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The Functional Resume Format

When a Skills Resume Is a Better Choice

A functional resume format is often a better choice when you don't have the experience to back up your career choice. Use a skills resume to show off what you know and can do!

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This resume format is also known as a skills-based resume because it is a summary of your qualifications organized by education, experience, achievements, and skills, rather than by job. In fact, there is very little emphasis on employment history.

When the Functional Resume Format Works Best

Functional resume format emphasizes skills over work history

Many employers and recruiters may prefer the chronological resume format because it is so easy to read at a glance. But it won't serve you well in some situations. Here are some cases where a functional resume format is best:

  • When you're new to the workforce or coming back after a long absence

  • When you have large, or many, gaps in your work history

  • When you've worked for only 1 or 2 companies over many years

  • When you want to make a career change

  • When you've been in the workforce for many years, and you want to de-emphasize your age

  • You've worked at a number of different, unrelated jobs.

View a functional resume sample

Tips for Using the Functional Format

Highlight your most relevant assets for each job you're seeking up front in the resume, in their general order of importance. If you don't have much formal work experience, then list any skills or experience that can translate into such, including volunteer work and internships.

Be honest though; don't make stuff up. If you have large gaps in employment, you may want to just list your past employers, but leave out the dates. You can deal with any questions during the interview, or even in the cover letter.

When It Doesn't Work Well

Should you be using a skills resume?

If you know that in your career track, the chronological resume format is strongly preferred, you may have to go with the flow.

Or, you may decide to take a combination approach instead, which can combine the strengths of both the chronological and functional resume format styles.

By the Way: You don't need to know which resume format to use when you build your resume at PongoResume.com, because they decide what's best, given your situation... I highly recommend you check out this online resume builder, where you'll not only find templates, but also an easy-to-use interface that enables you to create and submit your resume AND a cover letter. They'll even let you try it for free too.

Learn More About Writing a Resume


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