Creating a Skills-Based Resume

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from the Center for Workforce Inclusion

A competitive job market means it’s critical to put your best foot forward, starting with writing a great resume. The most common resume format is chronological, which doesn’t always highlight the diverse skills that older workers and people with non-traditional backgrounds offer. Opting for a skills-based resume instead allows you to position yourself as a desirable candidate, regardless of past job titles or educational credentials.

Why use a skills-based resume?

The traditional resume may feel like a square peg in a round hole for those with unconventional career backgrounds—be it older workers, career changers, non-traditional education paths, military service or time spent in unpaid caregiving roles. By putting the focus on capabilities instead of chronology, skills-based resumes:

  • Emphasize transferable skills—such as problem-solving, communication and adaptability—acquired through varied life experiences.
  • Address employment gaps positively, emphasizing the richness of your journey and the abilities learned along the way.
  • Prove your accomplishments and achievements, rather than just listing job duties. This can make your resume more compelling to an employer.
  • Prominently feature relevant keywords and industry-specific terminology—a plus for getting through applicant tracking systems (ATS) algorithms.

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