While every part of a resume is important, many jobseekers focus entirely on the work experience section and leave the skills portion blank. The perfect resume includes a comprehensive skills section that highlights your specific talents and qualifications. Learn how to strengthen your resume with our helpful guide.
Perfect Resume Tips
1. Make Every Word Count
Concise writing is important for your entire resume, but it's especially useful in the skills section. Write sparingly so the reader can focus on each item listed instead of skimming over a large block of text.
2. Focus on Readability
Making a list of your skills is a good way to get your point across in a format that's easy to read. Write clearly and be as informative as possible.
3. Use Bullet Points
Properly written bullet points convey a large amount of information quickly. Make sure to use descriptive words. For example, "Proficient in teaching individual trainees and small groups."
4. Center Around Keywords
Many hiring managers sort through resumes by looking for keywords that are industry-specific and contained in the job description. The perfect resume will include these keywords in the skills section. For example, a system administrator's resume may include a list of known programming languages.
5. List Diverse Skills
Your skills list should include a mix of "hard skills" and "soft skills." Hard skills are action-based and require training and practice whereas soft skills are personality traits. For example, proficiency in a computer program is a hard skill whereas motivational leadership is a soft skill.
6. Be Confident but Honest
Use the skills section to honestly portray the qualifications you possess without exaggerating or making false implications. Being bilingual is an excellent skill to include, but only if you are truly fluent in the other language.
7. Don't Rehash Experience
Make sure your skills section isn't simply a repetition of your work experience. Overlapping information can be presented in a different way. For example, work experience could include giving quarterly briefings to an executive board, and the skill could be listed as "Excellent written and verbal presentation skills."
8. Tailor to the Job Description
Modify your skills section for each job description to make sure the entries parallel directly with the requirements listed in the job description.
9. Highlight Growth
If you don't possess every skill listed in the job requirement, only include the ones you can legitimately claim. However, it is acceptable to list skills you are currently learning to show that you are continuing to grow in your chosen field.
10. Proofread and Fine-Tune
Just as with every other part of your resume, it's essential to spend time proofreading and fine-tuning your skills section. Double check for spelling and grammatical errors, and make sure each description provides the most accurate portrayal of you and your skills.
But Don't Make These Mistakes
The perfect resume skills section helps set you apart from other candidates and can lead to an interview. Here are some common errors to avoid when writing your skills section.
1. "Excellent computer skills." This phrase doesn't convey any specific skills and won't cause a hiring manager to take notice. List your proficiency with specific industry-related programs instead.
2. "Good leadership skills." While leadership skills are valuable, this statement doesn't convince the reader. Try something like, "Dedicated mentor in a one-on-one capacity."
3. "Detail oriented and dependable with experience in all administrative aspects of office management including answering phones, serving as receptionist, making travel arrangements, booking conference rooms, and organizing executives' schedules." This is far too much information for a single bullet and most readers will simply skip over the point entirely rather than try to read all the details. Break it up into bite-sized portions for readability.
4. "Ten year's accounting experience." This describes your work history rather than a unique skill and should be something your reader already knows from the experience section.