Why a “Functional Resume” Will Land you an Interview

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

April 09, 2017

Millennial Professional Pt. 1: Why a “Functional Resume” Will Land you an Interview

Let us introduce you to the three-part Millennial Professional series. In this series, we will cover the resume, interview, and interview follow-up portions of your job search. First, Why a “Functional Resume” Will Land you an Interview!

What exactly is a functional resume? How is it different?

Your traditional resume focuses on your work history in reverse chronological order. It works well for seasoned professionals, but what if you don’t have that “3 to 5 years of experience” that every job ad asks for? Ladies and gentlemen, the functional resume is your answer.

A functional resume highlights your experience and skills, rather than simply listing your work history. For anyone beginning their career, changing fields, or worrying about a resume gap, this is the format that will get you the interview.

The best part of this format? Anything applicable to the job is fair game. Your experience is so much more than your work history. The functional resume gives you the opportunity to organize what you love most about your experience. You get to create your own first impression. Not unlike your LinkedIn profile.

Also see: 5 Steps to Use LinkedIn Effectively

What information do I need?

The functional resume has five main sections:

  • Profile
  • Experience
  • Education
  • General information
  • References

Why is a profile better than an objective statement?

Traditional resumes use objective statements, but you want your resume to stand out from the crowd. A profile tells the employer about you and your experience rather than just what job you’re looking for.

Objective statement: A Technical Writer with editing, content writing, and template formatting experience seeking a writing position at XYZ Company.


Profile: Motivated Technical Writer with over two years of experience. Organized professional writing club at local university to mentor students navigating their job search. Created mail campaign for City International Festival to help raise sponsorship goal by ten thousand dollars.

Read more about the professional profile here.

What experience should I use?

Think of every professional accomplishment you’re proud of. Here are a few examples:

  • Volunteer work
  • Conference submissions
  • Training courses
  • College thesis
  • Blog work

These are just a few; anything goes. Again, your experience is much more than your work history. You can take anything off that list and showcase what you learned from it.

What does the education portion require?

The education section is so much more than listing your university. Your education section should include the following:

  • University name
  • Graduation date (or expected graduation date)
  • GPA (if it is a 3.0 or above)
  • Areas of study
  • Courses related to the job
  • Accomplishments
  • Extracurriculars

What should I keep in mind for general information?

Your general information (name, address, phone number, and email) serves one purpose: ensure the employer can contact you as easily as possible. Update all of your information! While you’re at it, make sure your email address is professional.

Should I add references, or should I write “references upon request”?

This is heavily debated. Some view adding your references to your resume as unnecessarily taking up valuable space. Hint: we are not in this group.

Others believe that having your references on your resume only helps you. Your potential employer can read your resume and immediately check your references. He or she may also appreciate that you have already chosen appropriate references for the job. You have nothing to lose!

How do I format a functional resume?

We have created a basic resume template with a guide to get you started. Subscribe to our community to receive the functional resume template, writing guide, and (as an added bonus) a cover letter template. You can click here to fill out the subscribe form, or you can locate it on this page (to the right or to the bottom, depending on desktop or mobile browsers).

You’ll have an interview in no time with the functional resume. You now have the power to tell an employer exactly what you want them to know, not just what you think should be on a resume. We would love to hear your resume tips and tricks!

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