While different types of jobs require certain information to be placed on a resume, it is usually beneficial to include a resume skills section. A skills section is a list of your abilities that are related to the jobs that you have performed and may also include your personal traits that suit you for the job.
Some may suggest to not include a skills section because resumes are supposed to be highly concise and skills may be covered elsewhere in the resume; however, writing a resume skills section for your Canadian resume can be a highly succinct and clear way of conveying your marketable abilities early on in your resume.
Should You Include a Skills Section in Your Canadian Resume?
Whether or not you should add a skills section for your resume depends on the job to which you are applying. If the job requires something along the lines of knowledge of specific computer skills, a skills section is ideal. This is especially true in the case of a candidate who has been in the workforce for a while, and it shows that you have kept up to date on the latest trends.
Another example of when to include a skills section is if you are applying for a position that requires a specific set of hard skills, such as a mechanic, graphic designer or architect. In the case of a mechanic, you can specify the types of cars you have worked on in the past or any types of special machinery as well as familiar software programs. Graphic designers and architects can also state specific computer knowledge so that when a recruiter scans the resume for information, they can quickly see what skills the applicant possesses. Skill sections can be alternatively labeled as "Areas of expertise/knowledge."
What to Include in a Canadian Resume Skills Section
When you begin writing a resume skills section, keep in mind the difference between hard and soft skills. Hard skills can be measured directly, such as computer and software skills, while soft skills fall more along the lines of traits, which include clear communication and a patient attitude.
Be prepared to include some of each, depending on the requirements of the position. For example, if you are writing a resume skills section for an administrative bookkeeping position, mention that you are conversant with QuickBooks. For those sending out resumes to customer service jobs, mention your presentation skills as well as any leadership skills you may possess.
When writing a resume skills section, utilizing a table format allows hiring managers to easily search through your abilities. If find yourself listing a great number of skills, limit the number of entries to no more than seven to eight per column. Also, restrict the font size to no smaller than 10 pt. This helps ensure that your resume stays within two pages. Omit using periods at the end of each item and use the shortest possible phrasing when listing specific tasks or skills. The skills section is also a great place to include phrases and keywords that are relevant to your field, showing your potential employer your industry knowledge as well as the fact that you paid attention to the language of the job posting.
Example of a Great Canadian Resume Skills Section
The following example shows a portion of a skills section for an administrative assistant looking for an entry-level position in accounting or bookkeeping:
- Microsoft Office Experience (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- QuickBooks Experience
- Office Budgeting
- Windows, OSX and Linux
- 90-wpm Typing
For more advice on writing a resume skills section or some other tips on how to make your resume stand out, the information on LiveCareer may be quite useful.