When it comes to making a solid first impression with a potential employer with a resume, six seconds is all you have to get noticed. Companies can receive thousands of resumes for a single job opening, so making your resume stand out is an absolute must. One way of doing this is to include a compelling skills section on your resume that highlights your talents, how they relate to the position you want and how they have served you in your career thus far. While not typically a standard part of a resume, writing a resume skills section could give you a major competitive edge.
Should You Include a Skills Section in Your American Resume?
In an American resume, writing a resume skills section is your chance to tell a prospective employer where you excel and what unique talents you have that can make you an asset to the company. It is also where you would include relevant keywords and phrases that may get your resume noticed in a database. While a skills section is typically not included in a resume, use this section to personalize your resume further and to stand out from the crowd. Format your skills section as a table or in one or more columns of bulleted items. Use short phrases that describe your personal attributes or relevant tasks you have completed, and do not include a period at the end of each sentence fragment. When writing a resume skills section, you will likely need to tailor it for each position you apply for as every job has its own unique requirements. Review the job posting to get an idea of what keywords or phrases the hiring manager is most likely looking for.
What to Include in an American Resume Skills Section
Skills fall into three general categories when writing a resume skills section: job-related skills, transferable skills and skills that reflect your work style. Job-related skills are self-explanatory and include skills and abilities specific to the job you are applying for. Transferable skills are more individualized and include abilities that may not match up with your line of work but would still prove useful across multiple disciplines. For instance, an excellent transferable skill that is of value to many employers is the ability to speak a commonly spoken language such as Spanish. Proficiency with particular computer programs is also valuable because most companies, regardless of the industry, use some form of computer software to manage their business and finances. Finally, skills that reflect your work style tend to be generic. Most applicants include such skills as being a good team player and possessing leadership abilities, but these will only be verifiable to your employer after you get the job. This is why employers pay more attention to job-related and transferable skills.
Example of a Great American Resume Skills Section
Each skill mentioned should be listed and describe your relevant abilities in a nutshell. No matter what your skill sets are, list three to eight skills per column. Below is an example of what the contents might look like when writing a resume skills section.
- Extensive knowledge of industry safety regulations
- Fluent in English and Spanish
- Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Access
- Strong organizational skills
- Working knowledge of C++
- Licensed crane operator
- Employee training
The next time you need to format your resume, the tips, tricks and advice you can find on LiveCareer may prove useful.