Resumes

How to Write a Skills Based Resume

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If you’re applying for a position with many skills and accomplishments to feature, you should use a resume format that highlights them properly. A skills based resume lists your skills at the top of the document to help it stand out to hiring managers. In this article, you can learn more about a skills based resume and how to include the skills that are relevant to the role you’re applying for.

What is a skills based resume?

A skills based resume, also known as a functional resume, is a resume format that focuses more directly on your skills. This format differs from a chronological format because a skills based resume list your skills at the top while a chronological resume lists your experience at the top and skills toward the middle or bottom. Many job applicants use a skills based resume to better emphasize their relevant skills to capture the hiring manager’s attention. 

When to use a skills based resume

Here are some reasons to consider when you should use a skills based resume format: 

  • You’ve served in internships, volunteer work or temporary positions 
  • You have large gaps in your employment history 
  • You’re switching to a new field or industry and have unrelated work experience
  • You’re a recent graduate with little to no work experience
  • All of your experience is from different positions within the same company 

These are some of the most common instances when a skills based resume is the best format to use when styling your resume. 

How to write a skills based resume

Follow the steps below to write an effective skills based resume:

1. First, note your relevant skills

Before writing your resume, you should determine what skills you have and note them. Try to only list skills relevant to the position. For example, if you’re applying for a role as a writer, you should list skills like researching, proofreading or editing. Research skills related to your specific position to gain a better idea of which skills are best to mention on a resume. 

2. Second, input your contact information

You can now start writing your resume by inputting your contact information. In the header, input your first and last name, followed by your email address and phone number. You can also add your physical address, if desired. Listing your contact information at the top of your resume makes it easy for employers to quickly discover how to reach you.  

3. Third, list each of your relevant skills and align them with the job posting

List your skills at the top of your resume. Since this is one of the first sections the hiring manager may see, you should list as many relevant skills as possible that may stand out to them. The employer is searching for skills that directly relate to their position. View the job posting for the role to learn which skills they prefer or require and use those throughout your resume. This tells the hiring manager you have the skills they need to be successful in the position. 

4. Fourth, feature your skills in the job experience section

As you build the work experience section of your resume, list the skills you used and any accomplishments you made while performing these tasks. Write the company you worked at, followed by the job title you worked in, your start and end date as well as the city and state the company is located in. If you worked in a temporary role, internship or volunteer position, list these in this section if you believe they’re relevant to the qualifications of the role you’re applying for.

You can then list your responsibilities and accomplishments in separate bullet points. Start each line with an action verb. Detail each responsibility you completed and use numbers as proof of any accomplishments you made or the results you brought the company. Try to include each skill you used when describing your work responsibilities. This gives the hiring managers a better understanding of how your experience and skills can benefit their company.

5. Next, add your education

List your education in its own section under your work experience. Use a chronological style when adding your education by mentioning your most recent institution first. Write the name of the school you attended, followed by the degree you earned. Add the city and state of the school as well as your graduation date. Review the job posting to ensure your education matches the required education listed in the document.

You can also list any academic achievements during your time at the institution. This can include listing a high GPA you earned, any academic organizations you were a member of, honors programs you were a part of or scholarships you received. This allows hiring managers to see your dedication to improving your education and learning more about your field of study.

6. Finally, mention any languages you’re fluent in

If you’re fluent in more than one language, this can impress hiring managers and may help your resume stand out among other applicants. Mention any languages you speak by listing them at the bottom of your resume in their own section.

Skills based resume template

You can use the template below to help you build an effective functional resume: 

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Email address] 
[Phone number] 

Skills 

[List ten to twenty relevant skills 1]  
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 2]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 3]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 4]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 5]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 6]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 7]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 8]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 9]
[List ten to twenty relevant skills 10]

Experience 

[Job title you held] 

[Name of the company you worked for] 

[Month and year you started at the position] – [Month and year you ended the position] 

[City and state the company is located in] 

  • [Detail your relevant job duties and responsibilities starting with an action verb 1]
  • [Detail your relevant job duties and responsibilities starting with an action verb 2]
  • [Detail your relevant job duties and responsibilities starting with an action verb 3]

Education 

[Name of the institution you attended], [Degree you earned] 

[City and state the institution is located in] 

  • [List academic accomplishments, organizations you were a member of, scholarships you earned or your GPA] 

Languages

[Mention any languages you speak, if fluent in more than one]

Skills based resume example

Refer to the example below and use it as a guide to help you create your own skills based resume:

Taylor Andrews
Taylorandrews@email.com
(555) 555-5555

Skills 

  • Analytical and data-driven
  • Adobe InDesign and PhotoShop experience 
  • Verbal and written communication
  • Organizational and time-management 
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving 
  • Public speaking and presentation 
  • Storytelling abilities
  • Collaboration and team-building 
  • Proofreading and editing 
  • Search Engine Optimization knowledge 
  • Marketing and advertising campaign creation experience

Experience 

Marketing Coordinator

Johnson Designs 

June 2017 – Present 

Denver, Colorado 

  • Apply my Adobe Photoshop skills to edit logos for clients twice a day
  • Plan and manage clients’ advertising campaigns that increase brand awareness by 35% in three months
  • Use my analytical and data-driven skills to review and present campaign results to clients

Education 

Colorado State University, Bachelor of Arts, Journalism and Media Communication

Fort Collins, Colorado 

3.8 GPA

  • Member of Business Diversity and Leadership Alliance 
  • Vice President of Journalism and Media Club 

Languages

  • Spanish: Conversational
  • French: Conversational