How to Write a Functional Resume [4 Free Templates Included]

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Struggling with your resume because you just graduated from university and don’t have much work experience?

Or maybe you’re switching careers, and aren’t sure how to make your past position relevant for the new field?

Whichever the case, the solution is pretty simple:

Use a functional resume format!

  • What’s a Functional Resume?

When to Use a Functional Resume?

How to write a functional resume.

  • What Are Some Other Resume Formats (and When To Use Them)

What is a Functional Resume?

A functional resume, also known as the skill-based resume, is a resume format that focuses on your professional skill test as opposed to work experience.

If you were to create a traditional resume, you’d list out your work experience in reverse chronological order as follows:

reverse chronological resume example

Whereas, in the case of a functional resume , you list out each of your skills, and then back them up by highlighting how you’ve practically applied them in the past:

functional resume sample

It’s better to use a functional resume in the following situations:

  • You’re a recent graduate with no work experience. As the functional resume focuses on skills rather than experience, it can be very helpful to students.
  • You’re switching careers . If you have some work experience, but the said experience isn’t relevant for the position you’re applying for, you can use a functional resume to highlight how your skills make you the right candidate.
  • You have a long history of unemployment (or gaps between jobs). Since the functional resume format focuses on skills, you can use it to downplay your work experience gaps.

That being said, in around 90% of cases, we don’t recommend using a functional resume .

While it does have its perks (e.g. standing out as a recent graduate), it also comes with significant downsides.

First off, it’s nowhere near as popular as the traditional resume format, and in certain parts of the world, recruiters might not even know that the functional format is a thing.

In addition, some recruiters might find the lack of work experience in a resume suspicious because it can hint the candidate isn’t being truthful (e.g. red flags, being fired from previous employment, etc.).

These 2 disadvantages combined make a compelling case against the functional resume format.

So, if you do decide to create a functional resume, weigh the pros and cons and proceed at your own risk!

Want to also learn how to create a traditional resume ? Check out our guide!

First things first - pick a compelling resume template to get started. We recommend using our Functional Resume template:

functional resume template

Then, create the following sections on your resume:

  • Contact Information
  • Resume Summary
  • Skill Summary

If you have additional space once you’re finished with these sections, you can fill it up with some optional sections (which we’ll explain a bit down the line).

Now, let’s walk you through each of these sections and explain how to do them right:

#1. Contact Information

While it might sound elementary, there’s a ton of tid-bits you need to know about getting the contact information section right.

Here’s what you need to include in the contact information section:

  • First and last name
  • Current job title
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • City and country you’re based in

Optionally, you can also include links to relevant social media profiles. For example:

  • If you’re a writer, you can link your portfolio page or website.
  • If you’re a developer, you can link your GitHub profile.
  • If you’re a marketer, you can link your Instagram or Twitter page.
  • Your LinkedIn profile link (if it’s up-to-date).

#2. Resume Summary

The next section on your functional resume is the “resume summary.”

This section goes right under your contact information, and looks something like this:

resume summary

In a nutshell, a resume summary is a 2-4 sentence recap of your biggest professional achievements and career highlights.

The goal of this section is to show the recruiter (in one glance) that you’re qualified for the position you’re applying for.

Here’s what a well-written resume summary would look like:

  • Professional executive assistant with experience in supporting high-level CEOs and other executives for over 5 years. Experienced in customer support, data entry, and scheduling meetings. Skilled in time management, MS Office, and Adobe Photoshop.

#3. Skill Summary

This one’s going to be the bulk of your functional resume.

In a skill summary section, you mention the top 3 skills required for the position you’re applying for and then provide information on how you’ve gained the said skills right under them.

Let’s say, for example, you’re a recent graduate applying for a role in marketing. Here’s what your skill summary could look like:

Copywriting

  • Wrote over 20+ well-researched papers for my university.
  • Worked at the university news media as a journalist, interviewing interesting university alumni and publishing their stories on the website.
  • Created and published high-quality tech articles on my personal blog (www.exampleblog.com).
  • Participated in a university project for a real-life company (Company X), where we had to come up with ideas for expanding to a new market.
  • With the help of my team, came up with 5 ideas, out of which 3 were actually implemented by the company.
  • Came up with 100+ topic ideas for content on my personal blog, some of which got over 50 shares when published.

Project Management

  • Acted as a team leader for most of my university projects, ensuring that they were completed on time, and that every group member contributed.
  • Was part of the Startup Weekend organizational committee. Helped source speakers, organize the event, find sponsors, and overall ensured that the event went smoothly.

job search masterclass

#4. Education

The next section on your functional resume is Education , and this one’s actually pretty straightforward.

Here, list out the following information:

  • Name of the degree (e.g. B.A. in Computer Science)
  • Name of the university and dates attended (e.g. Boston State University, 2012 - 2016)

Optionally, you can also include the following as part of your education section :

  • GPA. If you had an impressive GPA in your university (3.5 - 4.0), you can list it in your resume. Most companies, however, don’t really care about your grades all that much .
  • Honors. E.g. Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, etc.
  • Academic Achievements. Your thesis, interesting or noteworthy research papers you’ve written, etc.
  • Courses Attended. If you’ve taken some very impressive classes (and they’re related to the role you’re applying for), you can mention them in your education section.

#5. Optional Sections

Still have some space left on your resume? Here are some other sections you can include:

  • Projects - In our opinion, this one’s the most underrated resume section. Here, you can include any kind of personal or university project you’ve worked on. E.g. blog you’ve started, a piece of software you coded, etc.
  • Extracurricular Activities - If you’re a recent graduate, you can include a section about the extracurricular activities you’ve participated in during university.
  • Languages - Knowing an extra language or two can always come in handy. When filling these out, though, make sure to include your level of understanding (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Fluent, or Native).
  • Work History - Yep, you CAN include work history on your functional resume. If you decide to do this, though, your resume will be a combination resume and NOT the functional one.

Other Resume Formats

There are 2 other resume formats in addition to the Functional one:

  • Reverse-Chronological Resume Format
  • Combination Resume Format

Here’s what they’re about:

#1. Reverse-Chronological Resume Format

This one’s the most common resume format out there and it’s what most people have in mind when they refer to a “resume.”

This resume format simply lists out work experiences in reverse-chronological order and backs them up with other essential resume sections (skills, education, etc.).

Unless you have specific reasons to use either of the other resume formats (combination or functional), we recommend you stick with this one.

#2. Combination Resume Format

The combination resume is almost the same thing as a functional resume, with a small twist.

In addition to the skill summary section on the resume, you also add a work history section (which helps even out the downsides that come with a functional resume).

Usually, the combination resume is used by senior professionals with a decade’s worth of work experience.

4 Free Functional Resume Templates & Examples

Want to get started with your functional resume?

All you have to do is pick one of our free templates and you’re good to go!

#1. Functional Resume Template

functional resume template example

Our functional resume template adds a dash of style to the traditional black-and-white resume.

Use this template to present your skills and talents in the best way possible!

#2. Combination Resume Template

combination resume template

This combination template allows you to showcase your skills without having to cut down on work experience.

#3. College Resume Template

college resume sample

Our College resume template is perfect for recent university graduates, allowing you to emphasize your skill-set over your work experiences.

#4. Professional Resume Template

professional resume example

Looking for something a bit more professional? This resume template is a prime favorite for job-seekers who are serious about their careers.

Key Takeaways

And that just about sums up everything you need to know about functional resumes!

Now, let’s do a small recap of everything we’ve learned so far:

  • A functional resume format is a type of resume that focuses more on skills rather than work experiences.
  • You can use a functional resume if you’re a recent graduate with little work experience or if you’re switching careers.
  • To create a compelling functional resume, you want to get your skill summary section just right.
  • Functional resumes, however, are not that common in most parts of the world, so we recommend sticking to a conventional resume format to most job-seekers, instead.

Discover More Resume Templates

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  • 2 Page Resume Templates
  • Google Docs Resume Templates
  • Word Resume Templates
  • Chronological Resume Templates
  • Creative Resume Templates
  • Minimalistic Resume Templates
  • High School Resume Templates

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Functional Resume: A Beginner’s Guide with Examples

functional resume cover letter examples

In today’s competitive job market, it is essential to make a strong first impression on potential employers. However, traditional chronological resumes may not always be the best option for individuals looking to showcase their unique skills and experiences. This is where functional resumes come into play.

A functional resume focuses on a candidate’s skills and accomplishments rather than their work experience. Rather than listing job titles and specific duties, a functional resume emphasizes the candidate’s abilities and how they can add value to a workplace. It is especially useful for individuals who have gaps in their employment history, are changing careers, or have limited work experience.

Why Choose a Functional Resume

A functional resume can be an excellent option for individuals who want to stand out from other candidates. By highlighting their unique skillset, candidates can show potential employers that they have the necessary qualifications and can be an asset to their organization. Additionally, a functional resume can help applicants who have changed jobs frequently, as it emphasizes their transferable skills rather than their work history.

Benefits of a Functional Resume

There are several benefits to using a functional resume. Firstly, it allows individuals to focus on their strengths, making their application more compelling to potential employers. It can also help reduce concerns about gaps in employment by highlighting the candidate’s skills and experience rather than their work history. Additionally, by presenting their qualifications in a clear and concise manner, candidates may be able to attract the attention of hiring managers more effectively.

A functional resume can be an excellent option for individuals who want to showcase their unique skills and experience. By highlighting their strengths and minimizing perceived weaknesses, candidates can increase their chances of getting hired and landing their dream job.

Anatomy of a Functional Resume

A functional resume is a type of resume that focuses more on skills and achievements, rather than the chronological work history. This style of resume is perfect for job seekers who have significant gaps in their work history or who want to highlight their transferable skills.

Structure of a Functional Resume

The structure of a functional resume typically involves a few key sections, which include:

Header : This section includes your contact information, such as your name, email address, phone number, and address.

Summary/Objective : This section is a brief statement that highlights your top skills and experiences. This is where you can showcase your unique value proposition and communicate what you can bring to the company.

Skills : In this section, you list your relevant skills, such as technical skills, hard skills, soft skills, and language proficiency.

Experience : This section lists your work experiences and accomplishments, but it is organized by relevant skills rather than by job title or date.

Education : This section includes your educational background and any certifications or awards you may have earned.

Sections of a Functional Resume

All the sections included in a functional resume are designed to showcase your transferable skills and achievements. Unlike a chronological resume which is primarily focused on your work history, a functional resume is tailored to highlight your areas of expertise.

The Difference between a Functional Resume and a Chronological Resume

The key difference between a functional resume and a chronological resume is the focus on your work history. A chronological resume is organized by dates and job titles, while a functional resume is organized by skills and achievements.

A chronological resume is best suited for job seekers who have a consistent work history with minimal gaps. Meanwhile, a functional resume is ideal for job seekers with limited experience or those who want to highlight their transferable skills.

A functional resume is a powerful tool for job seekers who want to stand out from the crowd by showcasing their skills and achievements. The structure and sections of a functional resume are strategically designed to highlight your unique value proposition and communicate what you can bring to the company.

When to Use a Functional Resume

A functional resume is a great choice for certain job seekers depending on their work history, experience, and career goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding whether to use a functional resume:

Who Should Use a Functional Resume

Functional resumes are ideal for job seekers who have gaps in their work history, have changed careers frequently, or have relevant skills from other work or life experiences. These types of resumes highlight those skills and experiences rather than focusing on specific job titles or employers.

Another scenario where a functional resume might be appropriate is for recent graduates who have limited work experience but have developed relevant skills through internships, volunteer work, or extracurricular activities.

It’s important to note that functional resumes may not be the best option for recent graduates who are applying to entry-level positions in their field.

Situations that Call for a Functional Resume

There are several situations in which a functional resume may be a better choice than a traditional chronological resume.

If you are returning to work after a long absence, such as raising children, taking care of a family member, or dealing with a personal health issue, a functional resume can help you emphasize skills and experiences gained during that time.

Job seekers who are changing careers may also benefit from a functional resume as it allows them to highlight transferable skills and show how they are relevant to the new industry or job they are seeking.

Finally, if you have had a lot of short-term jobs or freelance work, a functional resume can help you highlight your skills and achievements across those different roles rather than simply listing each job and its duties.

How to Know When a Functional Resume is Appropriate

If you are unsure whether a functional resume is the right choice for you, consider talking to a career counselor or professional resume writer who can help you assess your skills and experience in relation to the jobs you want.

You should also carefully consider the job listing and the employer’s needs. If the job posting emphasizes specific job titles or required experience, a traditional chronological resume may be a better choice.

A functional resume can be a great option for job seekers who have varied work history or skills gained outside of traditional employment. By emphasizing skills and experiences over job titles and employers, it can help you stand out to potential employers and showcase your strengths.

Preparing to Write a Functional Resume

Before you start writing your functional resume, it’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure that your final document is effective in highlighting your skills and qualifications.

Steps for Preparing a Functional Resume

Research the job description:  Start by reviewing the job posting or job description thoroughly. Highlight and make note of the skills, experiences, and qualifications that the employer is seeking.

Make a list of your own skills and qualifications:  Next, make a list of your own skills and qualifications, taking into account the job requirements that you have identified. This list should include both hard and soft skills, as well as any relevant experience, education or certification.

Evaluate your career history:  Take time to evaluate your career history and consider any significant achievements, projects, and experiences that demonstrate your strengths and key competencies.

Decide on resume sections and order:  Once you have compiled your list of skills and qualifications, you can start organizing your resume sections. Decide on the order of your sections based on what is most relevant and eye-catching to employers.

Identifying Your Skills and Qualifications

Hard skills:  These are specific, measurable technical skills that you have developed through education or experience. Examples include proficiency in a particular computer program or language, hands-on experience with a specific tool or machinery, or certification in a particular discipline.

Soft skills:  These are personal attributes that reflect how you interact with others and contribute to an organization’s culture. Examples include communication skills, time management, problem-solving, and leadership skills.

In a functional resume, you will want to prioritize your skills and qualifications above your experience. This way, any potential employer can quickly see what you bring to the table and how you can benefit their organization.

Choosing the Right Format for Your Functional Resume

There are three main formats to consider when writing a functional resume: chronological, hybrid, and functional.

Chronological:  In a chronological resume, your experience is listed in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job at the top. Skills and qualifications are typically listed in a separate section below the experience section.

Hybrid:  A hybrid resume combines elements of both a chronological and functional resume. The top section of the resume highlights your skills and qualifications, followed by a chronological listing of your work experience.

Functional:  In a functional resume, your skills and qualifications take center stage. This format de-emphasizes your work history, but still includes a brief summary of your career achievements, along with a list of relevant work experiences.

When choosing the right format for your functional resume, consider the job requirements and the employer’s preferences. By using the appropriate format and putting your skills and qualifications front and center, you can create a winning functional resume that effectively markets your talents and experience to employers.

Writing a Successful Functional Resume

A functional resume is a great way for job seekers to showcase their skills and experiences without emphasizing their job history. By highlighting your professional accomplishments and qualifications, you can create a powerful resume that will capture the attention of potential employers.

Here are some writing tips to help you craft a successful functional resume:

Writing Tips:

Start with a strong summary statement that highlights your skills and qualifications.

Use bullet points to organize your achievements and skills.

Use action words to describe your achievements and skills, such as “created”, “managed”, “designed”, etc.

Be concise and clear with your language. Avoid using overly complicated industry jargon or long sentences.

Use a standard, easy-to-read font and format your resume consistently throughout.

Next, it’s important to consider what keywords to include in your functional resume.

Keywords to Include in a Functional Resume:

Using relevant keywords can help your resume get through automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) and improve your chances of getting noticed by human recruiters.

Here are some common keywords to include in a functional resume:

  • Industry-specific skills and qualifications
  • Software and technical skills
  • Professional certifications and licenses
  • Project management experience
  • Leadership and team management skills

Remember to include any relevant keywords that match the job description, as this can increase your chances of getting selected for an interview.

Lastly, here are some common mistakes to avoid when writing a functional resume:

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Functional Resume:

Not including specific achievements or accomplishments.

Listing irrelevant work experience.

Using a generic summary statement that doesn’t match the job description.

Using buzzwords or industry jargon that may not be understood by recruiters outside of your field.

Focusing too much on job duties and not enough on accomplishments and skills.

By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, you can create a functional resume that showcases your unique talents, accomplishments, and qualifications. Remember to highlight your skills and experience and tailor your resume to each job description to increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Examples of Functional Resumes

Functional resumes are an excellent option for job seekers who want to draw attention to their skills and abilities instead of their work history. Here are three examples to help you understand how to structure a functional resume:

Example 1: Functional Resume for a Recent Graduate

[Your Name]

Recent Graduate | Seeking Entry-Level [Industry/Position]

Motivated and enthusiastic recent graduate with a [Degree/Major] from [University/College]. Strong academic foundation in [relevant coursework/skills]. Passionate about [industry/field] and eager to apply knowledge and skills in a professional setting. Excellent communication, problem-solving, and teamwork abilities.

  • [Relevant Skill 1]
  • [Relevant Skill 2]
  • [Relevant Skill 3]
  • [Relevant Skill 4]
  • [Year of Graduation]
  • Relevant coursework: [Coursework 1], [Coursework 2], [Coursework 3]
  • [Project 1]: [Brief description and key achievements]
  • [Project 2]: [Brief description and key achievements]
  • [Project 3]: [Brief description and key achievements]

Intern, [Company/Organization]

  • Assisted with [specific tasks/responsibilities].
  • Conducted [research/analysis] to support [project/initiative].
  • Collaborated with team members to [achieve goals/outcomes].

Volunteer, [Organization]

  • Contributed to [specific tasks/responsibilities].
  • Assisted in organizing [events/activities].
  • Demonstrated strong [skill/ability] in a team environment.

Additional Skills

  • Proficient in [Software/Applications]
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail-oriented with excellent organizational abilities
  • Adaptability and willingness to learn

Certifications

  • [Certification 1]
  • [Certification 2]
  • [Certification 3]
  • [Language 1]: Native proficiency
  • [Language 2]: Intermediate proficiency

Example 2: Functional Resume for Experienced Worker

Experienced Professional | [Industry/Position]

Results-driven and accomplished professional with [number of years] of experience in [industry/field]. Proven track record of success in [specific areas/achievements]. Strong leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills. Committed to driving [goals/objectives] and delivering exceptional outcomes.

Professional Experience

[Current/Previous Position], [Company/Organization]

  • [Key Responsibility/Achievement 1]
  • [Key Responsibility/Achievement 2]
  • [Key Responsibility/Achievement 3]

[Previous Position], [Company/Organization]

Additional Experience

[Related Experience 1], [Company/Organization]

[Related Experience 2], [Company/Organization]

  • Strong leadership and team management abilities
  • Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized

Formatting Your Functional Resume

When it comes to formatting your functional resume, there are key design and layout decisions you must make to present a well-organized, polished document that will catch an employer’s attention. Below are some important design guidelines, font and layout considerations, and tips for creating a professional look.

Design Guidelines

Make sure to choose a clean, easy-to-read design that is visually appealing. Use a standard paper size and keep margins at 1 inch all around. Avoid too much white space, which can make the resume look sparse, but don’t clutter the page with too much text or graphics. Sticking to a one-page format is ideal, but ensure that all relevant and important information is included.

Fonts and Layout Considerations

Your choice of font is important, as it can impact the readability of your resume. Choose a font for headings that stands out, such as Arial or Times New Roman, and use a slightly smaller font size for body text. Avoid fonts that may be harder to read, such as script or cursive styles.

In terms of layout, use bullet points to make information easy to scan and digest. Avoid long, dense paragraphs. Use headings and subheadings to organize content and lead the reader through the document. Additionally, use bolding, italicizing, or underlining to highlight important information, but use these effects sparingly.

Creating a Professional Look

In addition to adhering to design and font guidelines, there are other steps you can take to create a professional look for your functional resume. First, make sure that you have consistent formatting throughout the document. Use the same font, font size, and spacing throughout the body of the resume. This helps create a cohesive, polished look.

Secondly, don’t forget the importance of proofreading. Spelling errors, inaccuracies, or other mistakes can detract from the overall impression of your resume. After drafting your functional resume, take time to review and proofread it thoroughly to ensure that it is error-free.

Finally, consider tailoring your design and format to the job you are applying for. Review the job posting and consider the industry or company you are applying to. Adjust the layout or design elements to fit the desired “feel” of the position or organization.

By following these guidelines and tips, you can create a professional, well-organized functional resume that effectively showcases your unique skills and experience.

Tailoring Your Functional Resume to a Job Posting

When it comes to job hunting, tailoring your functional resume to a job posting is crucial. A functional resume is designed to highlight your skills and accomplishments, rather than just your work experience, which makes it a great choice for those who have gaps in their job history or who are changing careers. However, to really make your functional resume stand out, you need to tailor it to the specific job you’re applying for.

Job Posting Analysis

Before you start tailoring your functional resume, you need to carefully analyze the job posting to understand what the employer is looking for. Look for keywords and phrases that are repeated throughout the posting. Pay attention to the qualifications and requirements that the employer is looking for. Think about how your skills and experience match up with what they’re looking for.

Targeted Functional Resumes

Once you’ve analyzed the job posting, it’s time to start tailoring your functional resume. Start by creating a master resume that includes all of your skills and work experience. From there, you can create targeted functional resumes for each job you apply for. Use the keywords and phrases you found in the job posting to highlight your skills and accomplishments that match up with what the employer is looking for.

As you’re creating your targeted functional resume, keep the job posting in mind. Customize your objective statement to align with the position you’re applying for. Use the same language and terminology that the employer uses in the posting. Highlight your skills and accomplishments that are most relevant to the position.

The Importance of a Tailored Functional Resume

Tailoring your functional resume to the job you’re applying for is important for a few reasons. First, it shows the employer that you’ve taken the time to research the position and understand what they’re looking for. Second, it highlights your skills and accomplishments that are most relevant to the position, which makes you a stronger candidate. Finally, it helps you stand out from the other applicants who may be using a generic functional resume.

Tailoring your functional resume to a job posting is a crucial step in your job search. By analyzing the job posting, creating targeted functional resumes, and highlighting your most relevant skills and accomplishments, you can increase your chances of standing out from the crowd and landing the job you want.

Cover Letter Writing Tips for a Functional Resume

When it comes to job hunting, a functional resume can be an effective tool to showcase your skills and qualifications. However, it’s important to remember that your cover letter also plays a crucial role in the application process. In this section, we’ll discuss some tips on how to incorporate your functional resume into your cover letter, highlight your skills and qualifications, and address any employment gaps.

Incorporating Your Functional Resume into Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter should complement your functional resume and not simply repeat information. Therefore, it’s important to think about how your skills and qualifications can be integrated into your cover letter. One effective approach is to use specific examples of how your skills and experience match the requirements of the job you’re applying for.

For example, if you’re applying for a marketing position and your functional resume highlights your experience in social media management and content creation, you could mention specific campaigns you’ve managed in your cover letter. This shows the hiring manager that you have the skills they’re looking for and have experience applying them in a professional context.

Highlighting Your Skills and Qualifications in Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a chance to really highlight your strengths as a candidate. Rather than simply listing your qualifications, take the opportunity to explain how your skills and experience make you a good fit for the position.

For example, if you’re a recent graduate with limited work experience, you could focus on your academic achievements and any relevant coursework or projects. Alternatively, if you have years of experience in a particular field, you could explain how that experience has given you a unique perspective on the job you’re applying for.

Addressing Employment Gaps in Your Cover Letter

If your functional resume includes employment gaps, it’s important to address these issues in your cover letter. Rather than trying to hide or explain away the gaps, be honest about what you were doing during that time and emphasize any skills or experience you gained.

For example, if you took a break from work to care for a family member, you could explain how that experience taught you valuable communication and organizational skills. Alternatively, if you pursued a personal project during your employment gap, you could highlight how that experience gave you new perspectives or taught you new skills.

Your cover letter offers a chance to expand on the information in your functional resume and showcase your skills and qualifications. By incorporating specific examples and addressing any employment gaps, your cover letter can help you stand out as a strong candidate for any job.

Submitting a Functional Resume

When it comes to submitting a functional resume, there are several tips and strategies that can help increase your chances of landing an interview. Additionally, it’s important to be prepared to follow up on your application and deal with rejection if necessary.

Tips for Submitting Your Functional Resume

Here are some tips for submitting your functional resume:

Customize your resume for each job application. Your functional resume should be tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. Highlight the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the position.

Use keywords from the job description. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for relevant keywords. Make sure you include keywords from the job description to increase your chances of passing the ATS screening.

Focus on achievements rather than duties. Instead of listing your job duties, highlight your accomplishments and how you added value to your previous roles. This will help the employer see the impact you can make in their organization.

Keep it concise and easy to read. A functional resume should be no longer than two pages, with clear headings and bullet points to organize the information.

Following up on Your Functional Resume

After submitting your functional resume, it’s important to follow up on your application to demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm for the position. Here are some tips for following up:

Wait a week before following up. Give the employer a chance to review your application before reaching out.

Send a brief email. Keep your follow-up email short and to the point. Thank the employer for their time and express your interest in the position.

Showcase your skills and experience. Use your follow-up email as an opportunity to highlight your relevant skills and experience, and why you’re a good fit for the job.

Be persistent but polite. If you don’t hear back after your initial follow-up, it’s okay to send another email or make a phone call. However, remain polite and professional in your communication.

Dealing with Rejection

Unfortunately, rejection is a part of the job search process. Here are some tips for handling rejection:

Don’t take it personally. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re not a qualified candidate or that you’ll never find a job. It’s simply part of the hiring process.

Ask for feedback. If possible, ask the employer for feedback on why you weren’t selected for the position. This can help you improve your resume and job search strategy moving forward.

Keep a positive attitude. It’s important to maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated during the job search process. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, and focus on the opportunities that lie ahead.

Submitting a functional resume can be an effective way to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers.

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How to Write a Functional Resume | Definition and Examples

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What is a functional resume?

How to write a functional resume, functional resume template, functional resume example.

A functional resume focuses on an applicant’s skills and abilities instead of the chronological order of previous work experiences. This resume format is a good choice for people with significant gaps in their work history or those with previous work experience that is irrelevant to the position they’re applying for.

Using a functional resume can be an effective way of showing an employer that you have the hard and soft skills required for a particular job, even if your work history doesn’t show it. It can also help people who have worked many different jobs in a relatively short time and might otherwise be seen as unstable employees. This article includes some tips on writing a functional resume, along with a template and an example.

When creating your functional resume, always keep in mind that the goal is to highlight the skills that are relevant to a particular job. 

These are the steps that are typically required for writing a functional resume:

1. Firstly, list your contact information 

The top part of the page should contain your full name, address and email.

2. Secondly, summarize your work experience and acquired skills 

This provides the employer with context and positions your best skills and achievements where they will be read first.

3. Next, create a skills section 

This is the most important part of the resume, and it is formatted similarly to a classic professional experience section. Add at least three skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for and provide bullet points for each. The bullet points should describe achievements that highlight each particular skill.

4. Then, make a professional experience section

The whole point of the functional resume is to highlight relevant skills instead of work experience, so this section should be brief and without specific dates. A good way of listing work experiences without revealing employment gaps is by listing only the years instead of the full dates.

5. Next, mention your education

Unless your education is directly related to the job you are applying for, this section should include only the name, city and state of the last school or college you graduated from, the years attended and your degree or specialization.

6. Finally, list awards and honors when applicable

If you earned an honor or award during your career that would be relevant to the position you are applying for, this is where to add it. If not, you can skip this section altogether.

The key to writing a good functional resume is matching your skills to the ones the hiring manager is looking for. Writing a cover letter also helps, as it adds more context and helps the employer get a better understanding of your professional history.

[Full Name] [Address] [Email Address]

[A short description of your current professional status, including relevant experience and interests that are related to the desired position.]

  • [First example of skill 1]
  • [Second example of skill 1] 
  • [First example of skill 2]
  • [Second example of skill 2]
  • [First example of skill 3]
  • [Second example of skill 3]

Professional Experience

[Professional Experience 1, Year]

  • [Most recent relevant professional experience, job responsibilities and achievements]

[Professional Experience 2, Year]

  • [Other relevant professional experience, job responsibilities and achievements]

[Name of university/college/high school, years attended]

[Degree or specialization]

Awards and Honors

[Any that are relevant to the position]

Johanna Wong 123 Sunset Boulevard Houston, Texas 77001 [email protected]

Sales professional with a proven track record in multiple fields during a five-year career. I am customer-oriented and passionate about building strong long-term relationships, constantly improving the sales process and increasing brand loyalty.

Communication 

  • Created and implemented new company policies that made communication with customers easier on all channels. 
  • Created a new sales employee manual, including all the relevant procedures that every member of the sales team must follow to constantly improve the selling process and increase market share.
  • Averaged more than 10 follow-up calls per day, with a 20% success rate on customers who have previously declined to use our services. 
  • 83% of the customers acquired through follow-up calls reported a positive experience after working with the company and recommended our services to their acquaintances.

Process Streamlining

  • Worked to improve the sales process by using statistics to make every step faster and more efficient. 
  • Developed procedures and templates that sales employees can use to save time and increase customer satisfaction, resulting in a 30% shorter sales flow.

Strategic Prospecting

  • Exposed the company to new potential customers by researching and targeting new markets. 
  • Expanded the potential customer base by 45% over a three-year period, increasing the interest shown in our services by 30% and sales by 17%.

Regional Sales Manager, Cyberdine Electronics, 2017

  • My job responsibilities were to coordinate, train and support the sales team in my region. In the space of 15 months, sales increased by 20%, the company became one of the top three in the region by market share, and the team I managed was the company’s second-best sales team in the Houston area.

Sales Representative, Johnson Real Estate, 2012

  • My job responsibilities were to identify properties that were available for rent in my allocated region, promote them and present them to interested customers. By using my communication and persuasion skills, I became the company’s top sales representative in the residential rental division after 10 months.

Rice University, Houston, Texas, 2007-2011

Bachelor of Science in Commerce

Presented with the Golden Falcon Award for excellent achievements in real estate, 2014.

Career Services Student Success and Well-Being

functional resume cover letter examples

  • Resumes and Cover Letters

Your resume represents you when you aren’t there. It is your professional “snapshot”. Your resume determines if you get an interview, and interview determines if you get a job. Take the time to do your resume right! Creating a resume is a process; don’t expect a perfect resume on your first try.

We can help! Attend our workshops for the basics on resume and cover letter writing. Get ideas from the hundreds of different sample resumes available in our career library. Have a staff member critique your resume for content, formatting and accuracy, no appointment necessary!

What is a Resume?

  • Your resume is a summary of your education and experiences . It should be focused on what is relevant to your industry.
  • Chronological resumes have educational and employment history organized by date. This resume works well for students who have related experiences within their field.
  • Functional resumes focus on skill sets gained through a variety of activities, such as educational course work, clubs and organizations, as well as internships and volunteer work. This resume format works best for students lacking relevant work experience or changing careers.
  • Combination resumes are a combination of the chronological resume and functional resume. It focuses on skill sets, but also lists employment history. These types of resumes are most commonly used for someone who wants to change their career path entirely or have limited experience .
  • Send your resume with a cover letter, in response to a specific position.
  • Keep it current! List your most recent accomplishments so the interviewer knows what you are capable of doing now.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread; ensure there are no grammatical errors.
  • Don’t be modest! This is your chance to shine, you are competing for this position!

Drop-in Resume Critique

Once you have completed a draft of your resume, you should ask at least one other person to review it before submitting it to a prospective employer. Our peer advisors are available during drop-in hours to critique a hard copy of your resume. Please plan to attend a Resume workshop before coming in for your critique.

What is a Cover Letter?

Cover Letters introduce you and your resume to prospective employers. The content of a cover letter can be broken down into three basic parts:

  • Introduction: Why are you contacting this person? How did you learn about the job? Who are you? What do you know about their organization (research)?
  • Body: How can you benefit them? Tell how you are an ideal match for the job. Expand on relevant education, skills, and experience to offer additional details not found on your resume.
  • Conclusion: Focus on the next step: the interview! Thank the reader for their time and consideration. Request an interview to further discuss your qualifications.

General Tips for Professional Correspondence:

  • Your correspondence should be professional (content and format)
  • Ensure there are no mistakes (typos, misspellings, factual errors)
  • Always limit correspondence to one page
  • Be sure to sign any correspondence
  • Majors and Careers
  • Work Experience
  • Consider Graduate School-OLD
  • Job Searching

Sample Cover Letter and Resume: Functional

1234 Dahia Court Sumner, Washington 12345 (555) 867-5309 e-mail: [email protected]

May 9, 2000

Kathy Shark Goodbank & Gold Associates e-mail: [email protected]

Dear Ms. Shark,

I am writing in response to the job opening you recently advertised in the Seattle Post Intelligencer. I believe that I have the skills and experience needed for the Office Assistant position. I would be excited to work for Goodbank and Gold, because the company has an excellent reputation and a strong commitment to it's customers.

I have strong organizational skills. My jobs have required that I identify and resolve difficult problems. I am very good at analyzing problems and understanding how they came to be. My recommendations for problem resolution have been very effective. If you contact any of my former supervisors, I encourage you to ask them about these skills.

I thrive in a fast-paced environment. Even under high pressure, I work well with others and maintain a friendly, calm demeanor. I understand the need for an office assistant to cope with stress and continue working when things get difficult.

I know that the office assistant is required to be proficient in many areas of computer technology. I have strong computer skills as outlined in my resume. I also have experience with office machines such as faxes and copiers.

I would love to meet with you to further discuss my skills and experience. Please contact me at the address above or by phone at (555) 867-5309. I look forward to hearing from you.

encl: resume

Objective: To obtain a technical position in a high quality organization that will utilize my technical and customer service skills.

  • Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, WA, 1998 to present Prerequisite course work for University of Washington admission
  • Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, 1995-1998 Communications course work

Skills and Qualifications:

  • Conflict Management
  • Effective Listening
  • Argumentation: The Art of Inference
  • Advanced Interpersonal Communication
  • Interact with customers in an efficient, friendly manner.
  • Work well with others, even under high pressure.
  • Analyze, identify, and resolve customer problems.
  • Maintain a calm demeanor and facilitate solutions for challenging customers.
  • Customer Care Representative, Airtouch Cellular, Bellevue, WA, 1998 to present
  • Telephone Operator, Shoreline Community College, Shoreline, WA, 1998-1999
  • Cafeteria Cashier, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle, WA, 1995-1998
  • Online Students
  • Faculty & Staff
  • African American/Black
  • Asian, Pacific Islander & Desi American
  • DACA & Undocumented Students
  • First Generation
  • Hispanic/Latinx
  • Indigenous/Native/First Nations
  • International
  • Justice Impacted
  • Middle Eastern/North African/Arab-American
  • Military Members and Veterans
  • Neurodivergent
  • Students With Disabilities
  • Liberal Arts
  • Social Sciences
  • Create a Resume / Cover Letter
  • Earn Certifications & Badges
  • Expand Your Network / Mentor
  • Negotiate an Offer
  • Prepare for an Interview
  • Explore Your Interests / Self Assessment
  • Prepare for Graduate School
  • Explore Internships
  • Search for a Job

Examples of Resumes & Cover Letters By Major

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Browse top resume and cover letter examples by job, industry, format, and experience level. Every sample is created and approved by our team of Certified Professional Resume Writers. Resume categories include: Accounting/Finance, Art/Design, Computer Science, Career Changers, Education, Science, Health & Wellness, Management & Law.

COMMENTS

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    I have strong computer skills as outlined in my resume. I also have experience with office machines such as faxes and copiers. I would love to meet with you to further discuss my skills and experience. Please contact me at the address above or by phone at (555) 867-5309. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Wanda Jobs. encl: resume

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    Browse top resume and cover letter examples by job, industry, format, and experience level. Every sample is created and approved by our team of Certified Professional Resume Writers. Resume categories include: Accounting/Finance, Art/Design, Computer Science, Career Changers, Education, Science, Health & Wellness, Management & Law. View Resource.

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