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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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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