All Your Questions About the Skills Section on Your Resume Are Answered

Writing a resume to only include the important things is hard and the first thing we tend to cut is the skills section. But wait! Your skills section on your resume isn’t something to give up, instead, the skills you’re highlighting and how you format this section are the things that should change.

Why You Should Include a Skills Section
You want your resume to be precise so that a recruiter or hiring manager with little time or an applicant tracking system (the software that scans keywords in resumes) is able to skim your resume and see that you’re a fit and that’s why it makes sense to have a skills section.

The skills section is like a summary. It’s redundant and covers what you’ve said in your experience section, but because resumes are read so quickly, a skills section ensures your content isn’t missed.

A Skills Section Paints a Fuller Picture
Your skills section helps fill in the gaps for a hiring manager or recruiter. They’re able to piece together things about you by reading your skills section. Like perhaps you have skills that are unusual or unrelated to the job but could have a lose link to the role you’re applying for. A skill like this lets the reader know you’re dedicated to your career and maybe went out of your way to learn the skill on your own.

What to Include in a Skills Section
Your skills section should be reserved for your hard skills, aka things that can be defined and measured. Keywords are important in your resume and the skills section is a great place to highlight them, but don’t over do it. Include your hard skills that may not be in your experience section like courses you took and of course read the job description and match the skills you have (and are confident in) to those that the position is seeking.

What Not to Include in a Skills Section
There’s no need to include skills that are irrelevant to the types of positions you’re applying to. Perhaps there are skills you don’t want to use in your future roles. It’s fine if these types of skills are in your experience section to show what you accomplished in your previous jobs, but don’t highlight them in your skills section. And obvious skills can also be removed. Like for instance, Microsoft Word or Excel doesn’t need to be on your resume unless the job description listed the skill as a requirement.

Additionally, your soft skills (communication skills, time management, teamwork, etc.) do not belong in your skills section. These skills instead should be incorporated into your bullet points that describe your accomplishments in your experience section.

How to Format Your Skills Section
Group your skills into categories and name those groups of skills. For example, if you’re a graphic designer and you also code, have a section of skills for “Design” and “Technical”. Each category should begin on a new line with a subheader aka the category in bold to begin the list.

It should look like this…


Subheader: Skill, Skill, Skill, Skill

Subheader: Skill, Skill, Skill

Subheader: Skill, Skill, Skill, Skill

If you only have one or two lines of skills, call the section “Skills and Interests” and make the last subheader “Interests” or call the section “Skills and Certifications” and make the last subheader “Certifications”

Where Should You Put Your Skills Section?
Skills sections typically live at the bottom of the resume and act as a summary of what the reader read in your experience section. However, if you’re changing careers or are in a technical field where hard skills are key, move your skills section to the top.

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