Skills-Based Resume: Templates + How To Write Guide

Your resume is an essential marketing tool you can use to get noticed by recruiters and hiring managers for your dream job.

But if you don’t have the experience or are switching careers, sometimes the traditional chronological resume won’t do.

That’s when you want to focus on crafting a functional or skills based resume. Be sure to include a cover letter too when applying for the job.

When you’re trying to write a winning skills based resume, there are a few key aspects to keep in mind. Consider these effective tips for mastering writing a skills-based resume template:

1. Add a Profile to Skills Based Functional Resume

Your profile or professional summary should provide potential employers with a general overview of what you can do and should be the first part of your skills based functional resume that you list.

Use powerful action verbs that demonstrate your abilities in improving operational efficiency, supporting customers, managing a team or other important tasks to the company.

Some action verbs you can use include “programmed,” “chaired,” “coached,” “achieved,” “streamlined” and “amplified.” Start the sentences of your professional summary with these powerful action verbs to increase the impact of your resume.

2. Tell a Story with Your Talent

A skills based resume template makes it simple to highlight a job seeker’s talents. But if you want to win at writing a skills based resume, then it’s important to craft in a way that tells a story about your skills. Explain how you used each skill.

For instance, you can describe how you used your specialized software development skills in machine learning to design an app that helped a nonprofit organization to better target donors and generate leads by analyzing large data sets.

3. Highlight Unique Skills

Listing skills, such as Word, MS Office or PowerPoint skills won’t single you out among a crowd of word processor savvy candidates. In fact, these skills are can be seen as minimal skills for most jobs these days. If you want to outshine your competition, make sure you highlight unique skills you have that are highly sought after.

For instance, you can highlight your Python and SQL programming skills, mastery of data visualization tools and other key data science skills on a software engineer resume that you customize for a junior data scientist role.

Related Read: Resume Objective Examples For A Compelling Resume

4. Showcase a Variety of Skills

The types of skills you have aren’t the only aspects that make your functional resume stand out. It’s the mix of skills that can get you noticed, too.

Make sure you list a variety of skills that your potential employers are searching for, such as mentioning your skills in creative content strategy, social media analytics and search engine optimization (SEO) for a position as a social media manager.

You can also include different types of skills, such as personal skills like being a team player with transferable skills, including negotiation or change management skills.

5. Display Relevant Skills

Instead of listing every skill you may have, it’s better to list the skills that are relevant to the position. This helps you to have a more focused functional resume so that recruiters can have a better idea if you are an ideal candidate for the position or not.

For instance, as a product manager, you can include transferable skills from past projects or jobs, such as communication between the engineering and design teams and leadership skills on managing the entire product development lifecycle, on your functional product manager resume if you are switching careers.

6. Include Your Accomplishments

You can win your audience over by creating a skills-based resume that includes what you’ve achieved with your skills. Make sure to list your accomplishments alongside your skills to demonstrate how the results your skills can bring.

For instance, you can describe how your social media marketing skills helped you grow your blog audience from 100 followers to 2,000 engaged followers within two months.

7. Include your portfolio URL

Your functional resume is just a glimpse at your capabilities, so make room for your portfolio link. Your portfolio can provide interested recruiters with an in-depth look of your capabilities and more insight on how you organize and edit your content for presentation.

You can also include a link to your professional social media account, such as your LinkedIn profile.

8. Leverage a Resume Template

Instead of doing the work entirely on your own, you can take advantage of a resume template to create a stellar skills-based resume. You can use resume templates to save time and even enhance the look of your resume with customized formats.

9. Include Your Work Experience

Even if you lack professional work experience, it’s important to include relevant volunteer experiences or internships you’ve completed. For example as a nurse practitioner, so that hiring managers can have insights on how you applied skills on the job as a healthcare practitioner.

Include work experience on freelance projects or consulting work you’ve completed too, for example, in your nursing resume. Just keep this section brief.

10. List Your Education

Whether you’ve trained at a local college or went to an Ivy League school, it’s critical to include any form of relevant education or training on your resume.

List schools and training programs you’ve completed, let’s say in your engineering profession either as a mechanical engineer or an electrical engineer, in chronological order starting with the most recently completed program.

Leave out months and focus on the year you completed them from your engineering resume. You can also leave off completion dates older than 15 years.

11. Include Extras

Continue to sell your experience and skill set by including additional sections your potential employer may find relevant or interesting, such as any articles you’ve published, professional affiliations you may have or professional development courses you’ve completed.

For instance, you may include your affiliation with a local digital marketing group or chapter if you’re applying for a digital marketing role.

Marissa Letendre, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Marissa Letendre is a senior HR leader and resume expert with over 12 years of experience. She has worked for both startups and Fortune 50 corporations and has helped thousands land jobs at top companies. Marissa has written on a wide range of topics, including employee engagement, career development, resumes, job searching, recruiting, and organizational effectiveness and has been featured on sites such as Slack and The Undercover Recruiter.

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