When you lack a long history of professional work experience, writing a resume skills section can take the place of or enhance a work experience section. Not every resume requires this information, but, as an applicant with comparatively little professional experience, the skills section may be necessary to display your unique abilities as they relate to the job for which you’re applying.
Should You Include a Skills Section in Your Student Resume?
Think about your recent work history. Have you had a variety of responsibilities relying on marketable skills? If, like most students, your work history is lacking, consider writing a resume skills section to provide hiring managers with a bigger picture of your capabilities. Part-time work, such as a minimum wage job or an after-school position may not be a source of valuable information. Writing a resume skills section proves that you’ve gathered important qualities through other means.
For instance, your tasks processing library book returns for minimum wage may not fill your student resume or present a strong case that you’re qualified for a position in event planning. Think beyond your after-school job, and share valuable experience you gained off the clock in other activities. If you have served as a volunteer for a non-profit organization, you may have already acquired the skills an event planner hiring manager is sifting through resumes to find.
What to Include in a Student Resume Skills Section
To begin formatting and writing a resume skills section, first determine your content. Brainstorm all your skills, coursework, volunteer experience and other potential qualifying factors. To narrow down the list you just compiled, consider the perspective of hiring managers at the company you’re hoping to join. Research postings for the type of work you’re seeking online, and make note of common factors in their skills requirements. Think about skills you already possess that match or transfer well to the skills you found in the postings. Skip the most basic examples as employers assume most hopefuls responding to their job posting have the basic abilities required.
Looking back on your time as a student, you may already have applied those abilities through volunteer work, coursework or even your hobbies. Although you did not receive pay for these types of roles, they speak volumes about your ability to take initiative and perform in a professional environment. Perhaps you are conversant in another language, enjoy working on cars or shoot professional photography on the side. If any of your hobbies could be relevant to the work you’re seeking, describe them in your skills section as well.
Example of a Great Student Resume Skills Section
You want your skills section to be an easy read. Avoid long paragraphs and opt instead for neat, organized tables or bulleted lists. See the example below for a student pursuing a career at a national publication:
- Adobe Digital Publishing
Interests and Awards:
- Fluent in Greek
- Studied abroad in Athens for one year
- Winner of Brownstein Writing Prize at Columbia University
- Proficient in AP style writing
As you prepare your student resume, remember to sell the qualifications you earned prior to joining the workforce by writing a resume skills section. Research your desired position online, and compare your resume to several samples. LiveCareer users have access to templates, sample resumes and helpful tips and tricks applicable to hundreds of jobs. Your student resume will lead you to the position that will launch your career!