Applying for jobs is always terrifying. I have been incredibly guilty of either drastically changing my resume or sending the same one off to multiple jobs. Neither one of these techniques is really the right one. However, I have learned from my mistakes. Some valuable pieces of advice that I received from an HR recruiter is related to the resume skills section. Every section on your resume should be incredibly important. That being said, I think the resume skills section often gets overlooked. What I used to do was put anything and everything under this section. This included organized, adaptable, good listener, etc. Although, these are great skills to have. They are a bit generic and I don’t think they necessarily help your case.
So, I am going to take what I learned and help you out with boosting your resume skills section. I think these tips will really help you strengthen your resume as a whole. After all, the resume should be really strong to get you noticed!
Use Skills, Not Traits
Remember when I said that I would write things like “good listener” or my resume skills section? Well, these are technically traits or soft skills. From my understanding, recruiters want to see hard skills. This means skills like legal or optimization. As a blogger, I would most likely use hard skills like design, analytics, editing, and writing.
So, why should you not use soft skills? There’s nothing wrong with using soft skills on a resume. However, when in the interview process, your resume is being compared to another candidate.
It’s good to have those hard skills written on there because they make you stand out. For example, how many people know how to listen, organize, and adapt? If they’re even being considered for the job, most of the time they have these skills too. Using hard skills on a resume gives you a leg up because hard skills are taught. You learn how to design and you learn how to interpret analytics. Therefore, these are skills the job won’t necessarily have to teach you, making you an attractive candidate.
Mimic The Job Posting
Most recruiters run your resume through an automated program. It typically scans for keywords in your resume. So, where do you find these keywords? In the job posting! I suggest that every resume you send should somehow mimic the job posting. Sometimes, you can’t always fit this in bullet points in your resume. That’s when you should utilize your resume skills section. For example, say you are applying for a position that involves SEO. The job listing might say something like, “Must be well versed in SEO marketing”. What you should do is include SEO marketing in your resume skills section. And guess what? This is also a hard skill!
Have A Theme
Like I’ve said, you should tailor your resume to each job posting to optimize your chances of being considered. However, your resume skills section should have a theme. Much like a strong job posting, your resume skills section should be strong with the skills that relate to the description. For example, for a job as an assistant editor of a magazine, you shouldn’t have accounting, editing, legal, and SEO marketing in your skills section. Yes, it’s great to be versatile, but they seem so vastly different. Instead, you should use writing, editing, reporting, and content management. They are all related to the job description of an assistant editor, don’t you think?
Now, what if the job posting is all over the place? Well, most likely the poster doesn’t really know what they are looking for. But we will get into that in a later post.
Question of the day: Do you find yourself having a hard time crafting the perfect resume skills section?
As always, if you like these types of posts or if you are looking for more career-related advice, click here.