Tips on Creating an Effective Resume Skills Section

Tips on Creating an Effective Resume Skills Section

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Image by Omar Franco

The skills section of your resume allows you to elaborate on the abilities that you can bring to a company that are not mentioned in the employment history section. Typically, this section is a little more unfocused than the other parts of your resume since it is less about telling a story and more about making a great impression. At the same time, wording and formatting play an important role in making a good impression.

Just as with everything else on your resume, relevancy is key. For each position, scan over the section and delete anything that is not directly relevant to the job, and perhaps add some new skills that are especially pertinent to that company. In addition, pay attention to how you describe your skills. Instead of saying that you organized an online gaming group for two years, mention that you maintained a self-hosted VoIP chat server during that period of time. While both descriptions reflect the same experience, one shows a degree of technological understanding while the other will have a hiring manager wondering what the relevance is.

When you create the work history section, you should focus on quantifying your experience as much as possible. The same approach applies to the skills section, even if it seems very different. Avoid vague statements such as “good with languages,” and instead list which languages you know and how proficient you are at each of them. Similarly, saying that you used Microsoft Excel daily for five years means more than stating that you are proficient in the software. Too many details can quickly become overwhelming, so don’t list all the Excel functions you know. However, one or two details will make the skill memorable.

Lists of skills that consist of more than two bullet points should have some degree of organization. Keep computer, language, and technical skills together rather than mixing them up in a confusing jumble. Some other common skills categories include organization, leadership, problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking. Depending on the industry, you may also want to point to your willingness to learn, self-motivation, and ability to wear many hats at once.

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