Often, hiring managers and recruiters receive dozens, if not hundreds of job applications for a single open position. They hardly have time to study every word on every resume, so what do they do? They skim. And if your resume isn’t skimmable, you may be losing out on career opportunities.
One of the best ways to make your resume skimmable is to create a core competencies section. This is a brief section of the resume that lists some of your basic skills and technical proficiencies, providing a condensed and easy-to-skim rundown of the value you offer to an employer.
Core competencies sections not only make your resume easier to parse with just a passing glance, but they also make your resume more accommodating to the computer programs that many companies now use to scan and review resumes, long before they are ever read by human beings.
In other words, a core competencies section is vital for any resume—but how can you write one that’s effective?
Keep it Short
First and foremost, keep your core competencies incredibly brief—just one to three words per competency. Something like budget forecasting or social media management is sufficient. You can go into more detail in your career history section. Remember that the core competencies section is meant to be “you in a nutshell,” an easily-skimmed rundown of your major talents and professional skills.
Position it Correctly
A core competencies section won’t do you much good if it’s at the end of your resume. We recommend putting it toward the top—just below your executive summary.
Format it for Readability
Remember, you’re trying to list your skills in a way that accommodates quick skimming. Bullet points are ideal for this.
Look at the Job Description
As for what you should include in the core competencies section, it’s always wise to review the position you’re applying for. Does it specify ghostwriting, or customer service, or HTML programming? If so, then make sure to include those exact words and phrases in your core competencies section. Just one catch: Be honest. If you don’t actually possess that skill, don’t list it!
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Often, your core competencies section will serve as the first impression you make to potential employers—a quick way for them to determine whether or not you have the needed qualifications for the job in question.
In other words, it’s a do-or-die section of your resume. Make sure yours is perfectly honed by working with a professional resume writer.