Should I Put Professional Skills or Technical Skills on My Resume?

Job seekers and careerists tweak their resumes all the time. You really should tailor your resume for every job you want; your resume isn't a one-size-fits-all document. Ideally, you should provide prospective employers with a version of your resume that meets their requirements so you can improve your chances for an interview. In addition, if you're already employed and looking for advancement opportunities, continually updating your resume can put you one step closer to your career goals.

  1. Job Posting

    • The decision whether to craft a resume that contains your professional skills or your technical skills depends on the job posting. Read the posting two or three times to digest precisely what the employer wants. If the job posting mainly contains transferable competencies -- such as conflict resolution, negotiation skills and leadership capabilities -- stick to a resume that describes your professional skills and save the explanation of your technical skills for the interview.

    Career Field

    • Listing your professional skills, as well as your technical skills, is preferable for some industries or fields. For example, if you're applying for a job in nursing management, it's essential that you demonstrate your functional knowledge and your ability to manage staff, which requires use of your professional skills. For this career field, you must be able to render quality patient care, in addition to managing employees who report to you, so your resume should reflect your capabilities, qualifications and past work experience.

    Performance Expectations

    • Some employers expect workers to exhibit cross-functional capabilities. This means you should be able to perform your assigned job duties but fill in other work areas when needed. For example, assume you're in a computer-related occupation in a senior-level staff position. In your manager's absence, you might be expected to communicate with your manager's peers and colleagues with nearly as much expertise as your manager. Your ability to function in your manager's absence can prepare you for a leadership role based on your professional skills and technical knowledge. Therefore, a resume that contains both skill sets is advisable, based on your performance expectations.

    Job Search

    • While it might seem unfair to you, there may be times when you need to downplay your professional attributes. If you've ever been told that you're overqualified, listing just your technical skills on your resume might open up more job opportunities. You're not discounting your professional skills, you're simply focusing on your technical abilities to get the job. Once you get the job, you can begin to exhibit your professional skills to enhance your performance.

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