When you're switching careers or if you don't quite have the work experience a prospective employer is looking for, a skills-based resume may be the most effective way to show that you're qualified for the position. These types of resumes put your skills front-and-center, potentially making it easier for employers to see your eligibility. You have several ways to create this type of resume.
The format for a skills-based resume is somewhat self-explanatory; it includes a list of your strongest skills at the top of the resume. You'll typically create a section heading titled "Skills" or "Relevant Skills," and then list the skills you possess that match the job at hand in a bullet-point format. This is different than the "traditional" resume in that a traditional one lists your work experience first, typically in reverse chronological order. Listing your best skills right off the bat allows you to focus specifically on your professional skills, even if you don't have the specific work experience the potential employer wants.
Another style for a skills-based resume is something of a combination or "hybrid" style that focuses less on the details of your past employment and more on the specific skills you have. With this type of resume, you'd create a section called "Selected Work Experience" or "Relevant Work Experience" at the top of the resume. You then list the job title and dates of employment, followed by a bullet point list of the skills you obtained or honed in that job. This is different from a traditional resume because in a traditional resume, you're focused on the job duties as opposed to specific skills, and you're not always detailing those duties in a list format. Because you're talking about your relevant skills in a skills-based resume, you also don't need to list all the jobs you've had. List only the jobs that are relevant -- hence the "Relevant Work Experience" heading.
Another way to format the skills-based resume is to include more detail following each bullet point, creating a mini-outline of sorts. For example, if the company is looking for a "detail-oriented" person, you'd create a bullet point that says "Detail-Oriented," and then you'd go to the next line, create an indentation, and then type dashes that provide more detail about how you obtained that skill or how you've used it in practice. You could then move onto listing three to five other important skills in the same format.
Whether you use a traditional resume or one of the skills-based resume styles, you'll also have to decide whether to include an "Objective" section. On the one hand, it provides you another way to include some of your skills. On the other hand, it relegates the skills section to the second section. When hiring managers have hundreds of resumes to sort through, a poorly-written or ineffective objective could make the manager discount you before even reviewing the skills.
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images