How to Describe Your Basic Job Skills


Basic job skills are an important part of your resume because they highlight your competencies. Even though they're basic skills, the goal is to be as specific as possible so that a potential employer can determine if your skills match those necessary for the job. Focus on job skills that will help you accomplish the duties and responsibilities listed in the employment ad.

Action Verbs

  • Describe your basic job skills using action verbs. Action verbs help your resume sound proactive, engaging and energetic. For example, when you're describing your skills when applying for an administrative position, say, "Interpreted monthly financial reports" or "Negotiated price reductions on office supplies by 25 percent." When you're describing your basic customer service skills, you might say, "Facilitated customers with their purchasing requests" or "Familiarized clients with product lines and increased sales by 20 percent."

Application of Your Skills

  • Explain how your basic skills fit the job requirements. Employers look for candidates who have a specific set of skills to meet the demands of the job. For example, when you're describing your computer skills for a bookkeeping position, say, "Created Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to track and record daily, weekly and monthly expenditures" or "Streamlined inventory tracking using Peachtree Sage accounting software." Don't just list the skills; show how they relate to the job that you are applying for.

Specific Competencies

  • Use specific terms to describe your basic skills, and support those skills with facts and figures. The goal is to show -- not tell -- how your basic skills equip you to perform the required job duties. For example, when you're describing your basic skills for a human resources position, write, "Trained over 150 employees how to register for company-provided health insurance and retirement plans" or "Scheduled employees for three shifts and increased productivity by 18 percent." Don't make up numbers. Ensure that you have records to back-up your statistics.

Avoid Vague Terms

  • Avoid general, vague job terms that reveal little about your skill sets. Don't use buzz words, such as "detail-oriented," "team player," "problem solver" or "troubleshooter" to explain your basic job skills. Those terms eat up precious space on your resume. Opt for clear, specific, meaningful descriptions that give an employer insight into your expertise and proficiencies. For example, replace the words "detail-oriented" with "Proofread and edited over 120 articles per month before publication" or "Maintained a log of over 800 incoming and outgoing shipments per month."


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