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Sarah Morgan

How to Decide Which Skills Go on Your Resume

Your future employer doesn’t need to know everything about you – only what makes you a good candidate for the job.

Job seekers know that a well-written resume is the key to getting an interview. It can be tricky, however, to determine what exactly should go on your resume and what can be left out. Your future employer doesn’t need to know everything about you – only what makes you a good candidate for the job.

Here’s how to make sure your resume features the most important highlights:

Before writing your resume:

Before you start writing your resume, read the job description carefully. This will help you get a sense of what the employer is looking for in a candidate and which of your skills and accomplishments are most relevant for the position.

Then, think about how your experiences in school, at internships and at work have helped you develop the key skills identified in the job description. Even if some of your past jobs don’t seem impressive or resume-worthy at first glance, think about what you’ve learned from the projects and tasks you were assigned.

For example, you could have learned valuable customer service, problem-solving and organizational skills through a summer retail job. The key is to identify the experiences that helped you develop the critical skills that make you a good fit for the position for which you are applying.

Formatting your resume:

Once you know what you want to include in your resume, consider how you’re going to organize the information. You’ll want to include your contact information, work experience, education, and relevant skills, but you don’t have to necessarily follow that order.

One of the most common resume formats is the chronological resume, which starts with your work history and lists your most recent experience first. This format works best when you have an extensive work history that is in the same line of work as the job for which you are applying, offers The Balance.

If you’re just entering the workforce or have limited experience in your field, you might consider using a combination resume format, which allows you to emphasize your most relevant skills first, followed by your work history. This format is ideal if you want to highlight your skills and knowledge without attaching them to any one job experience.

Writing your resume:

When describing your past experience and accomplishments, begin each statement with an action verb, such as “directed” or “supervised.” Leading with an action word gives your sentence momentum while making it clear what your responsibilities were and how you took personal control of what was accomplished.

You should also include quantifiable results whenever possible. Using data to back up your claims will strengthen a prospective employer’s understanding of your skills and your achievements.

Finally, once you have a complete draft, read through it several times to ensure that you have incorporated all of the relevant key words and skills that you identified in the job posting within your descriptions.

Remember that your resume is your foot in the door. A well-written resume will make employers take notice and increase your chances of getting an interview!

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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