How to write a functional or skills-based CV (with an example)

How to write a functional or skills-based CV

Whether you have just entered the workforce or have been working professionally for years, your CV is one of the most important documents to advance your career. As the first introduction to your skills and personality, you want your CV to accurately reflect what you are capable of.

Chances are you've been told that a CV should show your work history in reverse chronological order. For someone who has followed a traditional path to advance their career, this may be the best way to describe your accomplishments and relevant skills.

However, a reverse chronological resume isn't for everyone. Sometimes a functional or skills-based CV makes more sense.

But what is a functional or skills-based CV and when should it be used? Let's describe when you might want to consider using this type of resume.

What is a functional or skills-based CV?

A functional CV, also called competency-based CV, describes your professional skills and accomplishments rather than your professional background. While you always include a brief overview of where you've worked and your job titles, the main points of your resume focus on your skills, not your work history.

There are a few different circumstances where a functional resume makes more sense than a traditional reverse chronological resume. Let's take a look at what a few of these can be.

When to use a functional or skills-based CV?

Not everyone should use a functional or skills-based resume. Because it's structured differently, it may not always be well received when applying for a new job.

However, depending on your situation, the position you are applying for, and your previous work experience, a functional resume may do a better job of showing your qualifications.

Here are some scenarios where you may want to use a functional or skills-based CV instead of a reverse chronological resume:

  • Looking to change careers. If you have spent the majority of your working years in an industry that has nothing to do with the one you are trying to enter, you may feel that your experience is wasted. However, a functional CV allows you to focus on what you have learned during this time and apply it to the new industry, proving that you are qualified for the transition.
  • You have mainly held short-term or temporary positions. One thing hiring managers will look for is a solid professional background. If you've spent most of your working years taking on temporary contracts or struggled to find the right “fit”, your resume may be littered with short-term positions. A skills-based resume allows you to focus everything you've learned from those jobs and present it in a less overwhelming format.
  • You have done a lot of volunteering. Many people underestimate the skills they can develop through volunteer work, especially if you are on a planning committee or team. If you've done significant volunteer work or held a leadership position in the community, you've probably learned more than a few skills that you'll want to feature on your resume. A functional CV gives you the opportunity to do this.
  • You took a long break from your work. Big gaps in a resume can be a potential red flag with hiring managers. Whether you've decided to take the time to start a family, help an aging member of your family, or just pursue your passion, you want to show that the time you've spent outside of the traditional workforce hasn't been. lost. Creating a skills-based CV allows you to focus these developments.
  • You are new to the job market. When you are about to start looking for your first real job, you may feel like you have no experience. However, when you are just starting out, sometimes you have to get creative about the actual experience you are having. Using a skills-based CV allows you to focus on the things you learned throughout school and how they relate to the job, even if you don't. ; have no real world experience.

A functional resume is great anytime you think your work experience isn't exactly what you're capable of. If you feel like describing your skills would give you an edge when applying to a company, consider creating a skills-based CV for your application.

How to Create a Skills-Based Resume

When creating a traditional reverse chronological resume, it's pretty straightforward to structure your worksheets. But when you create a resume based on your skills, you have a little more room to get creative.

Here is some important steps to follow to ensure that you are creating a competency-based CV that accurately describes your capabilities:

  1. Select the right skills. Whenever you decide to use a functional resume, you want to be sure that the skills you are presenting directly apply to the job you are applying for. Create a list of your skills and choose the right skills to present, moving the most important ones to the top of the page.
  2. Create statements of success. Much like a traditional CV, you'll want to include practical examples of how these skills are used. Describe your accomplishments, the results and how you used your skills to make those results happen.
  3. Have a mission statement. A mission statement is extremely important for a functional resume. Since the reason you are applying may not be immediately obvious, you want to let the hiring manager know what you are looking for. Including a mission statement in the resume summary at the top of the page can improve your chances of getting an interview.
  4. Don't forget your work history. Even if a functional resume doesn't focus on your work history, you still want to be sure to include it somewhere on the page. With a skills-based resume, a quick overview of your job titles, the position, and the time you've spent there is usually enough to help a hiring manager get a feel for it.
  5. Include your "extras". On a functional resume, you'll always want to include any awards, volunteer work, education, professional affiliations, certifications, or articles that you may have. Be sure to designate an area on your resume for any "extras" that show your qualifications, experience or abilities.

Just like with a reverse chronological resume, feel free to get a little creative in how you lay out your details. However, you still want to place the most important information near the top. Never assume that the hiring manager will read the entire page of your CV, so be sure to put all the information you want them to see as high as possible.

Skill-based resume example

Here is an example of a skills-based CV created using Resumonk's Bold template:

Functional or competency-based resume example

Here is the text version of the skill-based resume example above:


Jane C. Doe
123 Avenue Street, City, NY, 11111
Telephone: 555-123-4567
Email: (protected email)

Energetic person looking for a fulfilling job in sales and marketing. A passion for customer service, working with people and a proven track record of helping others make tough decisions.

Main strengths: leadership, communication, attention to detail, problem solving and team building.



  • Volunteer as the president of the local chapter of the XYZ organization. As president, I helped coordinate 123 events and oversaw a local 100-person organization. Successfully organized meetings, events and fundraisers to help with the organization / foundation.
  • Held a managerial position where I organized the schedules and daily activities for a team of ten other employees. Included being the primary source of assistance, as well as training and supervision.


  • As the chairman of the local chapter of the XYZ organization, I have sent correspondence to 1000 members around the world. Held weekly virtual meetings with other local presidents.


  • ABC Professional Organization Member
  • National Presidents Award recipient
  • Certified in ABC Professional Development for 2017


  • Project Manager, XXX Company, fall 2015-present
  • Supervisor, YYY Company, spring 2013-fall 2015
  • The cashier, Boutique ZZZ, winter 2012-spring 2013


  • Bachelor of Science, State University, 2012


Create your functional CV

Don't be too intimidated by creating your functional resume. While it might seem a bit unnatural to go against the traditional way of creating a CV, a functional CV can help you prove that you are qualified for the job. With the right information, you can land a job you never thought possible.

Consider the most important information a hiring manager might want to see when viewing your resume. Even if you don't have the direct work experience to show you have these skills, find another relevant skill or achievement that can prove you know how to do this type of job.

Remember that your functional CV should be tailored to the unique position you are applying for. Make sure to change, modify skills, and adjust your success points to reflect the things the company is looking for in the position they are trying to fill. Tailoring your message to the needs of the position and the hiring manager can increase your chances of getting the first interview.

If you don't have the professional qualifications to apply for a job that you think is great at, don't let that hold you back.

Create an awesome functional resume using Resumonk to get noticed, prove your credentials, and get the job.

Edited by Sarah Landrum

Sarah Landrum, Career Expert for Millennials, is a freelance writer and founder of Punched Clocks, a career and lifestyle blog for millennials looking for happiness and career success.

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