Show, Don’t Tell: How To Show Your Skills On A Resume

We all have that one “friend” in our social circles.  The one that seems to have a big fish story for every occasion and that never met a personal brag they couldn’t top with their own self-aggrandizing story.  Maybe they claim to be best friend second cousins with the hot up and coming movie star. Maybe they were THIS close to scoring an internship with the president’s bodyguard’s sister’s company.

While we, unfortunately, know enough of these types to fill the page of our little blog post, the point is that no one likes to talk about, interact with or otherwise be around the person that talks the talk without walking the walk.  When it comes to your skills, accomplishments, and experience, much the same can be said for your resume and your chances of scoring a job interview. No pictographs or elaborate diagrams required, instead, we have helpful advice for how to show off your skills on a resume in a way that’s impactful and helps land you the new position you’ve been dreaming of.

Facts, Figures, and Outcomes

If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times.  One of the biggest ways to make an impact right from the get-go in your resume application is to include quantifiable statements, goals, and accomplishments.  It’s one thing to say that you’re an excellent employee with high attention to detail and an ability to get things done…but our mom tells us we’re awesome too.

Instead of using broad adjectives without context, consider listing out major accomplishments, goals, and projects achieved with success.  You can tout your attention to detail and hard-working attitude all you’d like, but stating that you increased sales performance year to year by 40% is a cold hard number that potential employers can get behind and understand.  Similarly, if you regularly accomplish tasks ahead of schedule, try adding in cumulative project days saved over the course of weeks, month or a calendar year. While both methods convey the same information about your candidacy, spelling out facts and figures allows a potential employer to more thoroughly understand just how your contributions could positively impact their bottom line.

References Speak Wonders

Sure, your resume may be chalk full of the biggest and best of your accomplishments, but how did you get along with your coworker and did you leave your work environment worse or better for your time in the office?  Written work histories are an essential part of any job hunt, but they only go so far in conveying what it is that makes your individual application and history the perfect fit for an open position. The best way to get this vital information across is with the use of quality references.

A good reference is more than an internal HR contact that confirms you punched in and out daily.  Be sure to pick professional colleagues who are familiar with the nuances of the work you performed and that are ready, willing and eager to point out just what made you exceptional.  These soft promos by those that know you best often make a bigger impact than the resume itself. Be sure to ask your references’ permission to use their name and contact info and keep them generally apprised of the interview process so that they know to be expecting a call.  With any luck, you’ll have numerous contacts pitching your candidacy to the hiring manager in no time.

It’s all in the (Applicable) Skills

If there’s a theme to be had from today’s Simply Hired career advice blog it’s targeted focus on applicable skills.  Much as you shouldn’t be throwing out adjectives like candy, make sure that the skills, experience, and qualifications you do list on your CV apply to the job at hand.  Carefully review the job listing for the position for which you’re applying. Most postings will specifically list out a set of minimum, desired, and ideal skills and experiences which they’d like to see in qualified candidates.  Once you’ve identified these key areas, it’s off to the races and time to fine-tune your resume to draw attention to the areas where you’d make the perfect fit.

One of the areas you can feel free to devote less time to on the resume are soft skills.  These interpersonal abilities to communicate, guide, manage and adapt to stress are often better addresses in the interview room.  A key line or two regarding high-pressure projects or a mention that you’ve managed teams of X number of people will hint at your capabilities, but this is definitely an area where the proof is in the pudding and best demonstrated in person.

As a final note, remember that resumes should be snapshots of your suitability for a potential position but certainly aren’t the be all end all when it comes to landing a position.  With that in mind, help yourself and your interviewer out by giving as many concrete examples and real-life scenarios as possible. This will not only help the decision makers get a better sense of your candidacy, it will also allow them to better picture you in the open position increasing your chances at scoring an interview or job offer in the long term.

Article Updated from the Original on April 25, 2018