How to Write a Functional Resume
14 January 20225 min read
Wisedoc Expert Team

If you are currently looking for a job, you most likely have been told to make sure that your resume is clean, crisp, and professional. You may also have been told it should look like every other traditional resume, listing all your jobs and experience. But maybe you don’t fit that mold. Don't be discouraged if you feel that you don't have enough experience to fill in a resume.

That is where a functional resume comes in. If you have a wealth of skills and qualifications that don't fit the traditional format, then keep reading below. We will talk about what this kind of resume is, how it differs from a chronological resume, when you should use it, and how to build the perfect one that gets you the job interview.

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume focuses on the professional skills you have accumulated over your career and less on the individual jobs you have held and the dates of your employment.

There are many circumstances when it is more likely that a resume of this format will get you the job interview, and hopefully, the job you are seeking. That can depend on the avenue in which you are applying, such as recruitment websites versus applying directly to employers and what field you are applying to.

This resume format is all about your expertise and not about your linear career progression. You will list all your abilities and qualifications under significant categories that can include things such as "Programming Skills" or "Administrative Skills". You will sometimes see this format referred to as the skill-based resume for apparent reasons.

It is not the most popular resume format, as the traditional chronological resume is still king and unfortunately, in some parts of the world, the functional format of a resume simply doesn't exist. Some believe employers do not like functional resumes as they can be harder to scan and do not equate to gaps in employment that some see as red flags. This is not always true, so do not discount the power of this kind of resume.

What is the Difference Between a Chronological and Functional Resume?

The difference between a chronological and a functional resume is pretty simple when you look at the ultimate goal of each.

The chronological resume aims to show your career progression, and the functional aims to showcase your skills and expertise.
A chronological resume is a list of your work experience formatted in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent job is first and you list backward to your earliest job.

They are the preferred format of resumes for those looking to highlight work history and achievements and those who have significant career experience. If you have a career in a singular industry or have been at just a few jobs for an extended period of time, then chronological is the way to go.

Read more: Beginners Guide For Writing A Stunning Resume In 2022.

A functional resume will always work best for anyone who may think of themselves as a jack-of-all-trades who has acquired a varied set of skills and qualifications through different jobs.

It is also great for anyone who is just starting out but may have experience in non-traditional routes. This is because you can include qualifications and skills you have acquired from any number of life experiences, such as volunteer work, internships, or even club organizations.

When Should I Use It?

Crafting a resume takes time. So, you want to make sure you choose the proper format, between functional and chronological. There are a few instances where you may want to consider using a functional resume format.

The five most common situations are:
  1. First-time job seeker or lack of experience
  2. The job you are seeking cares more about skills than experience
  3. You are looking to shift to a different career path
  4. You have long periods of unemployment
  5. Work experience that is non-traditional in nature

These instances can make constructing a traditional chronological resume difficult, but a functional resume will work beautifully to demonstrate your skills and qualifications for your next job application.

Also read: 7 Myths About Resumes That a Lot of People Still Believe.

How to Prepare a Good Functional Resume

A good resume that catches recruiters' attention and moves your job application to the top of the pile must include five key sections. They are summary, summary of qualifications, professional skills, work history, and education. Let's break them down a bit further.


The summary section is where you really want to shine. You want to highlight the skills and expertise in a few sentences that make you the best candidate for the job. It is essential to tweak this section for each position you apply for. Using a boilerplate summary section is not going to be effective. By tailoring this section to each specific job, you are more likely to get that interview you are looking for.

Professional Skills

Under this section, you will want to group your professional skills under categories tailored to the specific job or industry you are applying to. If you are applying to a technology-focused position, highlight software or computer skills. Something more administratively focused would be an excellent place to add typing skills and similar skills.

Work History

Because you will have already listed your skills and qualifications in the above sections, you can keep your work history short and sweet. All you will need to list in this section are the companies, your job title, and the employment dates. Do not worry if this doesn't have a lot of entries. That is why you are using the functional resume format.


This is a simple section. You will want to feature the highest academic degree or credential you have earned, whether it be a Bachelor’s, Master’s, high school diploma, or similar. Make sure the name and location are listed as well. If the job application is for something that requires additional certifications or advanced courses, this section is where you will list those as well.

Don't forget your Cover Letter

Last important puzzle for your job application is your cover letter, which most of the people really forget or ignore. A good cover letter can really double your chance to get your phone call interview. So, donot hesitate anymore, go and create one. Don't know how to do it right?

Read More on:

  1. How To Write A Cover Letter With No Experience.
  2. Beginners Guide For Writing A Stunning Resume In 2022.
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Wisedoc Expert Team
Wisedoc's team of experts organizes the key learnings of career growth from recruiter's point of view and help users to add right content in their career profiles.