The skills section on your resume is your chance to show what makes you the best person for the position. It is your opportunity to not only state the skills you have that your prospective employer needs, but also how they have positively impacted previous employers. While it is tempting to throw every skill you have on your resume in a long list, brevity is best to maintain a hiring manager’s attention.
A poorly written or formatted skills section can bring down an otherwise good resume. This is why you want to approach this section fresh every time you apply for a new position. Think of what your most notable aptitudes are that match up to what the prospective employer needs. Use our tips to create a professional and impressive set of skills for a resume and be successful in your job search.
How To Write Skills for a Resume
The inclusion of a skills section in your resume is the best way for this document to communicate to the hiring manager that you possess the attributes he or she needs in the new hire. In addition, working in keywords found in the job description that appropriately describe your skill set is a great way to successfully hurdle the applicant tracking systems that cull out resumes deemed irrelevant to the position.
Here are some tips to utilize when you want to include a skills section on your resume that will help you land an interview. The first step is to make a list of all of your professional aptitudes and rank them in order of mastery. Next, highlight the traits the job description asks for. If you have any skills that produced quantifiable results, write the result of your efforts on your list with a red pen. Now you are set to pick and choose the skills to include on your resume.
Take some time to narrow down your list of possibilities by looking at the top 10 skills you have recorded. Are any highlighted and also have a result listed in red pen? Those skills should have the highest chance of making it onto your final list. In order of importance, the highlighted ones should be included next..
A skills section that mixes soft and hard skills with metrics provides a well-rounded look at the professional abilities of an applicant and is the recommended format for most resumes. Here is an example of a skills section that integrates aptitudes with quantifiable results:
• Optimizing software code for efficiency: one effort cut data processing time by 40%
• Strong communicator with diverse employee groups
• Experienced in conversion life cycle leadership: achieved last year’s conversion ahead of schedule and under budget
• Comprehensive understanding of mentoring for employee retention and achievement
5 Skills for a Resume Must-Haves
1. Tailor your skills section to the job description
It is important to tailor your skills section to especially promote the traits you possess that are also listed in the job description you are applying for. When you take this customized approach, you optimize your resume to score high on applicant tracking system scanning programs.
The more keywords from the job description you use in your skills section as well as in your resume as a whole, the better chance your document will get seen by the hiring manager. In general terms, more keywords are better, but make sure you are not stuffing your resume with them.
2. Put a selective list of skills on your resume
Select your strongest skills that directly apply to the job you want, not necessarily the job you have. If you are applying for a database architect position, you want to focus on the technical skills qualifying you for the position you desire. This is why you would list your IT architect certification rather than your skill at testing software code, as testing is a skill an architect would delegate.
3. Tie skills in with quantifiable results
As seen in the example above, skills are most powerful when you can tie in the application of those skills with quantifiable results. Including at least a couple of these points in your skills section will give your document extra impact.
4. Utilize multiple resume skills sections
If you apply for a job that has multiple desirable skill sets, you may want to consider creating multiple skills sections in your resume. Multiple sections are preferable to one long and rambling section that combines categories. For example, if you are a software engineer who desires to branch out into IT skill certificate training, it would be advantageous to include two skill sections, one for your technical expertise:
• Experienced .NET programmer
• Expert Oracle Database Architect certification
and the other for your administrative and team skills:
• Excellent verbal and written communicator, chosen to be the training lead for recent conversion project
• Knowledge of presentation methods integrating online capability
5. Use bullet points
Always use bullet points to list skills, rather than a paragraph or table format. Bullet-pointed lists present a clean, professional appearance that is easy for a hiring manager to take in at a glance.
Top Skills for a Resume Takeaways
Clarity and simplicity rule when it comes to documenting skills for a resume. Remember to approach each job application as an opportunity to optimize your skills section. Tailoring your bullet points to both reflect your assets and what the prospective employer wants in a candidate will position your application in the best way possible.
If possible, keep your list in one section, but do not hesitate to have two lists if your skill sets are diverse. It is much better to have two brief skill sections than one overly long section. Limit this section to four to six of your strongest skills of the greatest relevance to the job you are applying for.