How To Write A Skills-Based Resume (With Example Resume)

Updated 27 July 2023

A skills-based resume can be a great option for job candidates who have little professional experience in their chosen field. This style of resume can help you emphasise your strongest and most relevant skills to a hiring manager even if you are a fresh graduate, changing careers or have gaps in your employment history. Learning about skills-based resumes and how to write them can help you prepare an effective application.

In this article, we explain what a skills-based resume is, outline the steps for how to write a skills-based resume and provide a template and example to help you write your own.

What Is A Skills-Based Resume?

A skills-based resume, also known as a functional resume, is a style of resume that emphasises your professional skills rather than your work or education history. With this style of resume, the writer lists their skills as section headings and provides details about how they acquired and applied each skill in their past roles. This resume style is common for professionals who have recently graduated, are looking to change careers or have an inconsistent work history.

How To Write A Skills-Based Resume

Use these steps for how to write a skills-based resume to prepare an effective application:

1. Consider when to use a skills-based resume

The first step to writing a skills-based resume is to consider whether using one is right for you. Understanding when to use a skills-based resume can help you consider the benefits of using this resume style over a traditional chronological resume format. In particular, here are some common reasons to use a skills-based resume:

  • You are changing your career or the industry in which you work and have little to no experience in the new field.

  • You have gaps in your work history that exceed several months or a year.

  • You have recently graduated from secondary school or college and have little work experience.

  • You have only held short-term jobs or internships rather than extended periods of experience in one position.

  • You have several previous work positions that are similar.

  • You have held the same position for several years.

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2. Read all job listings carefully

After determining what style of resume best suits your application, read the job listings carefully for each position to which you want to apply. Hiring managers describe their expectations for their ideal job candidate in the job listing. Reading the listing can help you gain insight into what skills and qualities the hiring manager expects. When you know what skills the hiring manager wants in their ideal candidate, you can write a resume that aligns your abilities and credentials with the needs of the position.

3. Outline and format the document

Take time to outline your resume before you start writing. Having an outline ensures you include all the required details while also providing you with an organisational structure. Outlining can also make the process of writing your resume more efficient because it helps you decide what details to place where before you start writing. When outlining a skills-based resume, it is typical to put your skills section under your education section with the work history section at the end of the resume. This structure helps you emphasise your skills.

In addition to outlining your resume, also consider your formatting. Use clear section headings to make the document easy to navigate. Consider using bold and italic styling for your section headings so they are easy to identify at a glance. Be consistent in your formatting throughout the document to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail.

4. Add your contact details

Make sure to include your contact information near the top of your resume. In the header, write your first and last name, phone number, email address and city of residence. These details make it easy for the hiring manager to contact you with questions or when scheduling an interview. When you make your contact information easy to find, the reader may be more likely to follow up with you.

Related: How To Write Resume Headers: A Step-By-Step Guide

5. Write a professional summary

A professional summary is a brief statement that allows you to introduce yourself to the reader. This summary is typically one to three sentences long and contains information about your level of field experience and the key skills you want to bring to your new role. In a skills-based resume, you can use this section to explain whether you are new to your field, a recent graduate, looking to change careers or you have gaps in your employment history. In addition to describing your current level of experience, address a few of your key skills.

Related: How To Write A Profile Summary For Freshers (With Examples)

6. Document your education

Make sure to include an education section on your resume. If you are a recent graduate, list this section under your professional summary. This section shows that you have the right educational credentials to qualify for your role. You can also add details about any professional certifications or licences you have in this section. Listing your credentials near the top of your resume shows the hiring manager that you have the necessary education, licensing and certifications to qualify for a position.

Related: How To List Education On Your Resume (With Examples)

7. List your skills

In a skills-based resume, your skills section is likely to be longer and more detailed than the skills section of a chronological resume. When structuring your skills section, choose three to five skills and list them as subheadings. Under each subheading, provide a list of bullet points explaining how you have applied that skill in other professional settings or what accomplishments you have earned with that skill. For example, if you list leadership as one of your key skills and use your bullet points to give an example of times when you led a team to success.

Related: 10 Best Skills To Include On A Resume (With Examples)

8. Detail your professional history

Use the last section of your resume to summarise your professional history. If you have little or no professional experience, you can use this section to describe any volunteer opportunities or extracurricular activities in which you participated. For each entry, include your official position title and dates of employment or participation, along with the name of the organisation and its location. Also, list a few bullet points outlining your key duties in the role.

Related: How To Write Experience In A Resume (With Examples)

Skills-Based Resume Template

Here is a resume template to help you with your formatting:

[Full Name]
[Phone number] | [Professional email address] | [City]

Professional Summary

[Brief summary that mentions your core competencies, work experience and career achievements]


[Degree earned]
[Institution name], [Graduation year if you graduated within the past three years]


  • [Certification Name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]

  • [Certification Name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]


[Skill 1]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

[Skill 2]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

[Skill 3]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

  • [Achievement or duty that demonstrates the skill]

Work Experience

[Job Title], [Start date–End date]
[Company Name], [Location]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

[Job Title], [Start date–End date]
[Company Name], [Location]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

[Job Title], [Start date–End date]
[Company Name], [Location]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

  • [Strong verb] + [job duty] + [impact]

Skills-Based Resume Example

Here is a sample resume to help you prepare your own:

Mahi Leghari +91 385 472 0243 | | Mumbai

Professional Summary

Fresh graduate seeking part-time or freelance journalism opportunities. Looking to apply knowledge of professional communication and writing best practices in a professional role.


Bachelor of Arts in professional writing
Mumbai College of Arts and Communication, 2022


Written communication

  • Ran campus newspaper as editor-in-chief since 2020

  • Operate personal blog that has over 3k subscribers

  • Won campus award for excellence in written communication in 2021


  • Led team of 15 student journalists and editors to produce campus newspaper

  • Managed newspaper team budget and applied for additional funding to expand paper

  • Expanded newspaper team from seven members to 15 during two years in lead editor position

Time management

  • Proven ability to meet and manage multiple deadlines

  • Consistently met all expected deadlines for submitting assignments and balancing extracurricular obligations

  • Capable of adapting to changing deadlines as needed

Volunteer Experience

*Editor, September 2020–June 2022
Mumbai College Student Newspaper, Mumbai*

  • Oversaw fully student-led newspaper that reported on campus events and activities

  • Wrote and edited articles weekly and ensured written content complied with paper style guide

  • Collaborated with team of journalists and editors to plan, research, write, revise and publish articles

  • Managed newspaper budget and raised funds to support its operations

  • Hired and trained student reporters and editors

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