Skills based resumes use a skills section to convey the often large amount of specific skills that are hyper applicable to the job you’re applying for.
This page provides you with skills based resume templates and further information on how to make your own resume.
Skills Based Resume Templates Menu
What is a Skills Based Resume?
A skills based resume is a type of resume format that uses your specific skills and abilities to show how qualified you are for the job.
Your skills can come from many different places – education & schooling, past work experience, hobby work, or self study. But regardless of where they come from, they need to be organized in a way that’s quick and easy to understand.
Skills based resumes aim to show off your technical abilities above all else so that you can let the employer know that you know what you’re doing.
Who Should Use A Skills Based Resume?
A skills based resume is often chosen by job-seekers that have many intricate and job-specific skills or abilities.
Jobs like medical assistant, HVAC technician, and computer programmer are just some examples of the types of jobs where a skills resume would be a great fit.
If you’re not sure if your past experience lends itself to writing this type of resume format then read on to see specific examples of skills you’d want to list.
How To Make A Skills Based Resume
Now that you understand what a skills based resume is and you’ve decided you’re a good candidate for one, let’s learn how to put together this specialized resume.
The first thing we have to do is understand the types of skills you will use on your resume:
What Type Of Skills Should You Put On Your Resume?
Professional resume skills are a combination of two different types of skills that will go on your resume.
But only the first set of skills, your “technical” skills, will actually require their own section.
Technical or “Hard” Job Skills
Your technical skills, sometimes called your hard skills, are professional skills that apply to a specific career path, industry, or job.
For example, a technical skill for a medical assistant would be an ability to draw blood from a patient. Only somebody in a medical field-related job would be expected to know how to draw blood. But specifically for a medical assistant, it is often a crucial and required skill.
If a job listing calls for lots of these type of job or industry specific skills then you will probably want to have your very own skills section.
Sample Technical Skills
So now that we know technical skills are the skills we will be listing in their own section, how can we know which of our technical skills to add? Let’s take a look at a sample job listing to find out:
Let’s go through and see which requirements listed would be good additions to our skills section.
Working with our applications and databases
They don’t list the specific applications, but if you have experience working with database software then that would be a great technical skill.
Proficient in Microsoft Office programs (Outlook, Excel, Word)
Here they list specific computer software programs that we can list on our resume if we know how to use them. Microsoft Outlook, Excel, & Word.
Ability to type at a minimum rate of 55 wpm
While typing itself would not be an appropriate ability to list, the ability to type at a specific words per minute, or wpm, can be an important requirement listed by employers.
More Examples of Technical Resume Job Skills
Technical skills can be job duties, tools you know how to operate, software you know how to use, or any other job specific qualification.
For example, many office and customer service based jobs will ask that you know some basic office computer software like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
Putting those software titles in a bulleted list on your resume will quickly let the employer know you meet those qualifications.
Let’s now move on to the sorts of skills that will help you describe your past experience.
Transferable or “Soft” Job Skills
Your transferable skills, often called “soft” skills, are skills that you can apply to any job you may do, no matter the specifics.
Transferable skills are things like your ability to communicate or how you handle working under deadlines & pressure.
For the most part, I don’t recommend listing these transferable skills along with your technical skills in a bullet-point format or in their own skills section. Transferable skills are hard to explain in one or two word phrases and are best left as ways to help describe your experience rather than be standalone reasons why you should be hired. Therefore, I’d recommend detailing these soft skills under your job descriptions.
For example, putting that you are an “effective communicator” is not nearly as flattering as taking a full sentence to describe a situation when you actually communicated effectively.
Instead of writing that you are “a quick learner”, describe situations when you had to learn new systems or job duties while still performing your normal daily tasks.
In short, soft job skills are the types of skills that make you adaptable to different workplace personalities and settings. If written and explained correctly, they can give you a great advantage when making your next resume.
How Many Skills Should You Put On A Resume?
A skills based resume is often needed when the job posting asks for a lot of specific qualifications that need to be listed.
When deciding how many skills to list on a resume you should always list a few more than you think you need.
There is not a specific number of skills that you need to put on your resume. Instead, follow the guidelines below to get a better idea of what is the right amount of skills for your industry, level of experience, and other key factors.
It Depends On The Job
One of the first things you need to consider is the job you are applying for. More specifically, you should investigate the job listing and see how many skills or abilities they are asking for. This will vary a lot depending on what type of job you’re looking into.
For example, if you’re applying for a HVAC technician job then there will be a lot more specific tool & ability knowledge expected of you than compared to a sales or customer service type of position.
Regardless of what type of job you’re looking for, let the company itself tell you the types of things they want to see in a candidate. As long as you can include them without your resume stretching onto a second page, add as many of the skills the company is asking for that you possess.
You should not be listing any skills that aren’t relevant to the job. They can often be a distraction to the employer and get in the way of your actual strong points.
If you’re having trouble coming up with at least six different one-or-two word skills to list then you may be better off ditching a skills section and instead describing those abilities inside the job descriptions.
It Depends On How Technical Your Skills Are
All of the skills you list need to be relevant to the job.
Your skills should be organized in such a way to show your depth of experience while not taking up too much space on the page.
With this three column skills based resume on the right, you can fit 13 bulleted skills.
Each skill on this resume can be a little bit longer than normal so don’t be afraid to use phrases instead of one word bullet points.
Different Examples For Different Skill Levels
Looking for a resume with just a little bit of space for skills? Check out this 2 column industry specific skills resume:
If you need some extra space to write your professional summary or to describe your education, you can even remove a few skills.
But for the sake of the format and overall look of the resume, I wouldn’t go less than six total skills – three in each column.
If you like the format but have a few more skills to list, the resume has space for up to 10 skills without going onto a second page.
You can also remove job description bullet points to add even more skills!
This resume can list eighteen skills without spilling over onto a second page.
If you have less information to list on your education, the skills section can be expanded even further.
With this much space, you can list more than single word skills.
You can also try listing skills or abilities that are best worded as a phrase or small sentence.
This is a great resume for any type of trade industry applicant. Listing lots of skills in an easy to read matter is a definite strong suit of this resume.
Keep scrolling to view all of our skills based resume templates.
By now, you should have some idea about which of your skills you need to use this resume. Now it’s time to figure out what your actual skills section will look like:
How To Format Your Skills Section On A Resume
Your skills should be organized differently based on the types of jobs you’re applying for and the types of skills you’ll be listing.
If the job requires an especially wide range of skills over a broad number of topics then you may want to list your skills into different categories. These categories should be based on how the particular company categorizes the skills.
The categories for the more specific job listings can be things such as job titles, or more generic skill headings that don’t overlap.
If the job is more specific and asks more for skills and abilities within a single or small number of topics then it will likely be best to list all of the skills under a single “skills section” heading.
Most skills sections will use a bullet point format with multiple columns. This isn’t necessarily because of stylistic reasons, but more so because it is the best way to use the space on a resume.
Use two to three word phrases to list your skills. Remember that you will have much more space to detail exactly how you used your skills to success further down on your resume.
Layout For A Skills Based Resume
The ideal layout or format for a skills based resume would look something like this:
- Name Heading
- Professional Summary
- Skills Section
- Work Experience
Your skills based resume may end up in a different order but let me explain my choices.
Writing A Professional Summary
Having the professional summary start off your resume (after your name and contact information) is a great way to quickly summarize your professional qualifications. You let the employer know right away that you are a qualified candidate.
The professional summary should go right above the skills section.
Filling Out Your Skills Section
The summary is also a great way to lead in to your skills section. Your summary gives a general idea of your talents, while the skills section comes along and solidifies the individual skills that make you fit for the job.
How you organize your skills is a personal preference, but most people use a bullet point style of listing skills to make each one stand out. It’s also a good idea to use a column type of structure to use as little space as possible to list many skills.
Laying Out Work Experience
On a skills based resume, the work experience section should include examples of you using the skills you listed above.
Your experience should also be described by your achievements as much as possible. After reading your job experience section, an employer should know what skills you have, how you use those skills, and what you’re able to accomplish with those skills.
For examples on what to write, you can look on the job listing from the company. See how they describe the job. Find the similarities between how they write about the job and any former jobs you may have.
Skills Based Resume Templates Free To Download
A skills based resume template provides an applicant a lot of space to list their specific skills and abilities.
This is a great resume for job-seekers in trade industries including IT, various medical fields, and the electrician profession – just to name a few.
All of the following resumes are available free to download.
File Size: 6.2 KB
Total Downloads: 700
This resume template has 3 columns – plenty of space to list all your skills.
This type of resume is especially useful to job-seekers in the trades or any industry that requires a lot of skills.
Have a strong professional summary to bring together the best of your abilities. You’ll have more space to expand later.
File Size: 6.7 KB
Total Downloads: 270
This resume template uses a bolded professional summary to let the employer know you’re qualified.
This can be a great resume to use when you have multiple attributes that meet the employer’s requirements.
The summary works best in one or two sentences.
File Size: 18.2 KB
Total Downloads: 317
This resume can help show off a varied work history, with experience in different industries.
Use relevant headings that fit well with your skills & the employer wants.
This is also a good resume for job-seekers looking to hide some employment gaps.
File Size: 18.1 KB
Total Downloads: 279
This resume template is for job seekers that have worked in the same industry for long parts of their career.
Your summary should include a job title & a sentence about your best skill.
Use the job listing to find keywords the employer is looking for and use them in your summary.
File Size: 19.3 KB
Total Downloads: 115
This resume has 3 columns of skills followed by a large education section, for multiple degrees if needed.
With extra space for education, you can use the resume to apply for jobs & schools.
The employment experience can also be used to show volunteer work if you don’t have paid experience.
File Size: 6.1 KB
Total Downloads: 118
This resume template provides an objective section along with the skills and education and is best for job-seekers without professional experience.
List specific skills that you have developed over your education that apply directly for the job.
You may want to list your education first & omit an objective.
File Size: 7.5 KB
Total Downloads: 66
This functional resume is focused on the skills and abilities you learned while in college.
This resume provides an overview of the knowledge you bring to a company.
While you may not have experience, this resume lets an employer know your understanding of job related topics.
File Size: 7.9 KB
Total Downloads: 132
Even students can have a lot of skills to show off!
This resume has 2 columns of skills to display why you’re qualified for the job.
Still in school? Just change the graduation date by adding “Expected Graduation:” before the actual date.
File Name: college education skills based resume template1.docx
File Size: 7.9 KB
Total Downloads: 132
This resume is great for both college students and graduates.
Your objective should be both a summary of your educational experience and your future aspirations.
If you have multiple degrees or are in a graduate program, there’s enough space to describe all of your skills.
Skills Based Resume FAQ
Answers to frequently asked questions about skills based resumes.
How do I describe my skills on a resume?
The best way to describe your skills will be based on your experience level and the type of job industry you’re in.
If you’re applying for a job in a more technical field, where many skills are required of you, it is usually best to use a skills section on your resume. That way, you can describe your skills in one or two word bursts that allow you to quickly communicate your knowledge.
These words or phrases may be names of computer applications you are proficient in, tools you know how to use, processes you know how to complete, or some other valuable ability you have.
Are skills needed on a resume?
Yes, absolutely! Skills are a valuable thing to have on your resume, no matter how you describe them.
For example, using a skills section won’t always be the best way to describe your abilities. And just because you don’t have a skills section doesn’t mean you still won’t have to describe your skills in a different way.
How do you emphasize skills on a resume?
The easiest way to emphasize anything on a resume is to put it closer to the top, listed first in its section.
If you feel that a skills section is the best way to talk about your skills then it’s probably a good idea to list the skills section before the work experience. That’s because you probably chose this format because you have specific skills the employer needs and want to communicate that as quickly as possible.
It is also important to talk follow up in the work experience section and describe in clear detail how you used your particular skill and what you accomplished. The more you talk about a skill the deeper an understanding you can show, which will help you stand out.
What is the difference between a chronological resume and a skills based resume?
There is not necessarily a difference between a chronological resume and a skills based one. A chronological format is just a way to describe a resume in which the job experience is listed from most to least recent.
On any skills based resume your work experience should still be listed in this chronological format.
View Even More Resume Templates
Skills based resumes can be a great tool in your job hunting arsenal but they aren’t the only type of resume out there.
Check out some of the other categories of resume templates that we offer.