Functional resume

Functional resumes prioritize skills over specific jobs. It is less common than the chronological or combination formats and serves a specific purpose. Read more about it here and use it carefully and wisely.

What is a functional resume?

In this resume format, the skills section will be the first section after your contact information (and an objective/summary, if used). Instead of focusing on specific jobs, this resume format focuses on skills you have, like programming, client management, or sales. You will explain how you’ve applied these skills on projects or work initiatives, but it doesn’t need to follow a chronological format.

When to use a functional resume?

Anyone considering this format should proceed with caution because it is so unique. However, it is a great option for jobseekers in the following situations:

  • Freelancers/Self-Employed: These professionals typically have many clients or “jobs,” so it’s easier to provide examples of their specific skills in in areas like graphic design, writing, or cybersecurity than listing out each work experience.
  • No work experience: Because you don’t have any jobs to list, highlighting how you’ve used skills in other contexts is beneficial. For example, if you’ve taken courses in Computer Science, you can write about class projects or personal projects under each skill.
  • Irrelevant work experience: If all of your work experience is irrelevant to the position you’re applying for, but you’ve developed relevant skills, you may opt for this format.

If you otherwise have work experience in your desired career field, a chronological or combination format is recommended.

Functional resume format

Education is included on every resume format. You can also include a short work history on your functional resume underneath the skills section. Trainings and certifications are also highly recommended, as well as any other optional sections that enhance your profile (objective, activities, etc.).

Download a free template (Word)

A free to use and direct downloadable resume template for a functional resume. This template was created by a certified resume expert and can be used with Microsoft Word.

License Terms:
The following license terms and conditions apply when you download any of our free templates:

  • The templates are for a personal use only.
  • You are not allowed to sub-license, transfer, resell or share any of the templates even for free.

Need some help writing your resume?
Take a look at our guide for writing a perfect resume


Vicky Blom

As a professional recruiter, I have over 10 years of experience helping candidates find work with businesses that match their skills, personalities and goals. Here on Resume Supply, I share some of the key things I have learned over my career to help job seekers with resumes, applications and interviews.