need to put in a little extra effort to ensure your resume is given its proper respect. To help you avoid any issues, use our resume builder to save you from the stress.


Conor McMahon, CPRW

Conor McMahon, CPRW

Content Writer

Conor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) for Hloom.com. He has over three years of professional writing experience as well as experience in professional development training. As a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) Conor has written on career development topics ranging from resume and cover letter best practices, employer/employee communication, job seeking help, and more. He received his degree in Music Industry at Northeastern University and plays guitar in his free time.

popup image