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How to Write a Skills-Based Resume: Template and Examples

A skills-based resume can highlight your practical capabilities and disguise employment gaps. Do you know how to write a skills-based resume that wows?

Donna Wright Profile
By Donna Wright 3 minute read

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Skills-based resume

There are many different resume formats out there, and when you’re looking for a type of resume that reflects your talents, you might need to consider something that’s different from the norm. The functional resume, also called the skills-based resume, is a great way to put relevant skills at the top of your resume, including significantly more key skills than you usually would with another resume format. Here’s how you can write a professional resume that highlights your skills.

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What is a skills-based resume?

If you’re looking for a resume that really highlights your skills, then you’re typically going to turn to a resume format that highlights skills. The chronological resume and combination resume both put work history in the spotlight at least somewhat, which means that it’s the functional resume format that you might want to look toward. This format, which is also called the skills-based resume, is a great way to get through a resume that has less employment history and more skill categories, as it emphasizes your skill sets.

A skills-based resume will still have all the same headings as a chronological or combination resume.

  • Start your resume with a header, which will include your full name, phone number, email address and any job networking profile links such as LinkedIn.
  • Write a resume summary or resume objective, which will showcase your best professional experience and technical skills in two to three sentences.
  • Even though it’s a skill-based resume, you’ll still have a work history section. Include volunteer work, work that provides  you with transferable skills and other job experience.
  • Also include an education section, where you can include all certifications, training and college education, if applicable.

The important thing to remember is that while you’ll still have all of these headings, you’ll be focusing more on your technical skills and soft skills over what you learned at a previous job.

Who is a skills-based resume best for?

Typically, a skills-based resume works best for the following people:

  • Job candidates with limited work history
  • Job candidates with large employment gaps
  • Job candidates pursuing a career change

In these situations, creating a resume that highlights your work experience section would show a lack of experience.. That can make it significantly more difficult to impress a hiring manager. However, if you have lots of skills, you can position those at the top and give recruiters a reason to want to continue reading your resume.

Remember, skills-based resumes aren’t recommended for every job seeker. If you have a lot of work history, including internships, volunteer work and academic work, then write  a work-based resume.

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Three examples of effective skills-based resumes

Sometimes, resume samples can be helpful in understanding a resume style. Here are a few resume examples from the ResumeHelp website to give more insight into skills-based resumes.

1. Radiologic Technologist Student

This resume lists ten different skills, setting them near the top of the resume, just below the professional summary. The skills include soft skills like, “Excellent oral and written communication skills,” as well as technical skills like, “Proficient in major X-ray systems.” This approach works well because, as a student, all of the applicant’s experience is academic, so she needs a way to indicate why she’s qualified for the job title.

2. Tim Hortons Supervisor

This resume lists 11 skills, and they all shine well in the resume. The applicant is fluent in four languages, indicates hero ability to upsell to a customer and states that she’s a team player, which she needs to be to supervise at a fast-food restaurant. Although the applicant has around four years of experience, it’s all with a single company at two separate locations. These skills allow her to showcase her work ability more effectively.

3. Pathology Collector

This resume uniquely splits the Clinical Skills section into “Competent In”, “Observed and Assisted” and “Other skills and attributes.” Altogether, there are 17 skills in this resume, but with the splitting up tactic, no section has more than seven individual skills. That means this applicant, who has a lot of academic experience and much less on-site experience, is able to showcase what she’s best at more easily.

FAQ: Skills-based Resume

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Any skills that are relevant to the job description should go in your skills section. However, remember that you also need to be thinking about what you’re genuinely good at. Consider writing down a list of your best skills and compare them to the specific skills and resume keywords the job application is asking for. On your resume, be sure to list your skills that match the job posting.

Typically, once you gain ample work experience in your field, your skills stop being the main focus of your resume. If that’s the case, switch from a skills-based resume and create a resume that focuses significantly more on your work experience. Your job search type should fuel your resume style, and if you have lots of work experience, then you should consider changing to a different resume template.

Yes. The ResumeHelp resume builder is a great tool if you’re trying to create any resume, regardless of the format. With this resume builder, you can find the right resume template, add your information and proceed with your job search as quickly as possible.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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