A resume skills section lists specific abilities and attributes that you will bring with you to a new position. The purpose of the skills section is to convince the recruiter or hiring manager that you possess the basic skills to handle the job. Even as a new graduate without work experience, you have acquired several valuable skills over the course of your education. When writing a resume skills section, align your skills as closely as possible with the position for which you are applying.
Should You Include a Skills Section in Your New Grad Resume
Including a skills section in your resume is a good idea, particularly if you are a recent graduate. As a new graduate, you may lack professional work experience, so writing a resume skills section is a useful tool and a great opportunity to show hiring managers and recruiters what you can contribute to a company. Use the skills section to demonstrate any talents, skills and abilities you were able to cultivate while working on your degree. Writing a resume skills section is simple once you realize how much you have to offer prospective employers.
What to Include in a New Grad Resume Skills Section
Start writing a resume skills section by thinking about the skills you obtained in school. Did you acquire skills with popular software applications? If you're applying for an office job, how fast can you type? If you're interested in a more technical field, which systems and software have you mastered? In which programming languages are you proficient? Make a list of three or four categories of skills, and be specific. Think back over your courses and note the specific skills you gained from classes and labs. For example, a computer programmer might list three categories of skills: systems, applications and programming languages. Next, list three or four bullet points of specific skills in each category.
Hard skills are those that can be quantified, such as proficiency with a certain software application, while soft skills are those that are considered talents and abilities. Describe hard skills with terms like "proficient with" and "experienced in." Use action verbs with impact to describe your soft skills. For example, use words like "achieved," "facilitated" and "expedited." Always be sure to proofread your resume carefully. Double-check that the spelling of names, such as software packages, are properly capitalized.
One way to display your skills within a limited space is to present them in a table format. Using a table to organize your skills allows hiring managers to understand your exact capabilities by simply scanning your resume. The most complicated part of writing a resume skills section is simply remembering all the skills you possess. Review several sample resumes before you begin the writing process to get a better understanding of the format.
Example of a Great New Grad Resume Skills Section
Here's an example of a skills section for a new graduate applying for an administrative position:
- Proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel
- Familiarity with PowerPoint
- 75 WPM
- Excellent communication skills
- Windows Server
- Unix and Linux
- Apache Web Server
- PC Troubleshooting
- Software installation
- Remote Desktop Administration
Here's an example of a skills section for a new graduate applying for a technical support position:
Systems and Servers
LiveCareer offers more tips and advice for writing an exceptional resume skills section that will catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers.