What are the Best Tips for Writing a Resume Skills List?

M.C. Huguelet

A resume skills list can provide an excellent opportunity to give potential employers a summary of one’s most valuable attributes. By following a few basic tips, it is possible to create a strong resume skills list. Firstly, for the most impact, limit the length of the resume skills list, and try to use as many keywords as possible. In addition, make sure that all claims are factually accurate. Finally, proofread the skills list thoroughly to ensure it is free from errors.

A resume.
A resume.

Many job applicants make the mistake of creating a very long resume skills list in hopes of distinguishing themselves from other applicants. Instead of impressing a prospective employer, however, an overly long skills list can sabotage an applicant’s chances of getting an interview. Long lists can appear messy and careless, and can cause an applicant’s most significant talents and attributes to become lost among an inventory of less important qualities. Rather than cataloging dozens of skills, highlight approximately ten to 12 attributes which are relevant to the job on offer.

When enumerating job skills on a resume, pare the list down to those skills that are most relevant to the position being filled.
When enumerating job skills on a resume, pare the list down to those skills that are most relevant to the position being filled.

Often, a potential employer scans incoming resumes for keywords to determine whether an applicant is a good match for a job. A strong resume skills list for an applicant seeking a managerial position, for instance, may feature such keywords as “leadership” or “teambuilding.” When writing a skills list, an applicant should try to include a number of relevant keywords. To determine which keywords are most desirable in a given field, he should study several job postings in that field and compile a list of required skills which recur throughout the postings. If any of his own skills match those on this list, he should include them in his resume.

When writing a resume skills list, it is also important to be truthful. An applicant may be tempted to strengthen his resume by listing skills which he does not actually possess or exaggerating his level of proficiency in a particular skill area. If a potential employer discovers such falsehoods during an interview, it is very likely that he will be turned off by the applicant’s dishonesty. Therefore, all claims made on a skills list should be factually accurate.

Finally, as with the rest of a resume, a skills list that is improperly formatted or full of typographical errors can give potential employers a bad first impression. Therefore, a resume skills list should be thoroughly proofread to ensure it is free of mistakes. While helpful, word processor spelling and grammar checkers are not foolproof. Consider asking a spelling and grammar-savvy relative or friend to peruse a resume before submitting it to an employer.

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Discussion Comments


During your first time creating a resume (especially for a job), it's always a good idea to ask for advice from adults who have had previous experience. Building your first resume can be tricky, as it's supposed to be professionally formatted. Also, the best time to create one is during the summer, especially if you're a college student. You're not too busy with school, and you have plenty of time to look for jobs.


When writing a skills list for a resume, one piece of advice I have is to always make sure to update your skills every now and then. Things can become outdated, and what may be true at a current time may be different in the future.

On another note, you should only list the skills that you think are important, and not minor, After all, when you're applying for a job, the receivers of your resume are looking for things that stand out. After all, they may receive two hundred resume applications, picking only certain ones. Besides, they don't have time to look through everything.

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