Easy Steps for a Functional Resume

  • A FUNCTIONAL RESUME can be used if you are a recent graduate with limited employment experience, someone changing career fields, or have gaps in employment.

  • One page should be sufficient for most functional resumes.

  • Use standard fonts like Arial, Calibri, Cambria, Tahoma, or Verdana in font size 11 or 12 for body text.

  • Use at least a 5-inch margin on all sides. 

  • Use the same heading on the cover letter, resume, and references.

  • Make your name stand out in the heading by using a larger font.

Street Address, City, State Zip Code
(000) 000-0000
email@example.com                          LinkedIn Profile/Custom URL


Your professional qualifications (also called key qualifications, qualifications summary, or core qualifications) is like a billboard for your greatest achievements and most relevant skills. Like all elements, it should be focused on the position you want and should explain in bulleted statements exactly what you have to offer and how your previous accomplishments will make you an asset. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What are my major accomplishments?

  • What skills do I possess that qualify me for the position and relate to the requirements in the job posting?

  • What are some of my characteristics that set me apart from other candidates?

See the article Begin Your Resume With Professional Qualifications.


Name of College/University/Trade School                          City, State                              00/0000 – 00/0000

Title of Degree

  • Include the information listed above. If you had a relevant major or a specific education track, you can list it here. Optional: Honors: Dean's List, President's and GPA if 3.5 +/


  • List a skill heading relevant to the position you are applying for.

    • Use bulleted statements to show accomplishments demonstrating you have that skill.

    • List one complete thought per bulleted statement.

    • Begin each bulleted statement with an action verb or strong adjective. See the article 185 Power Action Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome!

    • Use keywords from the job description if possible.  

  • List another skill and repeat this process to show each of the important professional skills that relate to the position


  • If you lack professional work experience, list other work experience here. Include the dates of employment, your role, and the name of the organization.

  • If you lack professional (paid) experience, but have relevant experience as a volunteer, use the Volunteer Experience section (see Optional Sections).

5. Optional Sections


Basic Life Support (BLS), American Heart Association                                                                                    Expires 00/0000

  • List licenses or certifications granted by a governing body. For instance, if you are required to be certified in Basic Life Support (BLS), list that certification here.


Blood Services Team Member, American Red Cross                                City, State                                        00/0000 – 00/0000

  • This section can be useful for those with little professional experience or career changers who have gained transferable job skills. Don’t list volunteer experience that doesn’t relate to the target job. Depending on the length of your resume and your goals you can simply list your titles and the organizations or can include duties/achievements in the Professional Skills section.


  • List specific additional awards or achievements that help you attain your career objective.


Emergency Management Institute                                                                               0000
Incident Command System (ICS-100)

  • Additional coursework required for the position or that the organization would find helpful and that is distinct from your education section.

Final Check!

  • Be sure to check for grammar and spelling errors before submission! Have a second pair of eyes review your documents.

  • Do not include tables, special characters, columns, or non-standard bullets when submitting via computer. These may confuse the applicant tracking system (ATS). 

  • Save your resume as a PDF or in plain text for electronic transmission.

  • Do not include references on a resume nor phrases like “References available upon request.” A separate reference sheet formatted like your other documents should be created in case an employer requests it.


Revised 13 December 2022

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Article ID: 114513
Fri 8/21/20 3:27 PM
Mon 12/18/23 5:06 PM

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