Your resume skills section is the place to list all of the skills and accomplishments relevant to the job for which you are applying. So when it comes to how to write a resume, getting the skills section is right is crucial. As long as your skills line up with the job you’re a candidate for, they are worth mentioning. For example, if you are applying for a job as a copywriter and the position calls for creativity, you can mention you dabble in fiction writing because it demonstrates your creative pursuits.
If you’re writing a resume, be sure to follow these tips when drafting the skills section:
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When compiling skills for your resume, always replace nonspecific adjectives with hard numbers and concrete examples. So don’t say you’re a “skilled typist.” Instead, say “70WPM typist.” Rather than say you’re adept at Microsoft Office, say you’re proficient in Word, PowerPoint and/or Excel. While you shouldn’t go to town with too many specifics, it’s best to list a few choice details because that’s how your resume will stand out.
Another thing to keep in mind when listing your skills is to organize them according to their categories. This means you should keep all your computer skills together in bullet form. For example, the below bullet points have nothing to do with each other and are scattered:
- Adept with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
- Bilingual – Fluent in English and Spanish
These are skills you can list separately. But if you list the skills section of your resume with a bunch of attributes that have absolutely nothing to do with the job you are applying for, well, you’re just wasting space on your resume. This means that if you’re up for a Copywriter job and list “sales ability,” you probably won’t be asked to interview for the position.
Order Your Skills
As for the ordering of your resume skills section, always keep those applicable to the job you’re up for first in line up. So if you’re applying for a job as an Executive Assistant, proficiency in Excel should be way higher than Master Gardener (and the later likely shouldn’t appear at all!).
Still, having the skills section on your resume makes it easy for the human resource department to pinpoint if you have a specific skill that’s relevant to the position. And even more important is that the skills you list are an easy way to get “keywords” onto your resume. These are words that directly target the job you want. For example, the keywords on a Walmart Cashier’s resume would include “efficient customer service,” “people skills” and “dedicated work ethic.”
Just remember to list your skills if they are relevant to the position you are interviewing for. If you notice that your skills don’t line up with the skills the job is looking for, you might come to the realization that you’re simply not a “good fit” for the company and that maybe you shouldn’t apply for the job.
So it’s important that your resume skills section match the requirements listed in the job posting. The closer match your skills are to the job description, the better your chances of being selected for an interview. So be sure to customize the skills on your resume to the requirements listed in the job posting. This doesn’t mean you should lie to match up. It just means that there should be some overlap between your skills on your resume and the job you’re interested in applying.