The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Functional CV

Professionals can use a curriculum vitae (CV) or a variety of resume formats when applying for new positions. The type of CV an individual chooses can help them highlight certain skills, qualifications or experience. Learning more about functional CVs can help you decide if they may be a useful tool in your job search. In this article, we discuss the definition of a functional CV, review how to write one in six steps and provide a template and example to help you create your own.

What is a functional CV?

A functional CV, also called a skills-based CV, is a document that highlights the skills you’ve learned during your career over your work experience. In contrast to a functional resume, a functional CV provides more comprehensive details about your skills, qualifications and skill-based accomplishments. Many professionals use this type of CV if they’re recent college graduates, entering a new career field or have minimal professional experience. It enables candidates to highlight their skills and competencies and place less focus on their employment history.

How to write a functional CV

Consider these six steps to help you create a functional CV:

1. List your personal information

Begin by listing your personal information in the header of your CV. This can help potential employers immediately identify whose CV they’re reviewing and contact you for interviews or job opportunities. Essential contact information includes:

  • Your first and last name
  • Your location
  • Phone number
  • Email address

2. Begin with a personal statement

Create a personal statement, or CV profile, that concisely introduces your resume by highlighting your top skills and abilities. This section is generally around three to four sentences and can quickly educate employers about your qualifications. You might also add key accomplishments you’ve made in your previous positions to help hiring managers understand more about your competencies.

3. Detail your skills

The next section of your CV details your skills that relate to the position. Review the job description to identify key skills or training the employer requires and customize which skills you list to establish your qualifications. Consider grouping your skills in related sets, such as interpersonal skills or technical qualifications, to improve the readability of your CV. Below each skill, include one to three bullets that demonstrate how you’ve used the skill in your previous experience. Common skills you may consider adding to this section include:

  • Leadership skills
  • Organization
  • Technology skills
  • Project management
  • Research
  • Communication skills
  • Time management

4. Add your educational information

First, list your most recent degree or diploma, including the name of the degree, the name of the institution and your date of graduation. If you’ve received advanced education, list your degrees in reverse-chronological order. Educational information can help employers understand more about your technical skills and knowledge. Review the job description to learn the education specifications for candidates.

5. Describe your professional experience

Adding a section about your work experience gives employers information about your professional history. This can be a simple listing, or you may choose to add details about duties you’ve performed, as this can highlight your accomplishments or qualifications. It’s a good idea to add any other experience, such as volunteer work or internships, that relate to the position for which you’re applying. For each entry of work experience include:

  • Company name
  • Company location
  • Job title
  • Employment dates

6. Include additional relevant information

Because a CV is a comprehensive professional document, you may want to incorporate additional information to explain your abilities and experience. Limit your sections to relevant content and valuable transferable skills. Additional subjects may include:

  • Awards and honors
  • Professional affiliations or memberships
  • Accomplishments
  • Publications
  • Certifications
  • Licenses

Functional CV template

Review this template to help create your own functional CV:

[First and last name]
[City, state]
[Phone number]
[Email address]

CV profile
[A brief summary of your top skills, experience and qualifications]


  • Achievement or job responsibility that explains how you’ve used this skill


  • Achievement or job responsibility that explains how you’ve used this skill


  • Achievement or job responsibility that explains how you’ve used this skill

[Degree received]
[College name], [dates attended]

Professional experience
[Job title]
[Company name], [city and state], [employment dates]
[Job title]
[Company name], [city and state], [employment dates]
[Job title]
[Company name], [city and state], [employment dates]


  • Award


  • Certification

Tips for writing a functional CV

Review these tips to help you create a comprehensive CV:

Proofread your document: Reviewing your CV before submitting it can help you identify any spelling or grammatical errors. This can improve the professional appearance of your CV and impart a positive impression on hiring managers.

Use keywords: Incorporating keywords from the job description can help you show potential employers you have the skills and qualifications they want in an ideal candidate. This can also improve your CV’s compatibility with applicant tracking software.

Use active verbs: Describe your skills, accomplishments and qualifications using action verbs. This demonstrates professional engagement in your experience.