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How to Write a Functional Resume Format

The functional resume format details your employment history in terms of highlighting your skills, rather than previous employers.

A functional resume is used far less often than a chronological resume, which is the most common and traditional format (and the one preferred by most Hiring Mangers, myself included). The chronological format is the easiest to read, which explains its popularity.

As a Hiring Manager, I don’t particularly like the functional format for very experienced applicants. I’d rather see a chronological format so I can see what your most recent experience was.

However, there are some situations where a functional resume is best:

  • When you have a job history of a variety of unrelated jobs with many different employers. In this case, you need to focus on the common skills you’re gained.
  • If you are a new graduate (or teenager) seeking an entry-level position. In this situation, you need to highlight your experience and show how skills you’ve gained elsewhere in life (e.g. coursework or volunteer experience) can apply to the position you’re applying for. 
  • You want to emphasize skills not gained with recent employers.
  • Your career growth has not been progressive or continuous
  • You’re applying for jobs that are clerical in nature. For these types of positions, general skills such are phone, keyboard, filing, etc, are easier to demonstrate on a resume than are accomplishments.
  • You’re applying for a technical job in any industry where you must have very specific and well-defined skills and your employment history is of secondary importance.

Functional Resume Example

As I did with the chronological resume example, I won’t give you a bunch of generic, cookie-cutter resume examples. The Web is full of these, with no specifics about whether they actually were effective in getting interviews.

The example I’ll use is the resume I wrote for a friend’s daughter. This was a young lady who was looking for a receptionist/administrative assistant/front desk-type position. She was a high school graduate and her employment history consisted of several jobs with several employers, none of which lasted more than a year. 

This type of employment history, plus the nature of the job she was seeking, meant that a functional resume was best for her. We needed to highlight her considerable experience with traditional office duties, without dwelling on her spotty job history.

The resume below was quite effective in getting her interviews. She applied for nine job openings, received four job interviews and two job offers. I do not doubt that if she needs to look for a job again, this resume will be equally effective (assuming she’s seeking a similar type of job, of course!). I’ve deliberately made the contact and company information generic.

Susan Smith


123 Main Street

Anytown, CA 98011

Home Phone: (123) 456-7890  Cell: (123) 456-7890 cell      email:


High School graduate from ABC High School.  3.5 cumulative grade point average.



  • Handled national and international customer order calls in a high volume, multi-line call center, including extensive upselling. Won award for handling most call volume.
  • Handled and routed incoming domestic and international calls for ABC Company.
  • Handled all incoming calls for a busy (15 stylists) Hair Styling salon.
  • Completed two-week telephone order course at XYZ Company, followed by full time telephone order-taking
  • Handled phones for two busy Veterinarian offices that previously required two employees.


  • Order entry into “Great Plains” online order system.
  • Basic working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Outlook.
  • Handled a large variety of data entry tasks for an Internet start-up.
  • Typing speed of 60 – 70 words per minute.
  • 10 key experience and skills.

Cash Handling:

  • Handled cash, balancing, deposits, and closing for high-volume Veterinary offices.

Customer Service and People Skills:

  • Handled escalated and problem resolution calls, national and international.
  • Handled all front desk receptionist duties for various ABC Company buildings: incoming calls, greeting and routing visitors and customers, booking conference rooms, accepting and routing packages and incoming U.S. mail, reading and routing emails, ordering supplies.
  • Performed telephone order taking and sales at fast-paced XYZ Company call center.
  • Handled receptionist duties – phones, appointments, check patients in and out, filled prescriptions, for two different busy Veterinarian offices.

Work Experience

  • Customer Service Representative – ABC Company, 6/14 – 6/15
  • Administrative Assistant – XYZ Company, 3/13 to 4/14
  • Veterinary receptionist – Acme Cat Clinic, 2/12 to 01/13
  • Veterinary receptionist – All Pets Veterinary Hospital, 3/11 to 1/22
  • Receptionist and administrative support – Hair Styling Salon, 4/2010 – 2/2011

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