How to Write a Skills based Resume

This category offers employers a skills-based menu of your talents, rather than a chronological list of employment. Don’t confuse the skills for a resume section with an introductory qualifications paragraph or a bulleted summary of your talents. In this case, We refer to a skills for a resume section for candidates who can best benefit from a functional resume format.

resume skills

Some alternative headings for a Skills resume section appear in the following list. Keep in mind that such a heading is only a section head; you can use subheadings under this heading to outline up to a half dozen skill areas that reflect your talents and strengths:

  • Abilities
  • Core Competencies
  • Expertise
  • Key Qualifications
  • Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
  • Proficiency
  • Strengths
  • Summary of Qualifications
  • Talents

Focus on Transferable Skills

Some jobs require you to be bilingual, although not necessarily in a foreign language. We are referring here to the dialect of a particular company or an industry where, to the ears of an outsider, office-speak is similar to a foreign language. For example, all acronyms and codes in the computer industry and medical-insurance billing industries.

You should use caution in loading your skills for a resume with lingo that only co-workers will understand. Also avoid detailed job descriptions that include the names of specific reports, tasks, or processes, especially when looking for work outside your industry.

In the example that follows, note how this medical-practice bookkeeper’s job description was pared down and translated into transferable resume skills.

Here is the job description:

  • Review Superbills daily.
  • Prepare and process DRGs.
  • Prepare Monthly Total Production Report.
  • Prepare Total Monthly Accounts Receivable Report.
  • Prepare Total Monthly Collected for Month Report.
  • Prepare Total Monthly Adjustments Report.
  • Prepare Total Monthly New Patients Report.
  • Prepare Total Monthly Amounts of Surgery Report.
  • Report breakdown for office expenses as to secretarial salaries and office rent. This is to be distributed to other doctors involved in local office and ensure money is collected from them.
  • Prepare payroll summary sheet monthly.
  • Copy all check stubs and balanced checkbook and send to CPA.
  • Prepare expense report for all doctors monthly.
  • Make bank deposits and keep current balance in checkbook up-to-date.
  • Break down tax percentages for employer on each employee.
  • Be responsible for coordinating referral system.
  • Perform billing for Dr. S.
  • Maintain Dr. S. log of surgeries, payments, and appointments.
  • Check on Dr. S. accounts receivable, insurance billing, and payments.
  • Balance checkbook monthly.
  • Order/procure all office supplies as needed.
  • Maintain copy machine supplies and ensure that machine is in proper working order.
  • Maintain files on a current and orderly basis. The following are basic files to be maintained: patient charts, payroll, paid bills, insurance, miscellaneous.
  • Write checks for payroll and bills.
  • Arrange for weekly office meeting (or as indicated).
  • Check cash boxes to make sure proper change is present.
  • Organize and prioritize office-related duties.
  • Assist in answering incoming calls by referring/directing calls and taking messages when necessary.
  • Serve as a back-up receptionist to greet people coming into the office.
  • Give special attention to new patients.
  • Communicate with other offices in your area.
  • Monthly calendar scheduling of receptionist’s and records clerk’s hours.
  • Examine and double-check outgoing mail for insurance and billing.
  • Ensure that all financial information is logged in and information is transferred to accountant.

The preceding long job description was distilled into the following resume copy:

Provide accounting and office-management services for five-physician multispecialty practice. Perform bookkeeping functions, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, monthly tax deposits, quarterly reports, journal entries, and general ledger reconciliation. Experience in complex medical billing processes. Schedule and supervise office staff charged with reception, scheduling, records management, and customer service.

Skills for functional format

If you have chosen a functional format to present your experience, present the bulk of your talents and experience in this section. We will present the basics in a three-step plan and let you work out the details for your unique situation:

 1) Focus on three to five skill areas

These will become your subheadings under the skills for a resume category. Choose disciplines or occupational areas for your subheadings rather than personal skills. Note the difference between occupational skills and personal skills in the following lists. Occupational headings carry more weight with employers. Remember that most employers dislike functional resumes to begin with; to pull this format off, you’ll need to make sure it’s meaty.

Occupational Skills: Event planning, fundraising, customer service, marketing, sales, engineering, case management, project coordination, training, office management, inventory management, and so on.

Personal Skills: Analytical skills, communication skills, problem-solving skills, organizational talents, attentiveness to detail, and so on.

2) The selection of your subheadings will be driven by the types of positions you are targeting

Choose for your subheadings words that can be broadly interpreted, compared to specific job titles. For instance, “Customer Service” as a subheading would be more widely understood by the general public and preferred over a company-specific title such as “Client Account Specialist”.

3) Develop 2 to 5 sentences that encapsulate your experience

After you have selected your subheadings, develop 2 to 5 sentences for your experience for each subheading. Refer back to the ideas under “Where to Find Material for Your Job Descriptions.”. Whenever possible, pair experience statements with evidence of where you gained the experience.

It’s very important to include clues that will help the reader understand when and where you’ve done things. There will be a natural curiosity to know the “whens” and “wheres”; not saying so is one of the major irritants of a functional format. If you claim to have sales experience, employers will want to know whether it was recent experience with a reputable employer, compared to running a lemonade stand in your youth. Answering these unvoiced questions will lessen suspicions about an unstable work history.

For instance, compare these Before and After versions:

Before

Sales: Demonstrated an aptitude for sales; regularly met sales quotas.

After

Sales: Readily transferable sales skills. Demonstrated ability to Building customer relationships and maintain accurate inventory counts on in-store supplies; as a “Retail Sales/Buyer” Contribute to helping the Woodson Lumber Company be the most profitable location out of 5.

Check your top skills

To determine your best career choices, you must be able to identify and build on your skills and abilities. Rate yourself on each following skill and then choose your top resume skills:

Technical Skills

  • Account Management
  • Accounting
  • Administration
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Adult Care
  • Advertising
  • Appraising
  • Arc Welding
  • Architect
  • Artist–Illustrator
  • Assembly Line Work
  • Audio-Visual
  • Auditing
  • Automotive
  • Banking
  • Barber
  • Bookkeeping
  • Brokers
  • Building Maintenance
  • Business Management
  • Buyer
  • Capital Development
  • Career Development
  • Carpenter
  • Cash Flow Management
  • Cashier–Checkout
  • Chemistry
  • Child Care
  • Clergy
  • Clerk
  • Communications
  • Community Relations
  • Computer Sciences
  • Conservationist
  • Construction–Labor
  • Consulting
  • Consumer Affairs
  • Corporate Executive
  • Cost Analysis
  • Counseling
  • Curriculum Development
  • Customer Relations
  • Data Processing
  • Delivery
  • Department Manager
  • Designing
  • Development
  • Dietician
  • Drafting
  • Drama
  • Driving
  • Editor/Editing
  • Education
  • Electronics
  • Employee Relations
  • Engineering
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Farm Work
  • Fashion/Clothing
  • Field Research
  • Filing
  • Film and Video
  • Finance
  • Fitness Consultant
  • Flight Attendant
  • Food Preparation
  • Food Services
  • Foreign Languages
  • Forklifting
  • Franchise Management
  • Gardening
  • Geology
  • Government Service
  • Graphic Design
  • Groundskeeping
  • Health Sciences
  • Hotel Management
  • Housekeeping
  • Import/Export
  • Insurance
  • Interior Designer
  • International Business
  • Interviewing
  • Inventory Control
  • Jeweler
  • Journalism
  • Laboratory Technician
  • Legal Services
  • Loading–Unloading
  • Loans
  • Machine Operation
  • Mail Clerk
  • Make-up, Cosmetology
  • Management
  • Market Research
  • Marketing
  • Mathematician
  • Medical Services
  • Military
  • Modeling
  • Municipal Work
  • Music
  • Nurse
  • Office Management
  • Performing Arts
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Photographer
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physicist
  • Plumber
  • Police and Security
  • Printing
  • Product Development
  • Product Management
  • Proofreading
  • Psychologist
  • Public Relations
  • Publishing
  • Purchasing
  • Quality Control
  • Radio
  • Real Estate
  • Receptionist
  • Recruiting
  • Recycling
  • Remodeling
  • Repairing
  • Reporting
  • Research and Development
  • Retail Sales
  • Robotics
  • Sales Representative
  • Secretarial
  • Securities
  • Security Guard
  • Social Worker
  • Special Education
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Sports
  • Statistics
  • Supervisor
  • Switchboard
  • Systems Analysis
  • Teacher
  • Telecommunications
  • Therapy
  • Trade Shows
  • Training
  • Transportation
  • Travel Agent
  • Truck Driver
  • Veterinarian
  • Visual Arts
  • Volunteer Services
  • Waiter/Waitress
  • Warehouse Work
  • Waste Disposal
  • Word Processing
  • Writer

Job Specific Skills

Management Skills

  • Administrative
  • Analyzing performance
  • Coordinating programs
  • Delegating responsibility
  • Evaluating performance
  • Executing programs
  • Improving techniques
  • Increasing sales
  • Monitoring people
  • Monitoring tasks
  • Motivating people
  • Organizing people and tasks
  • Planning
  • Prioritizing
  • Recruiting and hiring
  • Reorganizing
  • Restructuring
  • Reviewing
  • Scheduling
  • Supervising

Communication Skills

  • Addressing the public
  • Advising people
  • Arbitrating
  • Arranging functions
  • Coaching
  • Correspondence
  • Counseling
  • Directing people and tasks
  • Editing
  • Entertaining people
  • Fundraising
  • Handling complaints
  • Instructing
  • Lecturing
  • Meeting the public
  • Moderating
  • Negotiating
  • Persuading
  • Promoting events
  • Publicizing products
  • Public Relations
  • Recruiting
  • Running meetings
  • Selling
  • Setting up demonstrations
  • Teaching
  • Translating
  • Writing press releases

Research Skills

  • Analyzing
  • Calculating
  • Clarifying
  • Compiling statistics
  • Evaluating programs
  • Indexing
  • Organizing programs
  • Organizing data
  • Summarizing
  • Systematizing

Financial Skills

  • Appraising
  • Auditing financial records
  • Balancing
  • Billing (A/P, A/R)
  • Bookkeeping
  • Budget management
  • Calculating
  • Computing
  • Forecasting trends
  • Invoicing
  • Payroll
  • Projecting future growth
  • Purchasing
  • Raising funds
  • Tax preparation

Creative Skills

  • Conceptualizing
  • Creating new ideas
  • Creating new products
  • Creating new techniques
  • Designing
  • Developing
  • Establishing
  • Founding
  • Illustrating
  • Implementing
  • Integrating
  • Introducing
  • Inventing
  • Originating
  • Performing
  • Planning
  • Revitalizing

Clerical Skills

  • Arranging functions
  • Billing
  • Calculating
  • Cataloguing and Filing
  • Compiling information
  • Computer skills
  • Coordinating itinerary
  • Correspondence
  • Dictation
  • Dispatching
  • Editing reports/letters
  • Generating information
  • Monitoring
  • Organizing office and tasks
  • Prioritizing
  • Reading materials
  • Report writing
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Systematizing information
  • Typing

Computer Skills

  • Creating new software
  • Data Entry
  • Designing new systems
  • Knowledge of programs: Accounting Programs, Databases, Languages (C, Java, etc.), Spreadsheets, Word Processing
  • Maintaining computers
  • Operating systems
  • Programming
  • Repairing systems

Task-Oriented Skills

  • Accurate
  • Adaptable
  • Ambitious
  • Analytical
  • Artistic talent
  • Awareness (i.e., of market trends)
  • Capable
  • Clear-thinker
  • Commitment to growth
  • Competent
  • Conscientious
  • Cooperative
  • Creative
  • Dedicated
  • Dependable
  • Eager
  • Efficient
  • Energetic
  • Enterprising
  • Eye for detail
  • Farsighted
  • Flexible
  • Gets things done right the first time
  • Goal directed
  • Good judgment
  • Hard worker
  • High achiever
  • High energy
  • Highly motivated
  • Honest
  • Imaginative
  • Independent
  • Industrious
  • Innovative
  • Leadership ability
  • Loves a challenge
  • Loyal
  • Manages time efficiently
  • Methodical
  • Meticulous
  • Motivated
  • Optimistic
  • Orderly
  • Organized
  • Perfectionist
  • Persistent
  • Problem solver
  • Productive
  • Punctual
  • Quick learner
  • Realistic
  • Reliable
  • Resourceful
  • Risk taker
  • Self-motivated
  • Sense of humor
  • Sensitive
  • Serious
  • Shrewd
  • Sincere
  • Team player
  • Through
  • Trustworthy
  • Verbal
  • Versatility
  • Visionary
  • Works well under pressure

People-Oriented Skills

  • Ability to motivate others
  • Congenial
  • Cooperative
  • Courteous
  • Diplomatic
  • Eloquent
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Friendly
  • Generous
  • Gets along well with others
  • Good listener
  • Helpful
  • Leadership qualities
  • Optimistic
  • Outgoing
  • Patience
  • Sense of humor
  • Sensible
  • Supportive
  • Sympathetic
  • Team worker
  • Tolerant of others
  • Understanding