Key Resume Sections: “Skills”

A “Skills” section is the perfect place to quickly show your unique skills. Some candidates refer to this resume section as the “Competencies” or “Expertise” section because it shows that your qualifications match the job requirements. This section is often presented as a list of powerful keywords that attract the attention of the Application Tracking System and the Hiring Manager. In addition, it helps the hiring manager quickly assess your value proposition: the reasons they should hire you.

The “Skills” section of a resume in one of the most important because its content can be easily tailored to the target job. In other words, a strategic resume writer will compare your skill set to the job’s qualifications, prioritize the most important matches, and present them is the most convincing way. This is especially helpful for applicants changing industries because this resume section will showcase transferable skills that catch the reader’s eye. For professionals seeking positions in their same industry, it showcases the skills that are most relevant to the target position.

The 3 Dimensions of Effective Resume Writing:

Content in the Skills Section

  • Showcase skills that match the job description. If you don’t have the job description, research online the skills required to perform a similar role
  • If space permits, consider adding an example of the skills you mention

Sequence of the Skills Section

  • The “Skills” section will always be presented at the top of the resume, below the “Header” section.
  • The sequence of skills within the section doesn’t matter nearly as much as their relevance. Think of this section as a highly-structures word cloud showcasing your unique skill set

Design of the Skills Section

  • Consider listing the skills in a 2- or 3-column format
  • Do not use bullet points to list skills
  • List skills on separate lines within the 2- or 3column format
  • Consider bolding specific words you want to stand out from the other words
  • If the skills you want to list do not cover are limited, consider using a single column format and adding examples from your other resume sections

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