How to Make Your Skills Stand Out on Your Resume

When tackling the skills and work experience section of a resume, it's important to think about who will read it. Draw on past experiences and highlight the best moments. Use the same words that your potential employer used in their job description to describe your skills.

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How to Make Your Skills Stand Out on Your Resume

1. Spend time thinking about your skills.

Chances are, you have more tangible skills than you may realize. Draw from past experiences and environments. Think about how those moment prepared your for the job that your want. Chances are, you feel you are right for the job. Spend some time really thinking about why.

Consider more general skills that would be applicable to any work environment. Don’t underestimate that simple things. Hiring managers is hoping to see general skills on a resume too.

Be prepared to talk through each skill and back up your claim with examples. The goal is to include skills that are relevant to the job you're applying for.  If you are looking at a role in the finance industry, you'd want to be clear that you're highly organized and reliable.

Be sure to include traits that illustrate your ability to get along with others and work on a team. Being dependable, communicative, and team-oriented are highly valuable traits in any work environment.

2. Focus in on the most relevant skills.

Finally, illustrate your specific skills by selecting your most relevant work experience. Don’t include every summer job or part-time gig. Focus on the most crucial skill-building moments in your experience thus far. Generally, 4-5 is plenty to list. Don’t use paragraphs in your resume.

When listing a past job experience, be sure to bold the job title and company and then include a description of your responsibilities in bullet point. Don’t use abbreviations that would confuse the reader. If you've held a job with a complicated title, try simplifying the title for the purpose of your resume so that the reader doesn't get stuck or confused when reading about your experience.

3. Make adjustments at the end.

Simply going through the exercise of identifying your top skills and experiences can help inform the rest of your resume, too. You might want to go back and edit your personal objective statement once you've reflected on past work experiences and tweak the language for consistency.

Taking the time to consider when and where you've built up your most valuable skills will be extremely helpful when you walk into an interview. Odds are, you'll be called on to share examples and stories of how you've developed work habits over time -- and your resume is the best starting point for this content.

You have the skills down. Now what about the rest of your resume? Read the next article for tips on education, activities and personal interests.

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