The Skills-Based Resume
The Skills-Based Resume

Stressing over your resume? Are you concerned that you don’t have enough experience or that you have too many gaps in your work history? Perhaps it’s time you change from the standard chronological listing of previous positions to a skills-based resume.

If you don’t already know, the chronological resume is not your only option for making first impressions with potential employers.  The skills-based style is becoming more and more popular with job seekers.

According to The Daily Muse, there are several different reasons why you may want to consider this format.

If you have gaps in your resume, using this style will downplay that missing time.  That’s also the case if you have several short term positions in your work history.  Other reasons a skills-based resume may be a better option are if:

  • You are trying to change careers
  • Your previous positions are similar in nature and listing them all out feels redundant
  • You want to make a hobby or passion your full time job where most of your experience comes from volunteering or experience you’ve gained on your own time.

By creating a skills-based resume you are highlighting all your skills and strengths before your work history comes into play.  One important thing to remember, regardless of which style you use, is that you want to create a unique resume for each job application.  You’ll always want to specifically highlight skills that relate directly to the position for which you want to apply.

Summary of Skills Section

To create your Summary of Skills section, The Daily Muse suggests picking three or four broad skill sets that specifically relate to the job description.  Then under each category of skills you can use bullet points to back the skills up with specific accomplishments and successes. You’ll want to be detailed here.

Ralph Heibutzki writes in Career Trend that each bullet point should “explain what you did and the specific results you achieved.”  He also recommends writing clearly and not using industry jargon that the hiring manager may not understand.  Heibutzki’s example is “Led project X that boosted sales of drug Y by Z percent in year XXYZ.”  Simple, Straightforward, and a clear example of how your skills have made you successful.

Examples like these will stand out as hiring managers skim through a resume.  By the time they get to the work history, they are already going to be interested in what you can bring to the table based on the skills segment of your resume.

If you aren’t getting much response from your current resume, give this style a try.  You’ll be able to sell yourself better by highlighting your skills and abilities instead of your previous positions.  You might be surprised at the results you get just by changing your resume around!

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