What To Include In A Resume Skills Section

Many candidates are tempted to skip the skills sections of their resumes. For some job candidates, this actually might be perfectly appropriate, but most of us have something useful we can put here. The skills section is where you should put any skills which aren't discussed in the work experience or education sections of your resume, and which might not be obvious to an employer otherwise. These skills should be reasonably relevant to the job at hand, but might be a bit generic.

Where should you place the skills section?

woman looking at a resume

Some people put it in front of their work experience, while others put it behind. It depends on whether the meat of your resume is your work experience or not. If you're an entry-level applicant fresh out of college and you don't have a lot of work experience, it'd be sensible to put your skills section on top. You probably have a lot of skills that you haven't yet demonstrated professionally in the workplace. If however your skills section is going to be fairly short and isn't as important as your work experience, then you probably would want to put it after your work experience. Most hiring managers won't make it past the first third of your first page when deciding what to initially do with you (throw your resume away or look at it again later). What do you want that hiring manager to see in that top third? That's what's key.

What are some examples of skills which make sense to include in a Skills section?

Unless you're an interpreter or translator and your work experience demonstrates that, it'd be best to state that you know multiple languages in the Skills section. Being bilingual (or better) is a big plus in many different jobs, even if it's not a requirement and it's not a skill you'd use every day in the workplace. You might never have used your language skills in a past job, but they could come in handy in the job you're applying for.

Another good example is computer skills.

Any software proficiencies are potentially useful for a future job, even a job which isn't highly technical in nature. You might not have used those proficiencies in the past, but they demonstrate that you're up to date and that you're handy in a technical pinch. Lots of workplaces appreciate people who can get computer problems resolved, even if they aren't hired as system administrators. Mathematics is something else which you can mention in your Skills area. Math skills are generically useful in numerous different situations. Once again, this is a skill you may not have used in past jobs, but your proficiency could come in handy. Plus it shows that you're smart and have attention to detail and a quantitative mind.

Make sure to talk about specifics when relevant.

Don't just say "bilingual," list the languages you speak. Don't just say "good at math," say what level you worked up through in school. With computer and software proficiencies, don't just say, "Skilled in computers," but list actual programs. Always be as specific in your resume as you can.