When Do You Use A Functional Resume?

Madison Green
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A functional resume is a skill-based resume where you compile your applicable skills instead of your work experience.


I’m sure you're wondering, “What makes this so different from the traditional resume?”

Well, a functional resumes start with the basics: your name, contact information, etc. to introduce yourself to a potential employer. After these resume basics, you list your skills and how you’ve applied them to your work.

Note that your skills can be something that you’ve achieved at a past or current job or even something that you learned outside of work.

Here’s an example of how you list your skills on a functional resume:


Content Creator/Team Coordinator

  • Prepared biweekly colorful and creative presentations to draw in new and returning customers.
  • Developed engaging content and performed creative exercises that involve the management of a ten-person team.
  • Assisted in the training of conflict resolution, communication, and teambuilding.

This is just one example and as you can see it’s not a past job. It’s a skillset that applies to the skillset of the job I’m applying for. If you have more skills and applicable experience, be sure to include them on your functional resume.

Once you’ve laid these out in a way that will appeal to your potential employer, you can include your work history and any other relevant experience. This would include awards you may have earned and/or volunteer work.

Keep your employment history simple to only provide brief details about the jobs. This should be at the bottom of the resume. There’s no need to go into too much detail because you’ve already listed your skills in the sections above.

Another tip is to stick to the basic rule of a one-page resume.

When to Use a Functional Resume:

New to the Job Market: If you’re in the job market and you don’t have a lot of work experience, a functional resume is the way to go. It allows you to showcase your skills so the potential employer can base their hiring decision on what you can actually do instead of what they can see you’ve done in your past jobs.

Changing Careers: Another great opportunity to use your functional resume is if you’re changing your career. So, you’ve never worked in the field you’re applying for but you have skills that are transferable. Using a traditional or chronological resume won’t be helpful because all the employer is going to see is that you don’t have relevant experience.

Untraditional Work History: Having gaps in your resume can make finding a job harder. On a chronological resume it wouldn’t be appealing to a potential employer to see gaps. This is another situation where using a functional resume would be appropriate. That way you can show the employer your skills instead of your history of odd jobs.

There are many different ways that you can use a functional resume. If any of these situations apply to you, try using a functional resume, it might be the thing that lands you your next job.


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