What is a Skills-Based or Functional Resume?

Updated: January 24, 2023

So you need to build a resume and are getting confused about which type to select. It is true that there are so many formats prevalent in the job market that one becomes quite confused while settling for any format.

Skills-based resumes are very popular these days. Before opting for one, it is essential to understand its purpose and essence.

The general purpose of any resume is to portray your job-relevant capabilities and experience, but what if you don’t have any relevant experience to flaunt?

Well, that’s where a skills-based resume comes in!

What is a Skills-Based/Functional Resume?

A skills-based resume, as the name confirms, focuses on the candidate’s transferable skills. Unlike the reverse chronological formats, a functional or skills-based resume flaunts the candidate’s expertise and potential rather than relevant job history. If you like, you can add an experience section, but it must be limited to the name and duration of the position held, with the optional inclusion of dates.

When do you need a skills-based resume?

When to opt for a skill-based resume is another question of importance. Experts recommend a functional or skills-based resume under any of the following stances:

• Entry Level: If you are entering the job market as a student or recent graduate and have no experience other than perhaps an internship or some volunteer work

• Re-Entry in the Job Market: If you were inactive for an extended period and now intend to re-enter the job market, with considerable gaps in your chronological work history

• Career Switch: If you have the experience, but that is irrelevant to the new career being sought

• Seeking work after leaving the Military: If you have left the military and need to start some other job now

What are the transferable skills?

Transferrable skills refer to those skills that were attained in one profession or during training and can come in handy in the profession/position being sought. For example, if a person who worked as a waiter in KFC is seeking a salesman position at an automobile showroom, the person has a transferable customer services orientation and persuasive skills to mention on the skills-based resume.

The point is, not all your skills should be mentioned in your resume, only the transferable ones or the relevant ones need to be showcased. Skills in preparing sandwiches, for instance, have no place in a skills-based resume for a car salesmanship position.

What about all the irrelevant work history?

After writing a detailed skills section, experts suggest including a brief work history section, wherein responsibilities can be excluded altogether, just a mention of the name and place of the position held with dates is sufficient.

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