Functional Resume Format

A functional resume illustrates work experiences and abilities by skills areas in order to highlight strengths rather than specific positions or dates of employment.

Sample Resumes/Letters (PDF)

  Use a functional resume when:

  • Your work record does not justify a chronological resume
  • Much of your work has been volunteer, free-lance, consulting, or temporary
  • You have a variety of different, relatively disconnected work experiences
  • Your career growth has been stagnant or you've had an extended absence from the workplace
  • You are in the process of a career change
  • You need to emphasize skills not used in recent work experience

Do not use a functional resume when:

  • You can demonstrate career growth
  • Listing specific employers is important, as in highly traditional fields
  • Recent employers are highly prestigious

Content in a functional resume:

  • Contact Information: Name, address, phone, email
  • Career Objective: Must be clear and concise, or use a Functional Summary to summarize experience and skills in a few sentences
  • Functional Headings:
    • Four or five separate paragraphs
    • List in order of importance relative to objective
    • Stress your most significant abilities, skills, and accomplishments 
    • Use past-tense, action-oriented verbs
  • Employment History:
    • Brief synopsis of actual work experiences including employers, titles, and dates
    • If no or spotty work experience, leave this section out, but be ready to discuss it in the interview
  • Education:
    • If date of last attendance is three years or less, move this section to after the Contact Information
    • If more than three years, or unrelated field, include education after work experience
    • Indicate degree received, date, institution
    • Grade point average can be included if it is above a 3.0
  • References: Use Chronological Resume format guidelines