The skills section allows you to draw the recruiter's attention to what makes you supremely qualified for the job.
If you’re starting with an older resume template, there might not be a Skills section on it. Or, the Skills might be relegated to the bottom of the document. Today, your skillset is an important way to distinguish yourself and highlight your technical skills. In fact, it’s now the best practice to highlight your relevant skills in the top half of your resume. We find that the best resumes include skills at the top or along a sidebar in a 2-column layout.
In this section of your resume:
Organize your skills into 2-3 categories, so they’re easy to understand.
Include the 5 hard skills you are honestly strongest in.
Include the 5 soft skills most relevant for the job (assuming you have them).
Include 5 skills you possess that not everyone does (assuming they’re relevant).
Don’t bother including skills that everyone knows (Microsoft Office, Microsoft Word).
If you’re having trouble getting started:
Find 3-5 people who do the role you’re interested in on Linkedin and stalk their skills section.
Take 3-5 job descriptions you’re excited about and copy-paste the text of them into a word cloud generator, such as TagCrowd. Pull out the skills that show up that you actually do have, and add those in.
Ask yourself what your current or past manager has told you you’re great at. Add some of those!
If you’ve got a good draft and you’re not sure it’s great yet, that’s OK. You can come back around to finalize the skills section after you write the bullet points.
About ⅓ of job seekers we work with at Placement end up with one more section on their resume: Projects, Activities, or Interests.
This varies by person, and you should only include it if you’ve truly done something out of the ordinary outside work. As a general rule of thumb, don’t include something unless you’ve spent 100 hours on it.
Some examples include:
Co-Founder, Sideproject.com. Concepted and built a product allowing travelers to receive custom local recommendations from travel experts for $15
Organizer, SF Data Science Meetup. Grew membership from 300 to 1,500 over two years, booking speakers monthly
Independent YouTube Creator. Planned, shot, promoted, and edited over 600 videos centered on consumer electronics, user tutorials, and product reviews, earning 9.8MM total views
International Marathon Runner. Ran marathons in 11 countries (and counting!)
If you have something truly unique to showcase, this is an opportunity to present yourself as well-rounded and show your human side to the hiring team. If you do include this section, add it at the very bottom of your resume. It’s a way of showing you go the extra mile.