Directions for Functional Resume

This format organizes by skill set. Keep as close to one page as possible.

A functional resume enables you to highlight the skills, accomplishments, work and life experiences that best support your application objective (becoming a registered nurse). By creating relevant headings (skill sets), you can incorporate all the experiences (e.g., co-curricular activities, family, work history, job shadowing, volunteer work, education – life in general, etc.) that have contributed to each listed heading.

You are encouraged to seek out resources about writing functional resumes online, in our libraries, or in the Job Connections area of the Advising Centers at Fort Steilacoom or Puyallup campuses.


The Pierce College nursing program is founded on four principles: care, competence, compassion, cultural awareness and sensitivity. Please incorporate these principles in your resume to help us understand how they have been evident in your life experiences to date.

The basic presentation format is the same as the employer-based resume that most of us have. It starts with your personal information at the top and then your objective.  Some applicants add a short personal profile or overview after that, but this is not required.  The body of the resume uses skill sets instead of your employment history. 

Take inventory of the strengths, gifts and skills that you bring to nursing.  Take your time making a list of those and write out as many as you can think of.  You will most likely find that many have an underlying common theme.  Separate those groups out.  Pick a skill set heading that captures that common strength Then refine your list to a professional presentation and use bullet points to place them in context under the appropriate skill set heading. The skill set heading tells us what strength, gift, skill you have and the bullet point examples attach them to context – tell and then show.  Do not use this section to list your LPN scope of practice. Our faculty evaluators know what that is.  We are asking for what you - as a person - bring to the patients that you care for. You can of course use aspects of practice to help place things in context.  Have at least 4-5 skill set headings.

A few examples of skill set headings:  compassionate care, cultural competence, patient advocacy, critical thinking, patient care, leadership, professionalism, respecting differences, communication, empathy/Support, competency, team work, etc.

Be sure to choose headings that reflect who YOU are.

Then list your employment history – short and sweet.  Just the name of your employer, years employed and your job title.

A section for education.

And then, if applicable, another for any awards, certificates, volunteer involvement or specialized training. 

Please get in touch with me if you have further questions. 

Stania Kasjan, 253-840-8355,