In the technical world, showing your skills might be more relevant and applicable than a traditional resume format. If you are having difficulty landing interviews with your traditionally formatted resume, perhaps it’s time to rethink how you are presenting yourself. Here we describe the pros and cons of a skills-based resume format, review what information you should include, and provide a little guidance on the procedure for deciding if a skills-based resume is right for you.

Skills-Based Resumes vs. Traditional Chronological Format

You are likely used to the common reverse-chronological resume format which presents your skills and experience in terms of jobs held from most recent to least. Skills-based resumes turn that format on its ear. The focus, instead, is on specific skills that you want to highlight and the experience and accomplishments within your work history that support your skills. This format allows you to focus on the most relevant pieces of your professional qualifications. You can still provide an employment history, but the main focus of the document is the experiences and skills that you can bring to a new job.

In order to keep a resume at just the right length, focusing on relevant skills and the experience to back them up brings a reader’s attention to the most relevant skills for a particular job. This format is a good option for candidates who have significant gaps in their work history, and those who are changing careers or industries.

What Information Do You Include in a Skills-Based Resume?

First and foremost, pick the key skills you want to build your resume around. You can do this by determining what job you want to target and focusing on the skills required for that particular job. Generally, three to four broad skill sets are a solid basis to build a skills-based resume around. From there you should draft several accomplishment statements (in bullet or list form) that describe your experience in each skill area. Focus on your individual achievements and results gained through the use of your skills. This section will be the main body of your resume, with the most content. You can follow this up with a short work history that briefly lists previous titles, employers, employment dates, and location.

Is a Skills-Based Resume Right for You?

It can be intimidating to decide to completely restructure your resume, but particularly within the energy industry, if your resume doesn’t present your skills front and center, they can get lost. Consider switching to this non-traditional format if you have been out of the workforce for longer than a year, if you are looking to switch careers, if you have been previously laid off and have had difficulty finding your next opportunity.

Get the challenging job you want – one that maximizes your skills and offers the competitive compensation you deserve. Contact ESGI today to learn about the IT careers we place and to work with leaders in power staffing.


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