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What Are the Best Ways to Show Skills on Your Resume?

Updated on
May 28, 2019
What Are the Best Ways to Show Skills on Your Resume?

“All you need to land an interview is a good set of skills.”

If only that were true! Besides possessing skills, you have to present them in a way that gets noticed and shows that you are right for the job. Which skills should you showcase? What are the best ways to show skills on your resume? Let’s find out now.

What skills to put on a resume

Would you say that you should list all your capabilities on your resume?

Lydia Frank, the editorial director of PayScale, told Money magazine that there are some skills you should avoid mentioning, such as generalized job functions. How will typing set you apart (unless you are a typist)? Abilities such as filing or copying won’t impress an employer. According to Frank, “it’s implied knowledge.” This is especially true if you have advanced capabilities—if you are an expert in advanced web programming, you don’t need to list basic web design. Save the space for your best qualities.

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Alesia Benedict, a certified professional resume writer, warns that recruiters are also turned off by an onslaught of skills: “Recruiters do not have time to wade through a resume loaded with irrelevant information such as hobbies, ancient work history, out-of-date skills, or reasons for leaving prior positions.” Therefore, even though you might be proud of how good you are with tongue twisters, it probably doesn’t belong on your resume for an accountancy position.

How do you decide which of your various talents are relevant? Resume expert Natalie Severt suggests getting the information directly from the employer. No, you don’t have to call or email the company. The key skills, the most valuable qualities to the hiring manager, are usually embedded in the job description.

Take a look at some of the items listed in the qualifications section of this job listing for an educational administrator:

  • Knowledge of MS Office programs (especially PowerPoint)
  • Comfortable with Google Docs
  • Tech-savvy and quick to learn new programs; experience with Learning Management Systems is ideal
  • Passion for education and ability to connect with students
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Experience with electronic file keeping and reporting
  • Highly organized, but able to adapt as needs and programs evolve

Can you see all the clues provided by the potential employer? If you have technology skills, written communication skills, or organizational skills, you should highlight them if you want a good chance at being hired for this job.

How to present your skills on a resume

In most cases, job seekers set aside a section of the resume for their skills. You can simply label the section “Skills.” However, if a particular aptitude is valuable in your trade, you could be more specific. For instance, if you’re a computer technician, you might focus on technical or computer skills. If you’re applying to an out-of-country position, you might list relevant language skills.

Using the job listing from earlier, can you think of some ways to show your computer skills?

Extensive experience with Microsoft Office products
Familiarity with cloud-based apps, including Google Docs
Knowledge of OpenOffice

Besides these phrases, you might try “expert with,” “able to,” or “proficient at.”

Now that you know which skills to feature (i.e., those that are directly related to the position to which you are applying), where on your resume should they appear?

Not every resume expert agrees on the exact placement of this section, but most of their advice centers on one fact: The resume skills, along with the summary, should be the most visible parts of the document. If you use a template, find one that puts qualifications in a place that will get noticed. You might also get some feedback from friends. Ask them, “Which heading of my resume does your eye go to first?”

How to prove your skills

“Expert” is a strong descriptor. You should support your assertions with solid evidence. The Huffington Post shared at least two ways to demonstrate that you can do what you say you can.

1 Mention tools that you know how to use in the skills section or elsewhere on your resume.

Project Management with Basecamp

2 Share completed certifications

Fluent in French DELF-certified Level B2

If you don’t present your skills well on a resume, it won’t matter how talented you are. Are you showing your skills in their best light? The job requirements provided by employers can help you decide which skills belong on your resume for each opening. If you tailor your resume today, a perfect job might be waiting for you tomorrow.

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