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How to Write Your Skills Section on a Resume?

WHY should you include a skills section on a resume?

Your skills section is the part of your resume where you list and specify your skills as they relate to a specific job position. The role and the content of your skills section will depend heavily on the style of your resume.

  • Chronological resume: This resume type revolves heavily around the list of your previous experiences. For this reason, the skills section can remain relatively compact.
  • Functional resume: The skills section is central to this type of a resume. It is clearly structured into subsections and fulfils many of the tasks that usually belong to the employment history. This type of a resume is particularly suited for people who have many relevant skills but lack experience in their desired field.

WHAT is a skill?

Is “strong work ethic” a skill or a personality trait? Understanding the difference is crucial when you want your skills on a resume stand out.

  • Skill is the ability to do something that requires training, experience, or practice. Skills can be taught and they can be forgotten, such as: HTML, copywriting, contract negotiations, public speaking, etc.
  • Trait is something you were born with, a quality that makes you different from other people. For instance: hardworking, sociable, motivated, etc.

Now, remember. Only put your hard skills on your resume. Your personality traits (or transferable skills) can usually be obvious from the things you’ve accomplished.

HOW to write my skills section on a resume?

Listing your skills on a chronological resume is easy — simply list the relevant abilities that didn’t get into your employment history section. Always try to be specific.

When it comes to a functional resume, however, things can get a bit more complicated. Follow these steps to write a strong skills section on a resume.

  1. Stay relevant. Every part of your resume has to be custom-tailored to the specific needs of each job position. Carefully reread the job description and decide which skills are absolutely necessary for the job.
  2. Make a list of your strongest skills. Take a moment to think about the skills you have acquired over the years. Compare this list against the skills necessary for the job and see where they intersect.
  3. Divide your skills into subsections. Pick 4-5 skills or skill categories to serve as subheadings. This is to make your skills section look nice and organised.
  4. Show, don’t tell. If you claim to have a certain skill, support it with specific examples. For example, if you’ve negotiated several important business deals, don’t just write “Strong negotiation skills.” Provide specific examples.
  5. Organise your bullets. If your skills section is longer than 2-3 bullet points, make sure they’re organised in a logical order.

For more information on how to include your skills on a resume, check out our comprehensive guide.

RESUME EXAMPLE: Skills section

SKILLS SUMMARY

Writing and Communication:

  • Degree with an emphasis on clarity and structure in written and oral communication.
  • Wrote blog posts, news features, technical documents and marketing copies.
  • Former editor-in-chief of the university newspaper.
  • Experience writing business and grant proposals, pitch documents and advertising copy.
  • Translated documents and interpreted conversations in Spanish, German and English.

Creative and Analytical Thinking

  • Analysis of audience, purpose and style of documents.
  • Strategic choice of wording, tone, format and source of information.
  • Ability to take fact-based materials and make them interesting.

Software and Social Media

  • Knowledge of social media, blogging and digital marketing.
  • Experience with Google Wave, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress and Blogspot.
  • Managed social media accounts with more than 30.000 followers in total.

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