Skills Based CV Examples & Functional CV Template

A skills based CV, or functional CV, is designed to put the emphasis on your key skills rather than a conventional chronological work history. It’s best suited for candidates without much experience in an industry who are looking to make a career change.

 

The format can also work very well for military personnel transitioning to the civilian workforce. A skills-based/functional CV can be very effective if used properly, but it’s a tough format to get right. 

 

Even worse, recruiters tend to be very suspicious of them. The format doesn’t have the neatly laid out skimmable work history they crave, and it’s often used to hide gaps in a candidate’s employment history.

 

But we’re going to help you get those hiring managers onside. In this guide you’ll see how to create a skills based CV template that will win over even the most hardened sceptic. Let’s get started.

 

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Skills based CV example

 

Simon Caine

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: scaine_lc@gmail.com

 

Former lieutenant in the Royal Engineers with 10+ years of experience in military engineering and technical support. Seeking to make a transition to civil engineering projects specialising in transport and motorway applications. Skilled in adapting to local conditions and developing innovative solutions. Keen to assist Woods Corp as it continues its expansion in Central Asia.

 

Skills Summary

 

Resilience

  • Accustomed to field work in remote and unforgiving environments. Spent two years constructing transport infrastructure in hostile environments in the Middle East.
  • Able to adapt to local conditions and build relationships with local contacts to smooth construction process and source local materials at lowest cost possible.

 

Project Management

  • Managed projects with budgets ranging from £1m to £50m+
  • Completed 90%+ of projects within timescale with remainder being delayed only due to catastrophic intervention. All projects completed under budget.

 

Software

  • Advanced user of AutoCAD for creating sound structural designs.
  • Advanced user of STAAD PRO for carrying out modelling using various materials to discover optimum solutions to engineering problems.

 

Leadership

  • Led a troop of 30 engineers and technical staff, achieving peak performance at all times, even in the most challenging of circumstances.
  • Commended by superiors for leading others in an inspirational and compassionate manner that respected and made best use of the individual strengths of team members.

 

Work Experience

 

Lieutenant

The British Army, various postings including Iraq and Afghanistan

August 2010–Present

 

Education

 

BEng (Hons), September 2006–June2010

City University of London

 

Languages

 

  • Arabic—B2

 

Skills based CV vs traditional CV

 

For the majority of candidates, the preferred CV format to follow is chronological. That’s the traditional CV structure that puts the emphasis on your professional experience. Here’s who does benefit from using a skills based CV format though.

 

1. Career changers

 

Changing careers can be daunting. A lack of directly relevant experience can make writing a CV particularly challenging. But many candidates will have a wealth of transferable skills that more than make up for the lack of conventional experience. That’s where a skills based CV comes in. It leverages those skills to present the candidate as a solid prospect even without an applicable job history.

 

2. Military transitioners

 

Likewise, making the move from a military career to civilian employment is also notoriously difficult. Summarising your career in the forces into a standard chronological CV can be like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But the skills that are gained from military experience are incredibly valuable. Again, this is where a skills-based CV comes to the fore, by showing off those abilities effectively.

 

3. Freelancers and gig-based workers

 

Freelance and gig-based work has taken off in recent years but constantly moving from project to project can make it hard to fit your work history into a conventional CV. A skills-based CV, on the other hand, lets you focus on your core skills so it can work particularly well for candidates without a standard work history.

 

If you don’t fall into these categories, stick to a chronological CV. But if you do, then a skills based CV could work well. Now let’s learn how to write one.

 

A strong CV summary will convince the recruiter you’re the perfect candidate. Save time and choose a ready-made personal statement written by career experts and adjust it to your needs in the LiveCareer CV builder.

 

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How to write a skills based CV

 

1. Get your layout right

 

Before you start writing, make sure you’re all set up to create a clear and readable CV layout. Creating an effective layout supports the reading process and allows the reader to find information easily and quickly. Here’s what you need to do.

 

Get your word processor settings right. Set your line spacing to single or 1.15 and set up page margins of one inch on each side. Make sure that you double space between each CV section too.

 

Then choose a neat and professional-looking CV font set to 11–12 pts in size. Cambria, Helvetica and Georgia are all safe choices.

 

And make sure you adhere to the best CV length. Your CV shouldn’t be longer than two pages. Now we’re ready to write, we’ll give you a skills based CV template showing each section in the same order they appear on your CV.

 

2. Start with a CV header

 

Start off by including your personal details at the very top of the page. Include your full name in a font that’s 6–8 points larger than your body text, then write your email address, phone number, LinkedIn profile and social media handles if relevant. Don’t worry about including your home address, it’s not necessary.

 

CV header for a skills-based CV

 

Simon Caine

Ph: 0777 777 7777

Email: scaine_lc@gmail.com

 

3. Introduce yourself with a powerful personal statement

 

Your personal statement or CV summary is a 3–5 line paragraph that introduces you as a candidate. Aim to grab the hiring manager’s attention and encourage them to keep reading. Think of it as a way of establishing who you are, what you have to offer as an employee and what your career goals are. 

 

Before you start writing it, make a list of your professional skills and note your prior work experience. Then analyse the job description and note all of the skills and experience required for the role. 

 

Next, check to see which of your own skills and experience match up with the job you’re targeting. Use 3–4 of these points combined with energy and enthusiasm for the role to craft a compelling personal statement. 

 

Functional CV personal statement

 

Former lieutenant in the Royal Engineers with 10+ years of experience in military engineering and technical support. Seeking to make a transition to civil engineering projects specialising in transport and motorway applications. Skilled in adapting to local conditions and developing innovative solutions. Keen to assist Woods Corp as it continues its expansion in Central Asia.

 

You don’t have to be a CV writing expert. In the LiveCareer CV builder you’ll find ready-made content for every industry and position, which you can then add with a single click.

 

Create your CV nowcv builder

 

4. Write a tailored skills summary

 

For a chronological CV the most important section is your work history. For a skills-based or functional CV template it’s your skills summary. This section is where the format gets its name from and it has to be polished to perfection. Here’s how to go about it.

 

Create a master list of all the CV skills you have. Here’s a reminder of some of the main types of skills to help get you started.

 

  • Transferable skills
  • Soft skills
  • Hard skills
  • Communication skills
  • IT skills

 

Then go back to the job advert and make a note of all the skills it requires. Also research the role and note any general skills that would be applicable. Now select 3–5 of your own skills that match the job requirements and use those to write your job description.

 

Each skill should be used as a subheading, then under each subheading you should write 2–4 bullet points where you use your experience and achievements to demonstrate how you’ve mastered that skill. 

 

And much as you would with a CV work experience section, make sure you structure each bullet point to have maximum impact. Start each one off with a CV action verb to make it pop and structure them using accomplishment statements. It’s important not to just say what you did, but prove how well you did it.

 

Skills summary for a functional CV

 

Resilience

  • Accustomed to field work in remote and unforgiving environments. Spent two years constructing transport infrastructure in hostile environments in the Middle East.
  • Able to adapt to local conditions and build relationships with local contacts to smooth construction process and source local materials at lowest cost possible.

 

Project Management

  • Managed projects with budgets ranging from £1m to £50m+
  • Completed 90%+ of projects within timescale with remainder being delayed only due to catastrophic intervention. All projects completed under budget.

 

Software

  • Advanced user of AutoCAD for creating sound structural designs.
  • Advanced user of STAAD PRO for carrying out modelling using various materials to discover optimum solutions to engineering problems.

 

Leadership

  • Led a troop of 30 engineers and technical staff, achieving peak performance at all times, even in the most challenging of circumstances.
  • Commended by superiors for leading others in an inspirational and compassionate manner that respected and made best use of the individual strengths of team members.

 

5. Include your work history

 

Including your work history is still essential, even in a skills based CV. The difference is that this section will be much shorter than in standard chronological format. So include the same basic information about each role, your title, the name of the employer and the dates you worked there. And optionally, you can include up to two bullet points for each entry if your experience is particularly relevant.

 

Job description in a skills-based CV example

 

Work Experience

 

Lieutenant

The British Army, various postings including Iraq and Afghanistan

August 2010–Present

 

6. Add an education section

 

Often overlooked, but always necessary, it’s essential to include an education section in your skills-based CV. For university graduates include the name of the degree you attained, the university you attended and your dates of study. Include an expected graduation date if you’re still studying and only include honours if they’re a first or a 2:1.

 

For school-leavers include your A-levels, naming each subject studied, along with the name of the school and your dates of study. It isn’t necessary to include your grades unless the job advert says so, but do highlight them if they’re particularly good. A full set of top marks is impressive in anyone’s book.

 

For candidates who’ve just graduated or are still studying you can put your education section before your work experience and add some additional detail. This could include impressive academic achievements or specific modules that highlight relevant skills and experience.

 

Education in a functional CV template

 

BEng (Hons), September 2006–June2010

City University of London

 

7. Include additional sections

 

To give your skills based CV even more impact, make use of extra sections. They’re not essential, but including them helps you to stand out and strengthens your position as a quality candidate.

 

Good choices for additional sections include languages, hobbies and interests, awards and projects. If it adds to value to your application then it’s worth including.

 

Additional sections for a skill-based CV

 

Languages

 

  • Arabic—B2

 

8. Complement your CV with a cover letter

 

Even the best skills based CV example benefits from the addition of a cover letter to complement it. Your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to add in even more detail about your strengths as a potential employee. Here’s a brief summary of what to include in a cover letter.

 

Start by making sure your cover letter address is correctly formatted and throw in an impressive professional achievement into your cover letter opening. Then add more examples of your skills and achievements that match up with the job requirements. Next, explain why you want to work for this particular company and finish by including a call to action in your cover letter ending.

 

What else to remember about when writing a skills-based CV?

 

It’s worth repeating that a skills-based CV should only be used by a very limited number of candidates. Apart from being difficult to write, it can also be problematic for some older ATS software. That’s the automated system that scans your CV before it gets sent to a human recruiter. And if the ATS can’t read it, that means rejection. So we advise you to proceed with caution.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Just follow our wizard and fill in every CV section with ready-made content. Get started by choosing a professional CV template.

 

cv builder

 

The LiveCareer online CV maker lets you build a professional CV fast and download it as a PDF or DOC.

 

Create your CV now

 

Thanks for reading, if you’d like to know more about creating a functional CV template, let us know in the comments section, and we’ll be happy to help.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team

LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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