A functional resume concentrates on a job applicants skills and experience rather than their career history. Information is basically organised in categories (under headings), making it easier for any prospective employer to quickly find what they are looking for.  It highlights skills and abilities with little emphasis on a dateline. It also downplays employment history not relevant to a specific position and allows the writer to concentrate on professional development, specific skills and their more marketable abilities. This makes a functional CV the opposite of chronological resumes, which list work experience by date and also highlight a candidates accomplishments from each job.

A functional resume is one of the main types of resume layouts used by job seekers, the others being chronological and combination styles.


A functional resume is suitable for anyone who

  • Wants to change their career.
  • Wants to show off their transferable skills.
  • Has noticeable gap’s in their employment history.
  • Has been out of work for a significant period of time due to illness or education etc.
  • Has changed jobs frequently.
  • Has worked in the voluntary sector and wants to show off skills they have gained there.
  • Has very diverse work experiences that don’t add up to a clear-cut career path.
  • Has little practical work experience that is relevant to the job or industry that they are applying for.
  • Is a student and has little or no work experience.


The advantages of a functional resume

  • It allows you to quickly highlight your most relevant skills (by matching your skills and abilities to those that the position requires, your resume does a lot of the work for the employer).
  • You do not need to include any work experience that is not relevant to the job you are applying for, meaning you can focus exclusively on your relevant experience, knowledge and expertise.


The disadvantages of a functional resume

  • If you have been regularly promoted in your career then you may not be able to fully show this.
  • If you have been employed by the same company for a long period of time, then this format may not be suitable for you.
  • As it is not as commonly used as other CV layouts some people reading it (i.e. Hiring Managers) may not be familiar with it, and therefore confused by it.
  • As you do not have to list all of your career history in it (the focus being more on your skills and abilities), some employers may think you are trying to hide something from them.
  • A functional resume does not have to give your past employment dates, and so it may not show a clear picture of how your career has progressed.


Functional resume examples

Functional resume template

FREE editable and downloadable functional resume examples

The samples below are best viewed in MS Word 2007, although they can still be edited in MS Word 2003. They are ideal for job seekers who want to create their own functional resume. Simply download them, enter your own details in the spaces provided and delete the sections you don’t need.

Functional resume download example 1        A two page skills based CV layout (functional design).

Functional resume download example 2        One page skills focused resume.

Functional resume download example 3        One page functional CV focusing on abilities rather than work history.

Functional resume download example 4        Two page functional CV sample.


Stages to include in a functional resume

  1. Personal information
  2. Career objectives / personal profile
  3. Key skills
  4. Professional experience
  5. Employment history
  6. Academic qualifications
  7. Awards
  8. References


Tips when writing a functional resume

  • Use headings to categorise different sections of the resume.
  • List skills in order of their importance and relevancy to the job opening.
  • Remember to show growth and progress with responsibilities.
  • When listing your employment history begin with your most recent employer and work backward.
  • Under the education section start with your highest degree, include any academic honors, and remember that you do not need to use dates.


Related links
CV examples
Entry level resume template
Resume templates