How Can I Best Present My Skills on a Resume?

Posted in Career Blog

The formal resume is really the ticket to getting an interview-as most of us already know-and based on not only the experience and the meat-the content, that is-and format of the resume; but also the way information is presented will determine if we get a second glance or the circular file for an open job position. This said, one of the most common reasons why a person reviewing resumes may toss a resume-without inquiring why-is that the applicant has either too many short bouts of employment on their resume, or too many kinds of employment-that are not related.

Why might these details on a resume send off warning bells in a hiring company’s head? Simply, because if there are many short bouts of employment; the applicant looks like they cannot stay with a company-because they are irresponsible, fickle, or any other reason-but they all spell unprofessional and unreliable-and therefore, undesirable. Closely related is the resume that offers an applicant’s career history as various types of employment-meaning different industries-that are not readily connected. So, for example, perhaps an applicant has had four jobs that they listed on a resume: an ad executive, insurance salesman, fashion store manager, and a freelance writer. While they are all fine choices for employment-there is no transition from why a person would make a transition from one to another. This shows that the candidate is fickle and perhaps has no idea what they want to do for their career; and that they are probably going to try another route a couple months after being hired with that company. While it may be common for us all to try various industries before committing to one; a company does not want to see this-as it offers them nothing in a candidate.

This is why if you are a career changer-for whatever reason it may be-you have to know how to best present your varied or erratic career history; and the best way to do this is through the presentation of the skills you have to offer. So, how do you focus more on skills rather than career positions? The best way to avert attention from your career changing ways to the value of your skills is through the use of a functional resume. A functional resume lists your skills by kind and offers winning examples of each type of skill through specific incident. Here’s how a functional resume helps present your skills to an employer for consideration:

•Highlights Skills: In a standard resume, the skills that you may have to offer a company are often buried in your career history; but in a functional resume, you call to their attention the skills they want in an easy to read and reference format.

•Gives Them What They Want: Perhaps, like most companies, the company you are applying to wants someone with communications skills, leadership, and analytical skills. So, these would be your sub-categories under your skills section; and you would provide examples of times and achievements that prove how great your communications, leadership, and analytical skills are.

•Easy to Customize: Lastly, a company wants to see that you took some time to apply for their position, specifically; by customizing your skills and experience to their needs and company. With a functional resume format, you can easily customize your skills from one position to another.

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