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How to Effectively List Professional Skills on Your Resume

This is the fifth lesson of our Perfect Resume Creation: Ultimate Course. If you would like to get through the whole course – follow the link and subscribe.


  1. What is the resume skills section?
  2. Types of skills to put on a resume
  3. How to list skills on your resume
  4. Where to place skills on your resume
  5. Conclusion

A resume (CV) is an essential part of the hiring process. It is your business card and «self-advertisement». So, to impress a hiring specialist, it should be prepared accurately and thoroughly. This is a document, which includes the list of your abilities, skills, objectives, job experience, education, and interests.

It is not possible to write a good resume without describing the most valued skills and qualifications you have. These skills should catch the attention of the HR manager, and help you to get an interview call letter.

Let’s discuss further why a skills section of a resume is so important, what types of skills should be included in your CV, and how to list them to get the desired job.
Printable Resume Templates

What is the resume skills section?

Any resume has a section where you can include all your relevant skills and abilities to prove you are the best candidate for the desired position. This part of your resume might be eye-catching for a hiring manager. Make sure you list the skills, which are relevant to the applied job.

The better your skills are described on a resume, the better your chances are to get the desired job.

A lot of employers use an automated tracking system (ATS) to check the candidates’ CVs. This is a system to search for keywords on a resume. So, the more keywords your CV includes, the better results you get.

Types of skills to put on a resume

An employer usually verifies two types of applicants’ skills: hard skills and soft skills. Let’s clarify what each type of skill means.

Hard skills are those, which are obtained during a school/university/class education. For instance, hard skills are programming languages, graphic design, marketing, foreign languages, etc.

On the other side, soft skills are also known as interpersonal skills, and they relate to the way how you behave and interact with other people. They include patience, stress-resistance, flexibility, leadership, etc.

It is important to emphasize on both types of skills on your CV and cover letter. For example, if you are applying for a copywriting position, make sure to include your exceptional writing and editing skills along with time-management, attentiveness, and detail-orientation skills.

It is quite difficult to say which type of skills is more critical for an employer. Nowadays companies consider a cultural fit also, so your soft skills are much valued as well as hard skills and abilities.

Look at some examples of soft and hard skills.

Soft skills

  • creativity;
  • stress-resistance;
  • time management;
  • conflict resolution;
  • self-motivation;
  • leadership;
  • team player;
  • adaptability.

Hard skills

  • programming languages;
  • operating systems;- design tools and applications;- marketing;
  • project management;
  • accounting;
  • foreign languages;
  • data analysis.


How to list skills on your resume

Customize your skills block to match the description of the position you applied for. To increase your chances of being approved, your relevant skills and keywords should be highlighted on your CV. And remember, do not say anything about the skills, you do not have.

Follow the next simple tips to list your skills on a resume:

  • include job-specific skills and abilities;
  • categorize your skills (e.g., foreign languages, programming languages, design skills, etc.);
  • use relevant synonyms (e.g., SMM instead of social media marketing);
  • do not be afraid to use the most valued job skills a couple of times.

If you can provide any achievements related to your soft skills, your candidacy will be more attractive to a hiring specialist. For instance, by specifying your skill ‘A good team player,’ you can add the fact that you organized a great team-building event for your department.

In regard to your hard skills, it would be better to include the metrics quantifying your efforts and skills. Make sure you avoid professional jargon phrases. Specify the level of your key skills and specialties (e.g., beginner, expert, etc.). Hard skills should be presented logically – put them in the order of relevance and expertise.

Where to place skills on your resume

The location of a skills section could also affect the efficiency of your CV. Keep in mind that the list of skills has to be perfectly visible, so put it on the first page (in case you created a two-page resume). The exact location is up to you and your taste. Let's look at some examples.

In the Neo 02 resume template, the skills are listed at the end of the CV after the description of the experience. The template itself is rather minimalistic and though all the blocks are clearly visible and don't make the CV look messy.
The Mason Reed resume template shows the skills section on the left side of a CV. It is additionally highlighted with the background color, so the HR going through it won't have a chance to miss it.

And this adorable and creative resume template for a software engineer has the skills block placed to the right side of the page. The most interesting detail in it is that instead of writing the titles of programming languages the developer knows - it uses the icons. Such a list will definitely attract attention!
One of the additional popular ways to show the skills list is to use the radial counter. Take a look at how it is made in the Reven Dark resume template.  The radial counters are a decoration by themselves, so with those icons the CV looks more impressive and interesting.

Check out more resume templates here.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a new job, it is similar to trying to sell a bike. Your best and most relevant features should go first. Now you have an idea of what a resume skills section is, what types of skills should be included, and where/how to list your skills to get an effective CV. Let your best skills drive your job application. It is your marketing tool to get a job.



Read Also

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Natalia

A freelance copywriter, who has a great interest in writing, content-related stuff, traveling, and photography. She is always mastering her writing skills to synthesize the essence of any business ideology in an easy-to-use nugget of words to get people to feel, think, or respond. Instagram.

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