Functional Resume Format: What It Is And How To Write One [Examples & Templates]

A functional resume, also known as a skill-based resume, is a type of resume format that emphasizes skills rather than experience. Instead of concentrating on a chronological review of your work experience, the goal of a functional resume is to highlight transferable skills. This resume style is good for individuals who are looking for a profession where their previous work experience isn't immediately related.

The functional resume format is a good alternative for people who have had inactive periods in their careers. By focusing on your capabilities, you do not give as much importance to time, as you would in a chronological format, for example. With a functional resume, you have more freedom to give prominence to your skills. This guide will show you all you need to know about the functional resume format.

What Is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume is ideal for certain people, such as freshers and career changers. Moreover, a functional resume format puts your skills in the spotlight and makes your skills the focus over education or experience.

When Should You Use a Functional (Skill-Based) Resume Format?

Resume formats (functional, chronological, or combination) rely on your career background and situation, which vary among people.  A functional resume format works best if you fall into one of the following circumstances:

  1. If you are applying for your first job.
    You can use a functional resume to compensate for the experience you lack with skills you have gained through other means.
  2. If the job emphasizes skills more than experience.
    A functional resume is designed to highlight skills over experience, and jobs that emphasize skills over experience are the perfect match for the functional format.
  3. If you are changing careers.
    A functional resume can help you stress the proper abilities and achievements if you're going through a career change. A resume in a functional format is ideal for you if you are taking on a job that's different from what you've done before. 
  4. If you lack relevant working experience.
    The functional format can emphasize crucial skills (e.g. soft skills) that compensate for a lack of professional experience.
  5. If you are overqualified for the job.
    There is no better way to show you career development if you can display your current skills based on your solid experience if you are overqualified. Try your best to use a skill-based resume template that perfectly displays your development.
  6. If you have many employment gaps.
    By emphasizing top skills and accomplishments related to the role, a functional resume format hides employment gaps in your resume. Moreover, a skill-based resume format can further drive attention away from work history.

Other Types of Resume Format

There are three 3 common types of resume formats, which are functional format, chronological format, and combination format. There is no one-size-fits-all format, as each individual has a different job situation.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the functional format and the other two types of formats:

1. Functional Resume Format (Skills-Based)


  • A functional resume highlights skills.
  • The functional format gives more flexibility to organize information on a resume.


  • Functional resume format may antagonize career development.
  • A functional resume limits certain details of your work history.
  • A skills-based resume template is not ATS-friendly.

2. Reverse-Chronological Formal (Chronological)


  • Chronological format resumes are accepted by most recruitment departments.
  • This format makes a resume easy to read and understand.
  • Highlights experience & accomplishments.


  • Exposes gaps of inactivity.
  • Chronological resumes are not ideal for freshers or those without enough work experience.
  • May expose no major career advancements.

3. Combination Format (Hybrid)


  • The combination format is well-balanced.
  • Contains the key features from the functional resume format and chronological format.


  • Gaps can be more apparent than a functional resume.
  • There is no clear boundary to prioritize skills or experience.

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Functional Resume Template

Before taking a look at the skill-based resume template shown in this section, it is important to go through all the elements that make a functional resume be on point:

1. Resume Header

This section on your functional format resume displays your contact information. Without this, recruiters will not know who you are. Generally speaking, the functional resume heading contains your full name, email, phone number, and other relevant URLs, such as your LinkedIn profile or personal website.

2. Resume Summary

A functional resume summary is an overview of your career highlights based on experience and qualifications obtained. Your resume summary on your functional resume should be a concise paragraph, so do not exceed 5 sentences. If you are a fresher or with not enough relevant experience, a resume objective is better than a resume summary on your functional resume.

3. Skills

Skills can make or break a functional CV or resume. This is the key element for professionals making a resume or CV with a functional format as skills are the qualifications that are highlighted the most. When listing relevant skills in your functional CV or resume, give some description of duties and accomplishments related to those skills.

4. Work History

Work history should not be left out in your functional resume, but don’t forget to give the main details of each entity you were employed, such as organization name, job title, and dates of employment.

5. Education

List the schools you attended in your functional resume with the following details: School name, date of graduation, and the degree obtained.

6. Additional resume sections

Your functional resume can have an additional section, such as certificates or projects. Since your work experience is not full of details, this space can be used with an extra section in your functional resume.

Here is a what a functional resume template typically looks like:

Ross Giardini

Professional Fluent in English, French, and Italian

Mobile: (+26) 001-3450
Email: [email protected]

Marketing and F&B Professional with over 7 years of management and leadership experience, with recent ventures in the wine and hotel industries. Highly accomplished and well versed in all areas of sales and business development for all types of food and beverage products, including brand development, marketing, and management.

Relevant Skills

Product management and control: 

  • Executed innovative and proactive ways to improve service quality and streamline the service chain to enhance food safety and control food quality/mechanics.
  • Prioritized, assigned, and monitored processes/operations activities to achieve quality, quantity, sustainability, and profitability targets.
  • Ensure the highest level of service standards for food and beverages.

Leadership skills: 

  • Developed systems and processes to improve efficiency, revenue, customer satisfaction, staff motivation and retention, and teamwork.
  • Identified and implemented solutions to service issues, leading to a 20% increase in customer satisfaction.
  • Attended mandatory training and technical courses to meet relevant industry standards.

Marketing and advertising: 

  • Measured objective methods to manage and improve sales and marketing strategies.
  • Coordinated in-store communication to ensure the effective delivery of advertisements and special promotions.
  • Developed and implemented plans to market a food concept.

Work History

Toldo Hotel |  2017-2020
F&B General Manager

Direco Winery and Co.  | 2013-2017
Marketing Assistant


Bachelor’s Degree - Hotel Management
Georgia State University | May 2012

How to Write a Functional Resume

Here are some tips when writing a functional resume:

1. Categorize skills into different skill types.

Besides hard and soft skills, there are specific skills compatible with certain jobs, so use them in your functional resume. 

2. Demonstrate the skills by providing detailed descriptions.

After your resume summary, give details on the relevant skills you are listing in your functional resume, as provided in the previous section.

3. Create a strong resume summary.

You can use a resume summary over an objective in your functional resume. The best practice for a summary on a functional resume is to mention your skills and complement your past duties to show your career development.

4. Mention relevant projects and activities that showcase your skills.

A functional resume focuses on skills, and projects/activities back up the fact you acquired such skills.

5. Keep your writing concise and brief.

A functional resume lacks extensive work history, so use this at your advantage to have concise content so readers will not be overwhelmed by it.

6. Replace lack of work experience with any volunteer work or organization activities.

If there was any volunteer work you have done, do list it in your functional resume to show you have done some work.

7. Add certificates (if any).

Listing certificates further prove that your skills are relevant if you still have the experience to amass. You can make an extra section for certificates in your functional resume.

Functional Resume Examples

Here are more examples of a functional resume for different situations.

Let’s take a look at each functional resume template:

1. Functional Resume Example for Freshers

Created using Cake

2. Functional Resume Example for Customer Service

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3. Functional Resume Example for Teachers

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--- Originally written by Jose J. Rosales ---


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