The Ultimate Guide To Functional Resumes

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 16, 2021 | Published August 25, 2020

Updated February 16, 2021

Published August 25, 2020

If you lack relevant work experience or have nontraditional work experience, a functional resum e could be a good way for you to appeal to employers. A functional resume enables you to make a strong impression regarding your achievements with every job application you submit. In this article, we guide you on a great way to assemble your functional resume and also provide you with handy tips for writing it professionally.

What is a functional resume?

A functional resume is a personal document that focuses on an individual's experience, abilities and skills rather than their chronological work history. You can use it if you have a work history that is not related to the job you are applying for, if you have gaps in your employment history or if you are changing careers. It's also a useful resume if you're moving to a new area. It requires you to highlight your capabilities and specific skills that justify your ability.

A functional resume relies on grouping skills into different categories in a manner that demonstrates your expertise and qualifications for a particular job. Given its skills-based approach, you can focus more on your achievements instead of your professional history while still emphasizing your strengths. For instance, if you are applying for an international sales executive position, you could use categories like "Team Building and Leadership Expertise," "International Business" and as your subheadings. You can then list the appropriate accomplishments and skills beneath each one of them.

Tips for writing a functional resume

Below are key points to consider when writing a functional resume:

  • Organize your skills and abilities by order of relevance.

  • Try to quantify your accomplishments and abilities with numbers.

  • Identify the keywords in the job posting and incorporate them into your resume to relate to employers.

  • Consider using a template to serve as a guide.

  • Add an objective or summary at the top of your resume to describe your professional circumstances.

  • Pair your functional resume with a cover letter to further explain why you want the position.

  • Keep your resume to one page to hold the interest of recruiters.

Functional resume sections

Here are the sections you need to add to your functional resume:

  • Personal information

  • Summary or objective

  • Essential skills

  • Education

  • Professional experience

Personal information

At the top of your resume, include your name, city and province, phone number, email address and any links to your professional website or networking profile. Make sure your email address is simple and only contains your name and numerals, for example "" If you add a link to a professional website or networking profile, make sure all of the content relates directly to your experience and skills.

Summary or objective

Right below your contact information, add a short objective or summary that attracts the recruiter's attention and encourages them to continue reading your resume. Use a summary if you have extensive experience that you want to explain, and use an objective if you want to focus more on your professional goals. A summary or objective is a good place to explain why you're applying for the position, such as if you're changing careers or just moved to the area.

Your summary or objective should be one to three sentences to keep the hiring manager's attention. Try to include quantifiable achievements where you can.

Example: "**Executive clerk with five years of experience managing a team of nine employees looking for management role with Melville, Ltd. Organized work environments leading to increased employee satisfaction by 23% within six months. Developed and implemented the recruiting procedures' efficiency programs, saving up to $20,000 labour costs semiannually."

Listing your accomplishments this way enables the employer to picture you doing the same for their organization.

Essential skills

Since a functional resume focuses on achievements over education and experience, title your first section as "Essential Skills" or "Professional Achievements." Use this section to relate your current skill set to the job you're applying for. Some good skills to include are:

  • Personal or adaptive skills: These are soft skills that describe personality traits that help you excel in the workplace. Given that such skills are intangible and are harder to prove in the paper, you should be sure to back them up with relevant achievements. For instance, you can say that you worked with high professional ethics, which enabled you to get outstanding results in the annual sales metrics.

  • Transferable skills: These are skills that you learned in a particular job or field that you can apply to your new job. For instance, if you worked earlier as a sales executive, you may have gained skills in standard development. Including these skills show the value you can bring to the new role.

  • Job-related skills: These relate to the technical expertise that you learned during school or in another job. For instance, a digital marketer's experience may include the knowledge of best practices for sales, knowledge of social media management and SEO best practices. Adding job-related skills can show your ability to learn and excel within a job.

Keeping these categories in mind will help you in grouping your skills. List the categories in order of relevance to the position you're applying for to keep the recruiter interested.

When describing the projects you have worked on and the achievements you earned, use past-tense action verbs. Quantify the achievements and only mention the ones that are relevant to the open position. Once you have listed a qualification, support it with achievements in bullet points before moving on to the next one. For each category, only use up to three achievements, which will enable it to be both brief and easy to read.


After your skills, briefly cover your education. At a minimum, you need to include your degree and the university in which you obtained it. If you're a recent graduate, you can include more information, like your graduation year, GPA if it's above 3.5 and any achievements, like graduating with honors. List any organizations or groups you were a part of too. If you're still in school, put your anticipated graduation date to show employers when you will be available for full-time employment.

List your highest degree first, then work your way down. Usually, if you have a university degree, you don't need to list your secondary school diploma. Generally, it's best to list two educational entries at most so you can focus more on your achievements. Use a cover letter to describe your education in detail if you think it translates well to the position.

Professional experience

Try to make your work history as concise as possible when writing a functional resume. Be sure to include a list of job titles and company names in chronological order. You don't necessarily need to add dates unless you feel it helps describe your history. Since you mentioned career achievements in the first section, you don't need to list your functions for each job. It's acceptable to add your professional experience above your education if it's more relevant to the position.

Functional resume template

Use this template as a guide when creating your functional resume. Feel free to change some of the sections to fit your personal experience:

Personal Information

Your Name


City, Province | Mobile Number | Email Address

Resume Objective

[Write one to three sentences that describe your best skills, the role you're applying for and how you would be a good fit. You can also use a summary instead.]

Skills and Abilities

  • Leadership: [If you are a team leader for your favorite charity, head of the condo board, president of a fraternity or have any other leadership position, mention it here.]

  • Communication: [If you have ever delivered a presentation to good reviews or have some instances that justify your exceptional communication skills, include them in this section.]

  • Sales: [Mention your sales skills and abilities here if applicable.]

  • Management: [Add leadership or management instances here.]


First Degree | Date Earned | Learning Institution



Related Coursework:


Second Degree | Date Earned | Learning Institution



Related Coursework:


Work Experience

Job Title 1 | Company | Dates

Job Title 2 | Company | Dates

Job Title 3 | Company | Dates