Professional Ways to List Skills in a Resume


Professional skills are what sell your resume; employers look at these skills and judge whether you can do their prescribed job or not. Properly highlighting your skills is extremely important, as employers need to quickly identify your main strengths within a short glance of your resume. There are several generally accepted ways to list your skills depending on your industry, current career status and goals.


  • Listing skills in a category format is ideal for entry-level and general jobs; these skills are valuable to most employers regardless of industry. For example, computer skills are a common requirement in many jobs. You could list your proficiency with basic computer software such as office suites, database management programs and accounting software under computer skills. Other general categories include foreign languages and management skills.

Industry Relevance

  • This format is ideal for people in highly technical fields or those with focused industry expertise. These skills often come in job advertisements as keywords; employers will mainly look for these terms when judging a resume. For example, a computer programming job will require coding skills in specific software and technical math skills. Some marketing jobs require analytical skills, strategy and design. These are often highlighted near the top of the resume in a summary or bulleted format.


  • People in non-technical fields or with long careers can list their acquired skills in each of their past jobs. This broadens the resume toward a career highlight focus; the skills are tied to your greatest accomplishments in each job. For example, “recognized as the top-earning employee” in a retail job emphasizes your customer service and sales skills. You could also list the specific training you acquired in each job as well as using enterprise software or HR recruitment.

Skill Resume

  • Skill resumes are designed for people who have the necessary skills for a job but may not have the qualifying experience. This resume is commonly used among newly graduating students; they use this format to highlight their skills from school, volunteer organizations and extracurricular activities. Skills take up the main body of the resume and are categorized under an overall skill set. For example, Virginia Tech Career Services shows a skill resume template with overarching categories such as management and communications. Under each set, you would list applicable skills learned in the classroom and school organizations.

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