It is possible to turn technical skills into an asset on your resume by highlighting those that are most relevant to your career objectives. Here is how it works:
Step 1: Brainstorm
Type a list of every technical skill or program in which you at least have basic proficiency. To help you brainstorm, review our examples of hard skills.
Step 2: Clarify Goals
Consider and jot down your job search goals. Include your preference for target title, duties, leadership level, industry, and employer size.
Step 3: Review and Rate
Review your complete list of technical skills against your job goals. Rate each skill’s relevance to your target job on a scale of 1 to 5 where:
5 = Very relevant
4 = Somewhat relevant
3 = Unsure
2 = Not very relevant
1 = Not at all relevant
Step 4: Transfer
Copy any skills you rated a 3 or above into your resume under a section titled “Technical Skills” or “Technical Profile.”
Typically, this section should go at or near the bottom of the document. But you may want to place it higher if your technical side is generally more important than other aspects of your experience. You may even make this your resume’s first section (after the summary) if you’re in tech and/or these skills are central to your candidacy.
Step 5: Organize and Format
Order the skills in your Technical section according to your job search goals. If they’re all about equally relevant, order them alphabetically.
If your skills list is on the shorter side, you can format it easily enough by separating each term with a pipe symbol. For example:
Adobe Illustrator | HTML | Microsoft Excel | Social Media (Instagram, Twitter) | WordPress
But if your skills list is longer, consider dividing it up by category and/or ability level so hiring managers can more easily scan the information. With this structure, separating the terms with commas or semicolons is usually better rather than pipes. For example:
Adobe Creative Cloud: Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
G Suite: Docs, Sheets, Slides
Microsoft Office Suite: Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word
Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter
Videoconferencing: Skype, Zoom
Finally, play around with Microsoft Word’s tab stops feature to possibly give your completed Technical section a more elegant look on the page. In the example below, the skill categories have a right tab stop, while the skill name lists have a left tab stop.
Adobe Creative Cloud Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
G Suite Docs, Sheets, Slides
Microsoft Office Suite Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Word
Social Media Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter
Videoconferencing Skype, Zoom
Step 6: Showcase
Consider making your top technical skills (i.e., those you rated 4 or 5) more prominent on your overall resume by also citing them in these three sections:
There’s a simple way to cite technical skills in your Profile summary. Start a new sentence with “Key technical skills include” or “Offer technical expertise in,” and then name any that speak strongly to your target job.
This option is simple too. As the last bullet point for each job description, you can type “Systems used:” or “Top systems used:” and then list the relevant programs.
This job description structure can work well if you’re in IT or another tech-centric field since it helps you emphasize the different platforms you were using to drive results.
It can also help your resume perform better in applicant tracking systems. The exact workings of ATS are mysterious (intentionally, so jobseekers won’t game them). But they will often use your work dates to tally your experience with skills you cite in each job description. For instance, say the ATS scans your resume for a job where WordPress knowledge is crucial. If it finds the term “WordPress” in your description of a position you held from 2017 to 2021, there’s a good chance the ATS will boost your overall score by registering you have about four years of experience related to that program.
Many professionals gain technical skills on the job or independently. But perhaps you’ve also done formal training or certifications in programs relevant to your target job. If so, cite those experiences on your resume as well.