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Every Question You Have About Resume Skills Sections, Answered

By | Lily Zhang |

When you’re trying to keep your resume length down to accommodate that one-page limit, your skills section may seem like a prime contender for the chopping block. You might wonder why you ever included one in the first place. After all, it’s full of information that can be gleaned from other parts of your application, right?

Not so fast! Before you axe your resume skills section to make more space, read on to get the full picture of what you’d be giving up. And once you’re convinced not to scrap it, find out what types of skills you should include on a resume, how you should format a dedicated skills section, and how to figure the right skills for each job application.

Why do I need a skills section?

Overall, your resume skills section gives your application a nice optimization bump for both the human and digital review process. The whole point of keeping your resume concise is to allow a recruiter or hiring manager to figure out the value you could create for the company after just a quick skim.

For certain roles, it can be a nonstarter for a candidate to not have specific skills. You can’t be a ballerina if you don’t know how to dance, obviously, just like you won’t get a front-end developer role if you don’t know HTML.

Outside of these situations, however, the hiring managers I’ve spoken to are looking at the big picture. Monica Orta, a hiring manager at the MIT Media Lab, says the skills section gives her “a sense of the suite of skills a person has—it’s another way to look at their experience and helps paint a fuller picture.” They’re trying to connect the dots, and skills help fill in the gaps a bit.

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