How to Write a Functional Resume (Tips and Examples)
Updated 17 March 2023
If you want to highlight your professional skills rather than your experience on your resume, using the functional format for your resume may be suitable for your needs. A functional format for resumes highlights a candidate's professional skills. Knowing how to write a functional resume may help you accurately represent your skills and abilities to potential employers. In this article, we define a resume with a functional format, discuss when to use this format, explore how to write a functional format resume, review tips to help you, and provide examples to guide you in creating your own.
Related: What Makes a Good Resume?
What is a functional resume?
A functional resume, also known as a skills-based resume, showcases your areas of expertise and skills rather than your work history. Instead of listing your work experience as the first section of your resume, you can list the most relevant skills and abilities, especially if they pertain to the role for which you're applying. This can help employers focus on your soft or technical skills to evaluate your suitability for the role and company. With this format, you can customise your resume and apply to a position without worrying about gaps in employment or varied work history.
Related: Resume Format Guide (with Examples)
When to use a functional CV?
You may consider using the functional CV format in the following situations:
When changing careers: You may use this format if you're making a career change and have few significant experiences within that industry or profession. This format can help you demonstrate how your unique skills gained from other experiences might translate into the next career or position.
When you have little or no working experience: A functional CV format can help you be creative with your work history and provide flexibility in highlighting your skills. Consider including unique skills you might have gained when participating in various school programs or functions.
When you have an employment gap: If you haven't worked in a professional job in a few years, you may want to use your skills rather than your experience to represent your capabilities. Listing your skills first may be a great way to gain your potential employer's attention before they review your employment history.
When you have experiences other than in traditional jobs: You may use this format if you have assorted experiences that might not necessarily relate to the job for which you're applying. You can highlight gained skills from each position and explain how they apply to the new role.
How to write functional resumes
Here's a list of steps you can take to create your own resume using a functional format:
1. Include your contact information
You can begin your resume by listing your contact information. This may include your phone number, email address, first and last name and your current job title. It's beneficial to have your name as the largest text at the top of the page. Use a professional font to help make a good impression and so the employer can identify who sent the document. You may or may not include your address, as most recruiters tend to contact you via email or phone.
2. Start with a summary
You can begin your resume with a summary that highlights your most relevant qualifications. This is usually an opportunity to let the employer know why you're the best candidate for the role. You can highlight your more impressive and relevant expertise and skills, matching them to the specifications in the job listing.
3. Group your skills
Functional format resumes emphasise your skills rather than your work history. This means you can create your skills section to be as large as an experience section for a chronological resume. Try to choose skills that are relevant to the job for which you're applying. For each skill, you might consider adding a few bullet points that highlight impressive achievements. You can communicate the impact you may have made with those skills with specific examples.
4. List your employment history
If you have gaps in employment or minimal experience, including your most relevant work experience may improve your chances of getting a job. Be sure to highlight the qualities and abilities that the employer may be looking for in a candidate. You can list the names of the company and the position you held for your previous experiences. You can also include any key contributions you made in each role. Listing your previous jobs in a specific order isn't always necessary in this resume format, which means that including employment dates may be optional.
5. Include your educational background
In the next section, you can feature your academic qualifications, including the institution's name, area of study and location. Add any advanced courses, certifications or training that may be relevant to the position. Consider including all your academic credentials to help make you a strong candidate for the position and impress the employer.
6. Write your professional accomplishments
You can create a section the outlines any awards you have received that are related to the position. Earning an award can be an indication of your skills and abilities and can help increase your chances of getting invited to interview. This can be an effective way to prove to the employer that you may be a valuable addition to their organisation.
7. Edit and proofread
Before sending your resume, be sure to take the time to edit and proofread the document. Check for any errors or grammar issues, as your resume is typically the first impression an employer has of you. Be sure to review whether your document addresses the skills and qualifications listed in the job requirements.
Tips to use when drafting a functional CV
Here's a list of tips you can use when drafting an effective resume that uses the functional format:
use clear headings to divide your content, which can help your resume be easy to scan and read
detail what skills you can provide to employers and any goals you hope to achieve in the role in the summary section
use compelling words to describe your qualifications, accomplishments and skills, such as ‘solved’, ‘streamlined’ and ‘led’
keep your resume short and precise
attribute a measurable outcome to every job or skill listed
tailor the content to feature keywords listed in the job description
mention relevant projects you may have handled in the past, as they reflect your ability to develop and complete tasks
consider writing a cover letter to help you expand on your skills and abilities.
Examples of functional format resumes
You may consider using the following examples of functional format resumes to create your own:
Accountant functional CV example
Here's an example of a functional CV for an accountant role:
Sydney, NSW 3000
Responsible accounting manager with over five years of experience, compiling annual reports for large organisations. Adept at all accounting functions, proficient in using various accounting software, staying up-to-date with the latest accounting technology and managing large teams for specific projects.
Skills and abilities
Worked with loss prevention department to determine accounting errors that may have resulted in significant losses. Introduced and implemented a new management process that decreased operational costs by 5% monthly.
Standards of accounting
Recorded financial transactions and prepared financial reports and statements in accounting software as per GAAP.
Attention to detail
Collaborated with clients and my team to address questions, confirm the accuracy of accounts and obtain complete documentation. My attention to detail ensured that all clients' financial reports were accurate, improving client satisfaction by 10%.
Grey Market Accounting Firm, 2015
I managed contacts with clients, preparing their financial reports while handling departmental tasks such as accounts receivable and payroll.
Wager Company, 2017
Responsible for monitoring accounting systems and reporting any issues to management.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting
Southern Lookout University, 2014
Sales functional CV example
Here's an example of a sales resume you can use as a reference when creating your own:
Subiaco, WA 6008
(20) 4 506-1234
A hardworking and driven sales professional with two years of working experience in nurturing relationships with clients, conflict resolution and meeting sale targets.
Skilled in developing and maintaining new client relationships while nurturing relationships with current clients. Achieved 95% customer satisfaction rate and increased client retention rate by 200% in a year.
Consistently exceeded sales goals by 10% for over four months. Followed up with unsatisfied customers, reducing customer churn by 5%.
Bingram Co., 2020
Junior Sales Associate
Created awareness of Bingram Co. products through on-site visits and introducing monthly educational forums. Established relationships with new prospects, increasing company sales by 15% annually.
Conducted sales presentations to prospective clients, negotiated contracts and prepared monthly sales reports. Generated leads and exceeded sales targets.
Bachelor of Science in Sales and Administration
Gold Crown University, 2018
Recognised as a top performer for processing over 20 customer transactions per day, factoring in discounts and promotions into the final price
Received an award for being the best salesperson for the year at Tradelot in 2019
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