Easy Steps for a Functional Resume

A FUNCTIONAL RESUME can be used if you are

    1) a recent graduate with limited employment experience,
    2) someone changing career fields,
    3) a person with a varied work history that includes many types of jobs,
    4) a worker who has large gaps in employment,
    5) older workers with a lot of experience, or
    6) a person applying for administrative positions who needs to highlight transferable skills.

  • One page should be sufficient for most functional resumes.
  • Use standard fonts like Calibri, Cambria, Tahoma, or Verdana in font size 11 or 12 for body text.
  • Use at least a 5-inch margin on all sides. 
  • Make your name stand out in the heading by using a larger font.
  • Use the same heading on the cover letter, resume, and references.

Street Address, City, State Zip Code
                          (000) 000-0000             email@example.com                         
LinkedIn (Hyperlink this phrase to your own LI profile.) 

    Your PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS section (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 experiences or characteristics that set me apart from other candidates.

For help in creating this section, see "Begin Your Resume With Professional Qualifications."


    Name of College/University/Trade School        City, State                        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 List, and GPA if 3.5 +


    List a skill heading relevant to the position you are applying for. See "Skill Headings and Statements for Your Functional Resume."

  • Create 3-4 bulleted statements beneath that skill heading which demonstrate that you have that skill.
  • Begin each bulleted statement with an action verb or strong adjective. See 185 Power Action Verbs That Will Make Your Resume Awesome!
  • Be sure to use past tense for your past jobs and accomplishments (e.g., managed, performed, sold).
  • Use keywords from the job description if possible.  

    List another skill heading and repeat this process to show each of the professional skills you have that relate to the position you are applying for.


    List your work experience after the SKILLS section. Include the name of the organization, your job title, and the location. Dates of employment are optional; do not list dates if the job was more than 15 years back.

ABC Company                                       Department Manager                             City, State

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

5. Optional Sections


          List licenses or certifications followed by the name of the sponsoring organization or governing body.  

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


          This section can be useful for those with little professional experience or career changers who have gained transferable job skills.

         List only volunteer experience that relates to the target job. Depending on the length of your resume, you can simply list your titles
    and the organizations, or you can describe your skills and achievements as in the SKILLS section.

           Blood Services Team Member, American Red Cross                   City, State                     00/0000–00/000


         List specific additional awards or achievements that would be valued by the employer.


          List additional relevant coursework required for the target position that is distinct from your education section.

Emergency Management Institute                                                             0000

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 electronically. 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 22 May 2024

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Article ID: 114513
Fri 8/21/20 3:27 PM
Wed 6/5/24 3:50 PM

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