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Functional Resume Template (+ Good Example to Follow)

The functional resume is a good choice for some candidates—but only if you know how to use it. Read a functional resume example prepared by experts and start writing.

Roma Kończak, CPRW
Roma Kończak, CPRW
Career Expert
Functional Resume Template (+ Good Example to Follow)

You’ve heard that some candidates go for the functional resume instead of the classic chronological one.

But why? What’s their secret? Is a functional resume always a good idea? Can it improve your chances of landing an interview?

We’re here to explain all of that.

In this guide:

  • A functional resume example that works.
  • How to use a functional resume format to highlight your skills.
  • How to create a functional resume template for your job application.
  • Expert tips and examples to increase your chances of getting an interview.

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Functional Resume Template

Sophia Castillo

Creative Project Manager

(123) 456-1234

Resume Summary

PMP-certified creative project manager with a background in photography and marketing. Keen to deliver advertising projects to successful completion at MoonCo Agency. Helped to cut costs by 12% at an advertising agency through efficient staffing solutions. Delivered 10+ marketing projects involving collaboration with creative teams within the deadlines and budgets.

Skills Summary

Project Management

  • Coordinated 10+ marketing projects from conceptualization to delivery within established deadlines and budgets.
  • Created an in-house creative team at A&G Agency, which lead to cutting advertising production costs by 12% in 2021 while ensuring smooth collaboration with all stakeholders.
  • Managed scheduling and hiring of creative project crews, including booking artists, models, photographers, stylists, and lighting specialists to ensure smooth cooperation and timely production of photoshoots and advertising graphics.


  • Shot 6 photographic essays for Sacramento Fashion Week in the years 2018–2022 to showcase the event’s highlights, present fashion, and illustrate the collaboration between designers and models.
  • Produced high-resolution still and video images, including in-studio and lifestyle photography, in collaboration with editors, creative directors, and brand managers for advertising purposes.
  • Evaluated the technical requirements of 20+ photography projects and assisted with purchasing and rental decisions to comply with the high-quality standards of agencies and customers.


  • Developed the brand concept for an upcycled fashion store, including the brand voice, marketing strategy, and design for marketing collateral.
  • Assisted in evaluating advertising campaigns and marketing strategies by providing insightful feedback to creative directors and marketing teams.

Work History

Freelance Photographer

January 2016–April 2020

Project Manager

A&G Agency, Sacramento, CA

March 2020–present

Marketing Associate

Lemon Fairytale, Sacramento, CA

January 2017–February 2020


Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography 

Sonoma State University, CA

September 2012–June 2016

GPA: 3.8


  • Project Management Professional, PMP Institute, January 2020
  • Business Marketing Certificate, Santa Rosa Junior College, September 2016–May 2017


  • Verbal and written communication
  • Leadership skills
  • Time management
  • Creative thinking
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • JIRA


  • Shooting street photography and presenting it on a personal Instagram account

Now, let’s uncover the intricacies of functional resumes:

What Is a Functional Resume?

Functional resume, also called skill-based, is a resume format that emphasizes professional skills instead of work history. You can benefit from using this format if you have gaps in your career or you’re switching professions, but you must follow certain rules to ensure your resume is ATS friendly.

Each functional resume template includes a skill summary—that’s why it’s also called the skill-based format. It’s the most important section of this resume format, as it highlights the key skills of the candidate. 

When to Use a Functional Resume?

Many hiring managers and recruiters discourage job applicants from using the functional resume format. These are facts—most hiring specialists prefer the classic reverse-chronological resume style. But does that mean you can’t use it?

Of course not!

The functional resume template is a good idea if you’re in one of these situations:

  • Gaps in work history: by emphasizing skills, you can take the attention away from the dates in your work history.
  • Career change: you can convince employers you’ve got what it takes to be successful at the new profession by highlighting the skills needed for the job.
  • Many freelance gigs: showing the skills you’ve mastered while being a part of the gig economy and backing them up with specific examples is more efficient than giving a long list of jobs.
  • Military transition resume: this format can help you show the skills you gained while in the military and prove they can translate well to civilian professions.

The functional resume format can be a great choice—but only if you know how to use it to your advantage.

Pros and Cons of Functional Resumes


  • Gives spotlight to the skills
  • Stands out from standard resumes
  • Great option for creative professionals, military-to-civilian individuals, career changers, and individuals with gaps in work history


  • Disliked by recruiters who prefer focusing on candidate’s work history
  • Might get rejected by ATS systems

So, the choice is yours. Before deciding if you should use the functional resume template, carefully consider factors such as your career progression, work experience, and the type of job you’re applying for. Once you conclude that the functional resume is the way to go—move on to the next chapter and learn how to write one.

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How to Write a Functional Resume?

Pull up your sleeves and get ready to do some work. Soon, you’ll have a picture-perfect functional resume ready to send out.

Follow these steps to create your functional resume template in no time:

1. Create the Layout of Your Functional Resume

A good functional resume format must match specific guidelines. Since not all recruiters feel excited to see this type of resume, you must strive to win their approval by making your application super professional. And a great resume layout is a good starting point.

Here’s how to make a good functional resume layout:

If you want to save time, you can try adapting free resume templates for Word or Google Docs resume templates

What about the resume sections you should use? The resume must include the header, follow with a summary, and then move on to the skills summary, education, work history, and optional additional sections.

2. Start with the Header

The point of a resume header is to serve all the contact information straight away. Do it right, and you’ll show the hiring manager that you respect their time and work.

Include these in the header part of your functional resume:

  • Name and surname
  • Job title or information about your education level
  • Professional email address
  • Phone number
  • LinkedIn address
  • Work-related social media or portfolio links

You can make this section more eye-catching using various resume icons or add a dash of color to your name to make it pop.

Make sure you’ve maximized the potential of your LinkedIn profile before adding the link to your resume. If you haven’t—use LinkedIn profile tips to improve it.

3. Write an Eye-Catching Profile

Your resume profile should summarize the whole document and spark the interest of the reader. It should be short and to the point. Depending on your career, you can write a career objective (recommended for entry-level candidates or those changing careers) or a resume summary (best for experienced professionals).

Here’s the not-so-secret formula for writing a great resume profile:

  1. Choose a personality trait that tells you’re a professional, such as “meticulous,”“motivated,” or “goal-oriented.”
  2. Add your job title or your highest qualification.
  3. Mention info about your specialization or field of study.
  4. Specify how your skills can benefit the company.
  5. Throw a relevant achievement from your career or other activities.

Don’t write an essay—the profile should be just 3–4 sentences tops—and void using personal pronouns such as “I” and “my”.

4. Make a Great Skills Summary in a Functional Resume

Now, focus. This is the most important section of a functional resume. That’s why this format is also called a skill-based resume. 

The skills summary must highlight the most relevant abilities needed for the job you want. When picking the skills you want to describe, carefully scan the job advertisement and look at the requirements. Notice what are the essential qualifications for the job, and make sure your skill summary matches the job description.

For example, if the job ad calls for the ability to manage conflicts, critical-thinking skills, and conceptual skills, your skills summary must focus on these elements. Provide examples of situations from previous jobs that demonstrate you’ve mastered these abilities.

Here’s how to make the skills summary section in a functional resume template:

  • Select 3–4 key skills that match the job requirements.
  • Think of situations where you used these skills in previous jobs, freelance gigs, or non-work experiences such as volunteering or in an educational setting.
  • Describe 3–4 personal achievements related to each skill using action verbs and factual information based on numbers and percentages.

This also means that every job you’re applying for needs a new resume with a targeted skills summary section!

5. List Your Work History

Yes, your work experience should still appear on your resume. But the good news is that you can shorten it to the minimum. It’s perfectly fine to just add the job titles, names of companies, and work period. So making this section shouldn’t take a lot of time!

6. Mention Education on the Functional Resume

Since education is the gateway to many jobs, it must appear on your resume.

List your highest qualification, such as a college degree, and follow with the name of the institution, years of study, and optional information such as GPA, academic honors, relevant coursework, etc. 

The less work experience you have, the more info you can add to the education section on a resume. So, if you’re writing a student resume, for example, feel free to expand this section.

7. Put Additional Skills on Your Resume

I’m sure the skills summary didn’t list all the abilities you’ve got. So feel free to add a list of the best resume skills that are relevant to the job, such as interpersonal skills, computer skills, language proficiency, etc. They can boost your chances of getting that dream job.

8. Add Extra Sections to the Functional Resume

Still got space on your functional resume template? Then fill it with additional sections. They can come to your advantage, especially if you’re writing an entry-level resume.

Choose from:

Once you complete all the sections, make sure to proofread your document before sending it to an employer. Studies show that even a few errors can negatively impact the candidate's perception. You don’t want silly typos to make you look unprofessional!

Even the best resume may not succeed if you skip the cover letter. Not sure how to make one? Then learn to write a cover letter asap!

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Key Points

Here’s a reminder of the main points of this article:

  • Functional resume format puts emphasis on the candidate’s skills instead of work history.
  • Functional resumes are a good option for candidates with non-standard work experience, such as freelancers, creative professionals, individuals leaving the military, and career changers.
  • Good functional resume templates include the following sections: header, skills summary, profile, work history, education, additional skills, and optional extra resume sections.

Do you have any questions about how to make a functional resume? Or maybe you’d like to share your advice on when you should write a functional resume? Give me a shout-out in the comments below. I’m always happy to help!

About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

Roma Kończak, CPRW

Roma is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and career expert with international work experience and a background in education and humanities. She has spent considerable time assisting individuals in advancing their careers by helping them improve their communication skills in diverse cultural and professional settings. She has written over 50 articles on effective approaches to resume writing and career advice.

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