Could your resume skills section use a little extra attention? Job seekers often overlook this part of the resume, assuming that their summary and work history sections will form the primary focus of employer attention. And for the most part, this is true. But it doesn’t mean your skill section can’t help you shine. And besides, when candidates are called in for an interview, employers tend to use the items in this section to move the conversation forward. A great skills section should meet the following criteria:
1. It should cover your most relevant skills first.
If the posting asks for specific language, technical, or computer programing skills, list these first. Familiarity with recognized content management systems, business models, or management philosophies that are relevant to the position should also appear at the top of your list.
2. It should cover your most interesting skills second.
Employers are often interested in hearing about the non-relevant skills that set you apart as a real person with a diverse background and an interesting life. Your judo black belt, classical dance training, quilting expertise, or downhill skiing trophy may not help you much in this position, but it gives your employer something personal to discuss with you and it gives you a chance to showcase your true personality.
3. It should not mention skills that are obvious or fall below the minimum necessary for the job.
If the job involves serious writing or editing, don’t use your skills section to boast about your knowledge of Microsoft word. The same applies to drafting and CAD, database management and Excel, conference presentation and PowerPoint, and so on. Familiarity with basic office software tools will be expected for some jobs, in which case, it’s better to use the space in your skills section to focus on skills that truly help you stand out.