The best résumés don’t have a ‘skills’ section

At best, the “skills” section on your resume is scannable verbiage. At worst, it’s a waste of space.

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How can PR pros applying for new jobs convey their various abilities?

In writing a résumé, many people include a “skills” section. Here, they cram together “hard” skills, such as programming languages or software expertise, and “soft” skills, such as “conflict resolution” or “adaptability.”

This is a waste of space. Instead of ticking off vague notions like “Excel” or “Photoshop,” tell your audience how you used these programs. Get specific.

For example: “Created sophisticated pivot tables in Excel to track inventory in real time.” This fleshed-out bullet point clarifies that you’re not “skilled” with spreadsheets the way I’m “skilled” with cooking (reheating pizza is my specialty).

Similarly, instead of Photoshop,” try something like this: “Designed images and ads, in Photoshop, for clients’ Facebook and Twitter accounts.”

When I teach résumé writing, my aversion to a “skills” section is the guideline that triggers the stiffest pushback. For various reasons, people cling to this utterly useless info.

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