Lori Freitas Houghton

Lori Freitas Houghton

Experienced Recruiter and HR Partner

Frank Grossman

Frank Grossman

Resume Writer / Career Coach

Updated : 09/07/2021

Functional resume samples keep your resume format focused and effective. Use industry-specific functional resume samples for a better resume.

Table Of Contents

1. Quick Takes on the Functional Resume

✓ Functional Resume Format Key Points
It organizes your experience by skill sets or projects, rather than chronology. Most employers prefer chronological resumes, but the functional format can be helpful for special circumstances:
  • You have huge gaps in your work history that are difficult to explain.
  • You have almost no formal work experience.
  • You’re returning to one field after being in another field (or out of the workforce) for many years.
  • You’ve experienced multiple reversals or demotions in your career.
Functional resumes really showcase your competencies and achievements, despite an uneven work history. Use these functional resume samples as a guide for what to include, what to emphasize, and how to format your functional resume.

2. When to Use a Functional Resume

Functional resumes have a greater chance of success if it goes straight into someone’s hands with no automation. “The ATS [applicant tracking system] isn’t going to be able to digest a functional resume,” explains Resume Writer, Frank Grossman. Industries that are highly skill- and project -oriented are usually more tolerant of a functional resume style. Professionals who work purely on contract, gig economy jobs might also consider a functional resume (although projects could be grouped chronologically under one self-employed heading). Be sure to use an industry-appropriate functional resume sample as a guideline.
✓ Remember these Keys for Success

Emphasize your most impressive and relevant skills, projects, and achievements. This is your advertising tool.

Customize the placement of your skills and accomplishments to the specific job/company you’re pursuing.

Unless you’re having trouble filling a page, omit experience that isn’t as appealing or relevant for the potential employer.

Be specific, show evidence, and quantify. Load up your resume with numbers that prove your success.

Because a functional format is looser, it’s extra important to ensure it’s well-organized, appealing, and error-free.

3. Functional Resume Samples by Industry

Education Functional Resumes

Perhaps you’re a teacher, but you have alternated working in another profession and you have some years of unemployment. A functional resume can emphasize your specialties – the subjects you’ve taught, environment, grade-level, and technology you know. Try to emphasize your quantitative and qualitative achievements – in terms of learning outcomes, curriculum design, assessment scores, and/or completion rates. Toward the bottom, you could group other work experience together in another section (titled, “Other Work Experience,” for example). View an example of Education Functional Resumes.

Accounting and Finance Functional Resumes

Let’s suppose you have some strong accounting or finance skills, but a minimal or jagged work history. A functional resume could group your experience by specialty: auditing, forensic accounting, tax preparation, financial modeling, investment management, etc. Highlight your education and certifications, as well as your systems/technology skills. View an example of Accounting and Finance Functional Resumes.

Business Functional Resumes

Perhaps a chronological resume doesn’t fit well with your sporadic entrepreneurial history. Or you’ve had inconsistent employment in business. A functional business resume should show off your most impressive achievements and hottest skills. Emphasize keywords from job postings. Build interest to get an interview and then expand on your resume highlights. View an example of Business Functional Resumes.

Computers and Technology Functional Resumes

If you’re a programmer or IT contractor and you’ve always worked on short-term jobs, you might consider combining all these projects under an umbrella of “consulting” in a chronological resume style. But if that’s not feasible, load up your functional resume with your relevant skills and projects. In this field, they want details on the depth and breadth of your technological competencies. And you should still include dates. “They want to know the recency of your experience,” says Grossman. View an example of Computers and Technology Functional Resumes.

Engineering Functional Resumes

Naturally, a stable work history is important, but the engineering field is also a meritocracy. They care about your skills and what you can do. If you’re in a field where patents, for example, are important, this format could help you show off those patents. Remember that engineers want strong specifics. Detail the relevant technologies, mechanics, substances, and components on your resume. View an example of Engineering Functional Resumes.

Marketing Functional Resumes

If you have created some incredible marketing campaigns, but your work history is a trainwreck, you may want to take advantage of this format. Show off the power of high-impact visual design in your resume. Make sure your messaging is on target for your customer segment (your hiring managers). Include quantifiable achievements as often as you can, so your numbers show you can do the job. View an example of Marketing Functional Resumes.

Management Functional Resumes

For a Management functional resume, organize your information around your experience managing people. Include team sizes and functions you’ve managed. Outline your leadership strengths. Describe how you’ve hired, onboarded, trained, developed, and managed performance. Show evidence that you’ve been effective, based on team performance and/or individual progression. View an example of Management Functional Resumes.

Science Functional Resumes

Science is a broad field, but perhaps your achievements are more impressive than your work history. In this resume format, you should load the initial sections with intriguing data and information for your scientific audience. Perhaps your publications are extensive, but your employment is just beginning. Emphasize what is more impressive about your abilities and accomplishments. View an example of Science Functional Resumes.

Law Functional Resumes

Law resumes tend to be exclusively concerned with relevant work. So a functional resume could be organized with different sections for publications, projects, research, and pro bono work. You might also highlight any language skills and technology skills. View an example of Law Functional Resumes.

Hotel and Hospitality Functional Resumes

Hiring managers in the Hotel and Hospitality industry don’t usually look at resumes with as critical of an eye as some other industries. If you’re applying to a smaller establishment (rather than a global brand with automated HR systems), you often don’t need to worry about fitting the requirements of an ATS. Highlight your most important skills and experience and keep it simple. View an example of Hotel and Hospitality Functional Resumes.

Sales Functional Resumes

A Sales resume is all about the numbers and awards/achievements. This is still true in a functional format. Show how you’ve grown sales and revenues. Highlight awards. Cite customer retention rates if favorable and any management experience. Your results are everything in Sales. View an example of Sales Functional Resumes.

Retail Functional Resumes

Like Sales, Retail is a numbers-focused industry. Your functional resume should quantify like crazy: revenue or sales growth, customer conversion and retention rates, inventory turnover, profitability. Give your potential employer relevant details like the average transaction value, account size, and/or number of SKUs you managed. View an example of Retail Functional Resumes.

Healthcare and Medical Functional Resumes

Perhaps you’ve been out of the workforce for a while or maybe you’re just starting out. Focus your functional resume on up-to-date certifications, licenses, and/or education. Describe the scope and levels of responsibility you’ve had. Outline your skills in specific procedures or specializations. View an example of Healthcare and Medical Functional Resumes.

Restaurant and Food Service Functional Resumes

Restaurant and Food Service resumes tend to be uncomplicated. Keep it clean and simple. Describe your skills, outline any certifications, and highlight any awards. A smaller establishment will receive a functional resume more favorably than a big chain, whose tech systems are set-up for chronological formats. View an example of Restaurant and Food Service Functional Resumes.

Administrative Support Functional Resumes

Administrative support resumes should be straightforward. If you have a stable work history, use a chronological style. But if you have big gaps, you could focus on your skills in a functional format. How fast do you type? What software and platforms do you know? Have you been entrusted with confidential information? Include any relevant certifications or training. View an example of Administrative Support Functional Resumes.

Emergency Services Functional Resumes

Because Emergency Services employers are often government entities or healthcare companies, a chronological resume is highly advised, even with gaps in your work history. These employers don’t appreciate a “creative” approach. But if you go the functional route, include lots of details showing you’re current in relevant skills and certifications. View an example of Emergency Services Functional Resumes.

About the Author

Lori Freitas Houghton

Lori Freitas Houghton

Experienced Recruiter and HR Partner

In her 15+ years in human resources, Lori Freitas Houghton has worked on both sides of the hiring equation. She’s experienced as a recruiter and partner with hiring managers. She is also a proven career coach with a high success rate at helping job candidates create breakthrough resumes that gain them interviews. With a BA in English and a Master of Organizational Behavior (MBA) degree, Lori also has considerable experience writing and editing HR content.

Frank Grossman

Frank Grossman

Resume Writer / Career Coach

Frank Grossman is a professional resume writer, Certified Career Management Coach, and Nationally Certified Online Profile Expert with more than 20 years of experience in career advisement and workforce development programs. Grossman owns www.ResumesThatShine.com where he provides one-on-one resume and LI profile development services to private clients.

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