How to Write a Resume Skills Section

Cropped Hands Of Business People Holding Resume On Table In Office
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What's the best way to write a skills section for your resume, and highlight your qualifications for the job? The skills section of your resume includes your abilities that are related to the jobs you are applying for. In this section, you should list skills that are relevant to the position or career field that you are interested in, such as computer skills, software skills, and/or language skills.

Customize Your Resume Skills Section

Customize the skills section of your resume to match, as much as you can, the requirements listed in the job posting. The closer a match your skills are to the job requirements, the better your chances are for being selected for an interview.

For example, if you are applying for an administrative position, include in your skills section Microsoft Office skills, QuickBooks skills (if you have them), and other software programs you can use. If you are a computer programmer, list the programming languages, software, platforms, and other Information Technology skills you have. 

Having a skills section makes it easy for a hiring manager to pinpoint if you have a specific skill required for a position. It is also an easy way to get resume keywords onto your resume.

Many employers utilize automated applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan candidate resumes; these systems are programmed to search for specific keywords.

The more keywords your resume can “match,” the more likely it is that your resume will be selected for review by human eyes. 

Resume Skills Section Example

This is an example of a resume with a skills section. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Screenshot of a resume with a skills section
©TheBalance 2018
Download the Word Template

Skills

  • Mastery of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Experience with QuickBooks and with maintaining office budget
  • Ability to work with several operating systems, including Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux

Multiple Resume Skills Sections

If there are multiple types of skills that are important to the job you’re applying for, you can include more than one skills list in your resume. 

For example, if you are applying for a job in education, you might include a “Computer Skills” list and a “Language Skills” list.

Resume Example With a Skills Section (Text Version)

Caroline Applicant
6739 Blossom Street
Kingsport, TN 37617
(000) 123-4567
email@email.com

SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST

Expert in heightening organizational recognition and reach across social media channels.

Highly creative and upbeat Social Media Specialist with 6 years’ experience building social media presence for real estate professionals and small business owners. Well-versed in social media marketing and analytics, content writing, video editing, and digital photography.

Key skills include:

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube

Content Editing: Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook), WordPress

Graphic Design: Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro)

▪▪▪ PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE ▪▪▪

HOMEFRONT REAL ESTATE AGENCY, Kingsport, TN SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST (08/2014 – Present)

Brought on board to support team of 18 real estate agents in creating a dynamic social media presence across Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and SnapChat channels. Notable accomplishments:

  • Increased Facebook followers by 74% through diligent and responsive social media analytics.
  • Assisted real estate team members to engage in a collaborative real estate ad posting strategy on Craigslist.
  • Created and built firm’s first YouTube channel, posting slideshow walk-throughs of home listings.

FREELANCE ASSIGNMENTS, Kingsport, TN
SOCIAL MEDIA SPECIALIST (06/2012 – Present)

Generated a network of ongoing small business clients in need of small-scale social media and website management services. Established social media accounts, designed websites, and authored posts and blogs. Notable Accomplishments:

  • Built lasting relationships with companies including Jane Matthews, Realtor, Line-Dry Laundry, Home Garden Foods, and Spring Hill Farms.
  • Trained clients in WordPress and other digital tools, enabling them to manage their own web properties.

▪▪▪ EDUCATION AND CREDENTIALS ▪▪▪

UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, Knoxville, TN
Bachelor of Arts in Media Management, 2012
Dean’s List; School of Journalism and Electronic Media Scholarship; Junior Year Abroad in France

Lists to Review

Not sure what skills to include? Here's a list of resume and cover letter keywords you can use to describe your skills, as well as lists of resumes skills for a variety of occupations and types of jobs.

Skills: Hard vs. Soft

Skill sets include both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills are teachable abilities or skills that can be quantified. Soft skills are subjective interpersonal skills (such as “communications,” “leadership,” “teambuilding,” or “motivational” skills) that are much harder to quantify.

Both types of skills may be included on a resume and in cover letters. Here's more information on the difference between hard skills and soft skills, and a list of soft skills.

Job Specific vs. Transferable

Job-specific skills are those abilities that allow a candidate for employment to excel in a particular job. Some skills are attained by attending school or training programs. Others can be acquired through experience learning on the job.

Job-specific skills vary based on the position. For example, an IT help desk worker needs computer skills, teachers need lesson planning skills, and carpenters need skills working with power tools.

Job-specific skills can be contrasted with transferable skills like communication, organization, presentation, teamwork, planning, and time management, which are required in a broad array of jobs.

Transferable skills are those that you use in almost every job. Both types of skills can be included in a resume.

Not Every Skill Should Be Included in Your Resume 

While listing your skills is a good thing, not every skill you possess needs to be - or should be - included.

Do not list skills that you do not actually have. Leave off obsolete skills (that program you learned to use in the dawn of computer technology, for instance).

Plus, there is no need to include skills that do not relate to the job at hand. Unless you're applying to entertain at children's parties, your ability to make balloon animals shouldn't be included.