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How To Highlight Your Skills & Experience On Your Resume

How To Highlight Your Skills & Experience On Your Resume

With the recent executive order regarding the government’s hiring process, skills are taking the forefront. In an effort to hire a more diverse workforce, the U.S. government will be giving a candidate’s skills and experience priority over a college degree. And while this is only being implemented at the federal level for now, you can expect companies throughout the country to follow suit. So, how can you put your skills & experiences at the forefront of your resume to get noticed?

Carve out a spot just for relevant skills

This means, you guessed it, that you need to customize your resume to each job you apply to! In this section, you should specifically highlight your skills that match the job description. Here’s a great example from The Balance Careers:

Key skills include:

Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube

Content Editing: Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook), WordPress

Graphic Design: Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro)

Be sure to write out any abbreviations, just in case your resume gets run through an ATS first! We recommend putting this section right at the top so it catches the hiring manager’s eye right away.

Use action words

It will be more important than ever to utilize action words on your resume. Instead of just listing out things you’ve done, explain your role in each project and achievement. This will give you ownership of your accomplishments. It also gives the hiring manager a first-hand look at what kind of an employee you will be. Here are some of our favorite active verbs to use when writing your resume:

Highlight courses or certifications

Just because college degrees may not be the primary factor in whether you get hired, doesn’t mean that what you’ve achieved thus far is irrelevant. Still include your education, and detail the coursework that was relevant to this position. Additionally, feel free to add any courses you’ve taken online, as long as they contribute to your career. And of course, list out any certifications you’ve earned. Some jobs require certifications, and for others, they add to your credibility and self-motivation. Again, be sure to spell out your certifications and include dates of achievement. 

Navigating the current job market alone is tough. Luckily, you have JSG on your side. Once you’ve crafted a great resume, check out more of our job search tips here!

quarantine skills

How to Show Off Your Quarantine Skills

Millions of workers across the globe are taking their extra downtime to acquire new skill sets. If you have been unfortunately laid off or furloughed because of the pandemic, now is an excellent time to hone some new skills. Taking advantage of this time to improve your job search toolkit will make yourself more marketable and hopefully help get you more interview requests. But how do you display these newfound skills you just acquired? Here is how you can successfully show off your new quarantine skills.

Add them to your resume

If you spend hours working on securing a new skill or two during quarantine, you definitely want to add them to your resume. To do this, add a skills section to your resume. We recommend creating a section in your resume to display your skills. You don’t have to go into detail here; just make a nice list of all the relevant skills for the position you wish to apply for. Also, if you receive a certificate for a new skill or course you complete, be sure to add that certification, too! Letting hiring managers know you have achieved these skills is a great way to get a leg up on the competition.

Add them to your LinkedIn profile

After those new skills and courses have found a new home on your resume, it’s time to add them to your LinkedIn profile. Adding all your crucial skill sets, certifications, and accomplishments to your profile is absolutely critical, especially if you’re actively searching for a new job. LinkedIn has specific areas on your profile to add your skills, licenses, certifications, and accomplishments. It’s essential to put these new quarantine skills and achievements in the right area so recruiters can easily find you when running searches on LinkedIn Recruiter. If you display these accomplishments correctly, you are on your way to partnering with a recruiter that can help you find a new opportunity, even during these challenging times.

Here is a brief video tutorial on how to appropriately display LinkedIn skills on your profile.

Let your network know

Now that your resume and LinkedIn are freshly updated with those quarantine skills, share the news with your network! Make a nice little post and share the news with your LinkedIn connections. You will likely get a lot of engagement, words of encouragement, and support, which is nice to hear during these difficult times. Also, you never know who ends up seeing a post sharing your new skills. It may just lead you to a new connection that helps you land an exciting opportunity!

Resume

How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

Resume

As a Sr. Recruiter with over 20 years of experience, I have seen thousands of resumes.  Some have stood out and others fell flat. Your resume creates the first impression for recruiters and hiring managers. Sending a sharp, well-written resume that describes your technical skills and reflects experience relevant to an opening is key to getting noticed. And most importantly, you must include proper grammar and punctuation. Especially when it comes to making sure there are no typos.

Taking the time to really review and clean up your resume is worth doing before you start a job search. A good habit is finding time once a year to update and fine-tune your listed skills and accomplishments. This keeps your resume relevant and ready for a new opportunity.

As a recruiter, I am guilty of resume scanning to identify keywords, skills, and relevant job histories. So here are a few ideas to make your resume stand out to people like me who are scanning them:

Keep the Design Clean and Sharp

  • Say no to Photos and Graphics – They distract from your skills
  • When submitting a resume online via a portal (such as Indeed), the formatting and visuals get lost and can impact the recruiter’s ability to see your skills
  • Don’t use Tables/Columns – They create a distraction for the recruiters
  • Use a readable font and avoid using multiple fonts; it makes the resume hard to follow

Delete the Resume Objective

  • Make yourself stand out! “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in your industry” is old school. Highlight what you bring to the table rather than telling them how hard you work

Replace your Objective with your Skills – Make your Talent Stand Out

  • The days of a “One Page” resume is behind us; sharing your career history and relevant skills makes you more marketable
  • The skills section of your resume includes your abilities that are relevant. Recruiters want to see abilities and expertise that are applicable to the position you are applying for, such as computer skills, software skills, and/or language skills. Specialized or hard-to-find skills are especially important to make you stand out
  • Make sure the skills section of your resume not only highlights the skills for the job you are applying for but also emphasizes how you utilized those skills under your previous positions
    • The closer a match your skills are to the job requirements and how you previously used those skills, the better your chances are for being called for an interview
  • I’m primarily a Technical Recruiter. And I recruit for Information Technology professionals. So if you are a Software Developer, state the programming languages, software, platforms and other Information Technology proficiencies you have
  • In the Digital Age, most employers utilize automated applicant tracking systems and searchable sites such as LinkedIn, Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice to search for specific keywords that match the jobs they are looking to fill. The more skills you share, the more likely it is that your resume will be selected for consideration

Delete Personal Data

  • Omit any reference to your birthdate, marital status or religion. It’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your resume
  • If you’re more than a few years out of college, don’t include your graduation dates or GPA. You don’t want recruiters to inadvertently discriminate based on your age
    • Move your degree to the end of the resume; your skills and most recent positions are more relevant to you getting noticed

Spell Check

  • Grammatical and spelling errors can mean your application is more likely to be overlooked. It is critical for you to make sure your resume has no spelling or grammatical errors before you submit it to a recruiter or hiring manager

Following this advice will help get you noticed in your next job application! Remember, the old adage is true in the world of recruiting: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Happy Job Hunting!