It's a given that you're going to want to include some reference to your skills on your resume. The problem is that it's not always easy to determine which skills matter or how to categorize your skills. This is certainly the case when it comes to something like technical skills.
If you're not sure what's considered a technical skill or how to incorporate such skills into your resume, here are some tips to help you organize the technical skills you may wish to add to your resume:
Defining Technical Skills
A technical skill is considered any particular skill that reflects a particular knowledge. For instance, a resume for an IT Specialist is likely to include technical abilities such as being proficient with all Windows operating systems or possessing a strong knowledge of system maintenance. Such skills are considered practical, often being scientific or mechanical in nature. Technical skill examples include:
- Strong knowledge of basic kitchen equipment (for a chef)
- Familiar with MS Word applications (for an administrative assistant)
- Sound understanding of Excel spreadsheets (for an accountant)
How to Add Technical Skills to Your Resume
The way you reference your skills on your resume gives an employer an idea of how proficient you are with each particular technical skill that you list. If for example, you have a basic knowledge of MS Word applications, you may say something like "familiar with MS Word applications, especially Excel and PowerPoint. If, on the other hand, you're pretty much an expert on MS Word and all its functions, you may something like "exceptional knowledge of MS Word and all related applications" to highlight this fact to an employer. Here's a guide for rating your skill level:
You have a general understanding of these skills, so you'd use words like "familiar with" or "a basic understanding of..." to indicate your skill level.
You demonstrate a high level of proficiency with any technical skill you know well enough to consider yourself an expert in that skills. Use phrases such as "extensive knowledge of..." or "expert level understanding of..." to indicate any expert level skills you may possess.
How Many Skills to List?
While you may possess several skills that can be classified as "technical," you don't want to overwhelm a hiring manager by placing an extensive list of skills on your resume. Select 4 or 5 of your best technical abilities and list those on your resume. If your potential employer wants more examples, they're likely to ask you during your interview.
Avoid the temptation to embellish your technical skills. If you're hired, you may find yourself assigned tasks based on more advanced skills that you don't fully understand at the moment, which could create an awkward situation.
Instead, choose appropriate descriptive words to indicate how proficient you currently are with each skill. For maximum effectiveness, create a short, targeted list of your technical abilities with a few descriptive words next to each skill. Additionally, you may want to look at resume examples in your industry to get an idea of what other people are including in their skills section.