Tips for Writing a Functional Resume

Tips for Writing a Functional Resume

From traditional to hybrid, many formats are ideal for job applications. To choose the right format for presenting your resume, you must assess many factors including your work experience, professional history, and academic qualifications. We have compiled the Pros and Cons of using the Functional Format in a resume to help you format and project your relevant technical skills and accomplishments in a unique way.

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume is used to focus skills in a resume besides the timeline or reverse-chronological job history of achievements. Popularly referred to as the skill-based resume, a functional resume presents the relevant skills before the personal information and achievements, unlike in a traditional resume format.

In a functional resume, your specific technical abilities and traits applicable to the job are highlighted. Functional resumes are ideal for candidates with red flags in their work history such as job-hopping and employment gaps.

When to Use a Functional Resume

Candidates must use a functional format in the resume when the job description seeks a skill-based resume. It is ideal to shift the focus of the hiring manager from your achievements or job history to the best abilities that you possess as a candidate.

· Employment Gaps

The Functional resume focuses on the total hard and soft skills you have, in lieu of the career graph. Candidates must not use a traditional resume format in case your timeline is haphazard. If you have missing years or months in your employment history, it is best to use a functional resume as it skips the timestamp.

· Changing Careers

Changing careers is a red flag issue and functional resume cleverly hides it by skipping the timestamp on any of the entries. The Functional resume can help you keep the focus on the cumulative list of skills you have than listing the job that trained you to achieve the skill.

· Job Hopping

Also referred to as career hopping, job-hopping is yet another serious red flag and functional format will help you avoid it. If your resume shows a chronological history of recurrent short term jobs you held in the past, it might lead the recruiter to believe that you lack commitment or discipline.

· Fresh Graduates

Candidates who recently graduated from college must use a functional format, as the chronological resume format focuses on the work experience history that you do not have yet. The Functional format can help you project your best skills and avoid having a blank or limited work history section in the resume.

· Multiple Jobs with One Employer

If you have a history of having held multiple job roles under one employer, the best way to inflate your work history is by using a functional format in the resume. On a chronological resume, your total skills and achievements will be listed under one title. This format will help you show the career progression without lessening the total value of your accomplishments.

· Sending your Portfolio

You must use a functional format in your resume application if you’re sending a portfolio. For designer resumes, it is important to showcase your work samples for authenticity; however, a functional resume will also get you a meeting with the hiring manager.

· Application Says so

If your job application specifies that candidates must submit a functional or skill-based resume, it means that the recruiter wants to seek your total set of skills than a series of employment records. Senior

Age discrimination is alive in most jobs; so, if you’re a mature job seeker, use a functional format to portray your total skills and achievements without giving away the age.  The Functional resume gives the freedom to list maximum credentials without overemphasizing.

When to avoid a Functional Resume

It is best to avoid using a functional resume for job applications as not all hiring managers consider this format an asset to the resume. We have compiled the best reasons not to use a functional format in your resume as you can use a traditional or hybrid format to establish your candidacy better.

· Job Description

If your recruiter has specifically requested candidates to submit a resume in a chronological format, it is important to avoid the functional resume. Using the functional format, in this case, will raise a red flag and make the employer believe that the candidate is trying to hide something.

· Show Career Progression

The best format to show methodic progress in your career graph is via the functional resume.  As a skill-focused resume avoid job history it is nearly impossible to define the rate of your growth since you started working.

· Add Timescale

If your recruiter requested a timestamp for all the entries on your resume, they are looking for a traditional or reverse-chronological resume.

· Academic

Candidates applying for academic jobs must use a CV or job-specific resume to list all the qualifying sections and documents to pass the hiring process.

How to format a Functional Resume

A good resume wins you the interview card. Hence, it is necessary to learn and implement a resume format that fits with your resume qualifications as well as the job you’re applying to. The functional resume lets the candidate skirt the red flags in a resume and present a technical overwhelming resume that fits the job role.

We have compiled systematic steps to help you write to format your resume in the functional format.

Guide to Format a Functional Resume

1. Order of a Functional Resume

Unlike the traditional resume, a functional resume does not include a timescale and hence, skips the chronological order of arrangement. A functional resume uses the sections and headers in the following order

–  Professional Title
– Contact Information
– Summary
–  Skills
– Accomplishments

2. Sections and Headers

Standard use of sections and headers in a resume increases its chance of passing when ATS software scans it. Candidates must use the following sections in a resume.

–  Professional Title

Also called the resume title, the professional title refers to the job role you’re applying to. It must be specified here listing your exceptional expertise relevant to the job application.

– Contact Information

A crucial entry that must be re-confirmed for accuracy, you must list your name, email address, email address and professional link. It is important to place the contact details of the candidate at the beginning of the resume, instead of headers or footers to avoid being lost or scrambled by resume scanning bots.

– Summary

Considered a pivotal section that decides whether or not your resume will pass the evaluation, summary describes your precise technical skills and career graph applicable to the job. The summary statement is also called Profile Statement or Career Highlights and includes a list of exceptional achievements as an employee for past employers.

– Skills

In a functional resume, hard and soft skills are mandatory. Hard skills are the technical skill that proves your expertise for the job role while soft skills are interpersonal skills that make you a perfect fit for the profitable growth of the company. You must also include computer application skills in this section if you possess any.

– Accomplishments and Experience

Relevant achievements that establish your superlative traits as a perfect candidate must be listed in this section. Candidates can also quantify achievements to prove their technical expertise as a professional. You can also add a short, work experience section at the end of the resume, in case, you have space to add to the format.

3. Skills Section in a Functional Resume

The most important section in a functional resume is the skills section. The right way to add a skills section is by combining and adding each skill as a header. You must expand each skill by adding the results you achieved from implementing the skills in bulleted points. Remember to use power verbs at the beginning of your entries to enhance its effect of the skill section in a resume.

4. Personalize

It is important to customize your resume to make it relevant and applicable to the job you’re applying to. Use personal skills and relevant keywords from the job description to do so.


The best resume format for candidates with little or no work experience as well as red flags in their resume, a functional resume is a resume that focuses on your technical skills that professional growth or work experiences. To crack the evaluation using a functional resume, you must apply the above ways and tips to create a unique resume that impresses the hiring manager!

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