What is a functional resume and why it can work for your job search


It’s 11:06 AM and you’re sitting at your laptop in your kitchen, applying for positions. As a job seeker who is returning to the workforce after a long hiatus spent traveling in Southeast Asia, you’re sure that your long list of career skills could get you a job almost anywhere. But how will you compensate for your employment gaps and lack of relevant experience?

For job seekers who are confident about their talents and expertise and want to capitalize on their high level of technical skill, a functional resume can be an excellent job search tool. What is a functional resume? A functional resume is a resume that is structured around your training, skills, and expertise, as opposed to the positions you have held. It can be useful for a range of
job seekers, including:

● Career-changers
● People with employment gaps
● People in creative or technical occupations
● People with specialized vocational training or experience
● People who don’t have much work experience
● People whose work history is not related to the job they seek

While most recruiters and interviewers prefer a chronological resume, or a resume which focuses on your job history, people who are confident about their skill set may want to consider using a functional resume to highlight their exceptional command of relevant skills. Especially if a job requires a brilliant command of specialized knowledge and expertise, a functional resume
can help you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate the depth and breadth of your talent.

However, because of its unpopularity, it should only be used by those who can’t create a chronological resume – or those who are so confident in their abilities that a functional resume will speak for itself. For the latter group of people, a combination resume might be the better bet.

A combination resume is a resume that lists functional skills and training first, and then chronicles your work history.

Read on for an example of a functional resume that sings with authority. As you play with formats and wording, keep in mind that the goal is to position yourself as a unicorn, a one-in-1K expert whose creative and masterful command of their craft would be an asset to any organization. Take your time, do plenty of revisions, and consider asking a colleague or resume
expert for feedback if you can.

Han-Lee Chang
476 San Jose Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 90775
(123) 456-7890


Highly-successful marketing professional with track record of high-impact campaigns Inventive, detail-oriented marketer with skills in content marketing, analytics, branding, sales and Internet advertising.

Key skills include:
Copywriting and editing
Certified in Google Analytics
Certified in online marketing
Certified in branding and UX



Led a marketing team of MBAs through a six-week rebranding process for a major Ohio-based manufacturer that resulted in a 3% increase in net revenue


Assessed sales and marketing analytics for a range of companies and successfully implemented changes in direction that resulted in increased advertising efficiency

Designed an interface for an up-and-coming New York-based author and indie publisher that became one of the most-visited sites in her field of interest

Created campaigns for e-commerce and tech companies that incorporated content, advertising and other strategies to significantly increase net revenue and number of leads

SUNY Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications, 2013