What is a Skills-Based or Functional Resume? Complete Guide

Updated on: December 14, 2023

A skills-based or functional resume is a type of resume format that focuses on an individual’s skills and abilities rather than their work experience. Unlike a traditional chronological resume, which lists jobs and responsibilities in reverse chronological order, a skills-based resume highlights an individual’s skills and achievements upfront.

The purpose of a skills-based resume is to showcase a candidate’s transferable skills and strengths that are relevant to the job they are applying for, regardless of the order or time in which those skills were acquired. This format is particularly useful for individuals who are changing careers, have gaps in their employment history, or are entry-level job seekers with limited work experience.

Here is a breakdown of the key components of a skills-based resume:

How to Write a Skills-Based or Functional Resume?

Contact Information:

Include your name, phone number, email address, and optionally, a link to your professional portfolio or LinkedIn profile.

Professional Summary or Objective:

Begin your resume with a concise and compelling summary or objective statement. This section should provide a snapshot of your skills, qualifications, and career goals. Highlight your key strengths and indicate how they align with the job requirements.

Skills Summary:

This is the centerpiece of a skills-based resume. Create a dedicated section where you showcase your core competencies and relevant skills. Use bullet points to list your skills, ensuring that they are tailored to the job you are applying for. Be specific and provide examples of when and how you have applied these skills in previous roles or projects.


Include your educational background, such as degrees, certifications, or relevant training programs. If you are a recent graduate or have limited work experience, you can place this section before the skills summary to emphasize your educational achievements.

Work Experience (Optional):

Although skills-based resumes typically prioritize skills over work experience, you can still include a brief work history section. Focus on highlighting specific accomplishments, projects, or responsibilities that demonstrate your transferable skills. Include job titles, company names, dates of employment, and bullet points describing your achievements.

Additional Sections (Optional):

Depending on your background and the job you’re applying for, you may include additional sections to showcase relevant information. These could include volunteer work, internships, professional affiliations, publications, or relevant hobbies.


It is generally not necessary to provide references on your resume. Instead, state that references are available upon request. This will save space and allow you to provide references when requested at a later stage of the hiring process.

When crafting a skills-based resume, it’s important to tailor it to each specific job application. Carefully review the job description and identify the key skills and qualifications they are seeking. Then, align your skills summary and work experience sections accordingly to highlight your most relevant attributes.

Final Thought

A skills-based or functional resume is a versatile format that emphasizes an individual’s skills and competencies. By focusing on transferable skills rather than the order or duration of work experiences, this type of resume is particularly beneficial for individuals with limited work experience, career changers, or those with employment gaps. When executed effectively, a skills-based resume can highlight a candidate’s suitability for a particular job by showcasing their key strengths and abilities.

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