A resume skills section is not always included in a resume for US residents; however, writing a resume skills section is important when applying for certain positions. For example, if you are applying for a technical position, the skills section is typically expected to enumerate your relevant technical skills. Additionally, the resume skills section is an excellent location for placement of relevant keywords and industry-specific phrases that will get your resume discovered in database searches by recruiters and hiring managers.
Should You Include a Skills Section in Your US Resident Resume?
Include the resume skills section if your skills relevant to the position are not well-covered in your summary statement or elsewhere in your resume. If you are applying for a position that requires specific skills, such as mastery of certain software applications, the skills section is the appropriate place to list this knowledge and make sure it gets noticed by the reader. Quantify the skill when possible by using hard data instead of nonspecific descriptors. For example, instead of listing “Proficient Typist” as a skill, indicate how many words per minute you type, i.e. “65 WPM Typist.”
You will most likely benefit from including a skills section on a resume for a technical position. The skills section in a technical resume is sometimes entitled “Proficiencies” or “Technical Skills,” and sometimes it is substituted with “Areas of Expertise.” For a technical resume, include the names of systems and software packages for which you are certified and ones you have mastered through experience. Make sure that the skills you include are relevant to the position. Remove any outdated skills as well as those that are not applicable to the position.
What to Include in a US Resident Resume Skills Section
The key to writing a resume skills section is to include skills that will catch the eye of a hiring manager who is probably gleaning stacks of resumes for specific information. Include your applicable accomplishments on prior jobs along with your soft skills that may be relevant to the position. When writing a resume skills section, avoid listing previous job duties and instead, focus on your notable abilities in your prior positions. If you have a particular talent that may not be directly relevant to the position but would benefit you on the job if you were hired, craft the wording for the talent in such a way that ties the skill to the position.
Make sure that the keywords and phrases you include in the skills section are relevant to the position for which you are submitting your resume. Employ short phrases instead of complete sentences, and do not use periods at the end of the phrases. Keep in mind when writing a resume skills section that a table format is often the most efficient way to display your skills. List at least three or four skills in bullet-point format, but don’t overdo it. Include no more than seven or eight skills per column. List skills in the order of importance as related to the position, or organize them according to some logical scheme.
One Example of a Great US Resident Resume Skills Section
Tools: Microsoft Visual Studio, JBuilder, SQL Server, Visual SourceSafe
Operating Systems: Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows CE, Ubuntu, Knoppix Mac OSX
You may benefit from additional suggestions at LiveCareer for writing a resume skills section that gets you the proper attention you deserve.