5 Resume Skills Section Tips
That Every Techie Needs

Writing a CV or Resume

As a techie, you’re probably aware of how essential your tech skills are for landing a job in the industry. But do you know how to properly showcase those skills in your resume?

Doing so could easily be the difference between landing that dream job you’ve been salivating over and unemployment.

These five tips will help you craft the perfect skills section to capture the hiring manager’s attention and land that interview.

1. Put Your Skills Section First

As a hiring manager myself, I am the first one to admit that we’re not always super psyched about the idea of reading through an entire resume. (Considering we have to get through an average of 250 resumes per job opening, can you really blame us?) Unfortunately, that means it's your job to make it easy for us to quickly find the information we’re looking for.

Hiring managers only spend a few moments deciding which pile to put your resume in. You need to put the most important information up front. For tech jobs, more often than not, the most important information is going to be your tech skills.

Putting your skills section at the top of your resume (below your intro and above your professional experience) places them in the spotlight where they belong, and gives the hiring manager quick and easy access to the information they’re looking for. In the end, this will make them much more likely to read through the rest of your resume.

2. Give Details and Stay Relevant

One of the worst mistakes anyone can make on a resume skills section, especially in the tech field, is not being specific when listing their abilities. You want to give the hiring manager as much detail as possible so that they have a clear picture of exactly what you can do.

Don’t Say:

Advanced knowledge of web development tools

Do Say:

Advanced knowledge of HTML, SQL, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, XSL, XML and MySQL

That being said, you also don’t want to mention every skill you’ve ever acquired since your glorious birth unto this earth. Only list the skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

For example, even if you have experience with both front-end and back-end web development, you don’t necessarily want to list them all. If you are applying for a front end developer job, you should utilize the limited space in your skills section to focus on your skills that are most relevant and useful to front end development.

3. Highlight the Skills Mentioned in the Job Description

Another neat trick you can use to showcase the specific skills the hiring manager is looking for is to take note of the words and phrases she uses in the job description.

Take a look at the following job description taken from LinkedIn:

About You - LinkedIn Example

Notice the difference in phrasing between the first and second bullet points: “proficient” vs “expert.” This tells you that while knowledge of JavaScript and JavaScript frameworks is important for this job, advanced abilities with Angular structural frameworks are essential.

By paying attention to the specific phrasing used in the job description, you’ll know exactly what to focus on in your skills section. Also, if you have the chops to back it up, using the exact same wording as the job description in some of your bullets will clearly and effectively show the hiring manager you’ve got the goods she’s looking for.

For example, an applicant to the job above could write something like this:

  • Proficient with JavaScript and JavaScript frameworks, such as NodeJS
  • Expert with Angular, Angular 2, and Angular 4 web application structural frameworks

This technique also helps you get past the pesky resume reading robots, AKA Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which scan your resume for keywords to determine if you have the necessary qualifications for the job.

4. Don’t Forget about Soft Skills

We all know that in the tech industry, hard skills will always be king. However, focusing entirely on your technical abilities and forgetting to show the hiring manager you also have a soft side can get you into trouble.

In fact, communication skills are now considered “imperative for landing a job in tech.”

So, while your awesome tech skills should still be your primary focus, make sure you also pepper in a couple of your amazing interpersonal attributes to show the hiring manager you’re not just a coding machine.

That being said, something like “good communicator” isn’t going to get you anywhere. Don’t forget about being specific. Take a look at the following example of a strong bullet that shows the applicant’s excellent communication skills:

Adept at communicating UX / UI design needs.

5. Categorize When Necessary

As someone working (or aspiring to work) in the tech field, it's likely you have multiple skill-sets. Categorizing your skills helps organize them in a way that clearly presents your myriad of abilities to the hiring manager.

For example, an IT project manager needs to showcase their expertise with things like scrum methodologies, as well as their familiarity with the technical aspects of projects. They also need to prove they have the managerial skills to lead a team.

Trying to throw all of these skills into one big list can quickly become confusing.


Key Skills List Example

Instead, organizing them into categories such as project management, technical abilities, and managerial skills gives the hiring manager a clear picture of their skill sets.


Key Skills Categories Example

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

Following these 5 simple tips will help you create an awesome skills section that will grab the hiring manager’s attention and give you a jump start on crafting that perfect resume.

About the Author

Lauren McAdams is a hiring manager, career consultant, and lead writer at ResumeCompanion.com. Her resume templates and career advice on Resume Companion have helped hundreds of applicants find their dream jobs.

When she’s not busy enriching the lives of job seekers, she’s either sipping on coffee or a glass of wine - depending on the time of day of course.