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Resume Writing Advice – Listing Your Skills

Resume Writing Advice – Listing Your Skills

Listing Your Skills

Your skills represent the tools you bring to a prospective employer. They signify your core competencies, key strengths and unique abilities. It is your combination of skills and ability to use them that represent your qualifications for a given position. List your skills whenever possible in your resume, as they are also used as keywords.

Focus on both hard and soft skills. Soft skills are those personal qualities such as leadership, team building, and communication. Hard skills represent the tools of your trade or specific knowledge you have gained, such as the ability to use computer software, prepare an audit, or speak a foreign language. Skills can be personal or professional, but must be relevant to the job for which you are applying.

Listing all your relevant skills will demonstrate to a prospective employer you have the tools needed for the job. Find out what skills are required for the position you are seeking. You can get this information from the job description, Human Resources department, or from people you know in the field. Once you have determined the required skills, identify as many of these skills you possess and list them in this section in order of relevancy to the employer.

Defining your Skills

To gather your skills, think of the many things you have done in your career. If you could isolate your work experiences into your individual skills, what would they be? Some of the basic, common skills you already possess are reading skills, organizational skills, math skills, typing skills, writing skills, and a variety of others.

The following questions may help in identifying some of the skills you can bring to a job.

  • What tasks do you perform on a daily basis?
  • What skills enable you to complete these tasks?
  • What were some of the reasons you were hired at your last job?
  • What skills did you use on each job?
  • What would people come to you for help with?
  • What foreign languages do you speak that would aid in your position?
  • What software, hardware or other computer skills do you possess?

Then ask questions about your personal or educational background. This is especially important if you are changing careers or are a recent graduate.

  • What skills do you use in your hobbies?
  • What languages do you speak?
  • Do you perform any type of community service?
  • Do you volunteer? What skills do you bring?
  • What skills did you use in your class work?
  • Have you done any projects? What was your role and why?

Describing Your Skills

You can usually describe a skill in few words. Some typical skills might be: Programming in Java, Typing 60 WPM, Speaking French, Using Microsoft Word.

Don’t use exaggerative phrases like “Excellent” or “Impeccable.” These phrases are used in so many resumes they have lost their meaning and credibility. Demonstrate the strength of your skills in your Accomplishment or Experience sections.

Listing Your Skills

Place the skills or keywords that your prospective employer will find most relevant at the top of your resume.

Consider grouping skills under global headings. For example, reading, writing and typing could all fall under Communication Skills. This will help prospective employers identify important skills you can bring to their company. Be sure to include only those skills relevant to the job for which you are applying.

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