How to Use a Functional Resume Template in Word (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Functional resumes, also known as skills-based resumes, emphasize your professional skills, rather than your work experience. A functional resume selects the most relevant responsibilities from each of your previous positions and then combines them to create a more comprehensive picture of your skill set. You may use a functional resume template if you have non-traditional work experience or a minimal amount of work experience. In this article, we explain what a functional resume is, explore how to use a functional resume template in Word, and examine some tips to help you compose your functional resume.

How to use a functional resume template in Word

Here are a few steps to help you create a functional resume template in Word:

1. Set the margins appropriately

The standard margin size for a resume is typically between one and one and a half inches. If the margins on your resume are too small or large, your resume may appear crowded or lack enough space for all the information you want to include. You can also improve your resume's readability by aligning the base of your text to the left and your headers in the centre.

Related: How to Set Margins for a Resume (With Formatting Tips)

2. Choose a font

You can choose from a wide variety of fonts in Microsoft Word, each of which is suitable for different purposes. Some companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to assess resumes. ATS typically performs better when the candidate uses simple fonts. Using smooth and definite fonts can also make your resume easier to read. For example, Sans Serif fonts are ideal for resumes because of their neat lines.

For your work experience, education, and skills sections, you may bold or italicize the headings and use a regular font for the content. Consider using italics and bold fonts sparingly on your resume, as these elements can obscure what is most important or the beginning and end of sections. Here are some examples of the suitable resume fonts:

  • Avenir

  • Calibri

  • Franklin Gothic

  • Georgia

  • Gill Sans

  • Helvetica

Related: The Best Fonts for Your Resume

3. Adjust the font size

For a resume title banner containing your full name, the font size may range from 16 to 18 points. In the body of your resume, use a font size between 11 and 12 points. This allows it to appear less cluttered and more professional. You can make each section of your resume more visible by increasing the font size of the subheadings to 14 or 16 points. By using single-line spacing, you can include more content without having to reduce your content. To separate your resume sections without increasing your font size, you can also use bold or italics.

Related: What are Different Resume Layout Types? (With Tips)

4. Insert your contact information

Similar to other types of resumes, a functional resume begins with your contact information. To give your contact information more prominence, it's useful to place it at the top of your template using a center alignment. The font size of your contact information can match the font size of the subheadings. Your contact section includes your phone number, e-mail address, and city and province. You can also add links to your relevant social media profiles, online portfolios, and professional websites. For example, if you're a writer, you may include a link to your portfolio page or website.

Related: How to Find the Right Resume Templates in Word: A Guide

5. Compose your professional summary

Your professional summary is an important part of your functional resume, as it can showcase your skills and help potential employers understand your career goals. You can use this summary paragraph to demonstrate you have the qualifications to succeed in the job with little or no work experience. The typical length of a professional summary is two to four sentences. Professional summaries appear below your banner title and contact information.

Related: How to Change Page Order in Word (With Steps and Tips)

6. Write your skills section

By providing a comprehensive skills section, you can help employers focus on your key areas of expertise. The section allows you to incorporate keywords and phrases into your resume that can help it pass applicant tracking systems (ATS). You can use the job description to determine the appropriate keywords for your target position. Keywords may include terms such as problem-solving, communication, and analysis skills. Your skills section may include a brief paragraph and bullet list describing your skills. Choose either a circle, square, or hyphen bullet format since they're common and display accurately on most devices.

Related: How to Insert a Line in Word (With Tips and Skills)

7. Create a work experience section

As functional resumes place greater emphasis on skills sections, it's common to use a list of bullet points rather than a descriptive paragraph to outline your work experiences. Start each sentence in your bullet list with a strong action verb. Your work experience section may include information regarding your career objectives and how you're working to reach those goals. Volunteer work, freelancing, and community involvement are all forms of work experience. Describe any tasks and achievements from your previous work experience and use keywords from the job description to demonstrate your value to the company or industry.

Related: How to Make a Resume Template and Apply to Jobs Faster

8. Compile your education section

Your education section is an opportunity to demonstrate your qualifications to employers. Use bold font to indicate the title of your degrees and certifications. Underneath the title of the degree or certification, include additional information, such as the school and year of graduation, in your standard resume font. You may also wish to include relevant training programs that you have taken as part of your education section. To help format your functional resume template, consider excluding any earlier or insignificant educational credentials, such as high school diplomas.

Related: How to Delete a Blank in Word in 5 Simple Steps

What information goes on a functional resume?

Functional resumes emphasize skills and accomplishments over work experience. Rather than including a section on your resume which highlights your work experience, you may include one which highlights your unique skills. A functional resume template can be an asset for individuals seeking a career change or transitioning into a new role. Here are a variety of details a functional resume may include:

  • Contact details

  • Professional summary

  • Relevant skills

  • Experience

  • Education

  • Volunteer work

  • Special interests

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Functional Resumes

Tips on using a functional resume template in Word

Here are a few tips to help you use a functional resume template in Word:

Use black fonts

Black font on a white background is ideal when writing a resume. Automatic resume scanning software and hiring managers can easily scan a black and white resume because of its contrast. If you're applying for a position in a traditional setting, such as medicine or finance, black fonts can also help you establish yourself as a professional.

Limit your number of different fonts

You can use different fonts throughout your resume to emphasize specific areas and make it easier to scan. Using a different font for headings and the rest of the resume text enhances the impact of each section heading. For example, you may use a serif typeface, such as Garamond, for your resume's headings, and a sans serif font, such as Helvetica, for the body of your document. You can maintain a consistent writing style throughout your resume by using only two fonts and using each one consistently.

Avoid specialty fonts

While special fonts may appear attractive, these fonts may be difficult for applicant tracking systems to read. A specialty font may use cursive writing, block letters, or symbols and characters. To ensure your job application makes a positive impression, avoid the use of special fonts and fancy designs. Here are some examples of specialty fonts:

  • Comic Sans

  • Impact

  • Syncopate

  • Vagabond

  • Lucida Handwriting

  • Lobster

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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