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What Is a Functional Summary on a Resume?

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People who feel their job history is sketchy often create a functional resume, which focuses on skills and achievements rather than a listing of prior work experience. Employers have a tendency to ignore these resumes because the lack of work experience is highlighted. A functional summary on a chronological resume is a good compromise.


A functional summary is placed at the top of a chronological resume to grab the employer's attention by showcasing your achievements and talents.

Applicants who Benefit

This type of resume is great for people graduating from high school, technical school or college, who have only held part-time or temporary jobs. It's also perfect for anyone who's been out of the work force awhile.


The functional summary is a brief paragraph or short set of bullet points highlighting your strongest qualities that match the requirements of the position.

Work Highlights

A functional summary for a graduating college student who has worked summers doing data entry, for instance, could highlight consistent accuracy and a willingness to work overtime when necessary.

Education Highlights

The summary then could include mentions of school achievements that are relevant to the position, such as awards, grade point in the major and extracurricular activities.


Shelley Moore is a journalist and award-winning short-story writer. She specializes in writing about personal development, health, careers and personal finance. Moore has been published in "Family Circle" magazine and the "Milwaukee Sentinel" newspaper, along with numerous other national and regional magazines, daily and weekly newspapers and corporate publications. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology.