5 Tips to Create a Powerful Functional Resume

iPhone, keyboard, headphones on a white background

Functional resume is the choice if you have gaps in your employment history instead of using a traditional chronological resume. Functional resumes put the focus on your experience and downplay job history. This resume style masks gaps in employment and highlights your skills and core competencies instead.

Choosing the Proper Resume Structure

In most cases, you will want to use a traditional format for your resume. Only use a functional resume if you are a recent college graduate or have employment gaps to explain. 

Here is a functional resume sample

functional resume sample

Notice how this functional resume takes the focus off any gaps in your job history and places a heavy emphasis on your experience. 

Functional Resume Format

Most functional resumes include the following:

  • A mission statement or summary
  • A short section highlighting specific skills related to the position in question
  • A longer section that describes key achievements over the course of your career
  • A brief summary of your work history (names of corporations, title of position held, dates employed)

Some functional resumes are structured in two vertical columns, listing job requirements on the left and your qualifications on the right.

What to Include on a Functional Resume

If you choose to go with this resume, be sure to include:

  • Specific accomplishments whenever possible
  • Quantifiable achievements and impact 
  • References to particular projects or work experience at specific corporations
  • A complete work history

What to Exclude on a Functional Resume

When writing your resume, don’t include:

  • Skills learned from varied jobs that don’t apply to the specific position for which you are applying
  • Freelance work that is unrelated to the job in question
  • Long descriptions of complicated projects or processes

Pros of a Functional Resume

Functional resumes work best for recent college graduates who don’t have impressive work histories to lean on. This is because functional resumes allow you to highlight the specific skills you learned in internships, classes and the one or two jobs you’ve had.  A functional resume can also obscure a varied work history, but not for long. Hiring managers know to skim to the bottom of the resume to check your work history.

Cons of a Functional Resume

You would be wise to use a functional resume if you are a recent college graduate or if you have large gaps in your work history. However, there are several reasons not to use this type of resume.  

While some employers love functional resumes, some are suspicious of the unconventional format. To avoid evoking suspicion, provide a brief summary of your work experience at the end of the resume, listed under a title such as “professional history.” This way you are revealing the information in question, but you are doing so after proving yourself competent in the first portion of the resume.  But a few job boards won’t accept a functional resume. 

Some hiring managers find functional resumes to be confusing and visually unappealing. It can be tough to describe specific achievements since you may need to summarize duties performed at several different companies in one skill category. 

When in doubt, we recommend you hire a top resume writer to help you.