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How to Write a Competency-Based Resume

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Writing a competency-based resume, also referred to as a functional resume, may be a strategic choice in a competitive job market. Unlike chronological (time-based) resumes, competency-based resumes focus on your core skill groups and qualifications. During the job interview, competency-based resumes also allow you to confidently respond to the interviewer's questions about why you are the best fit for their job opening.

Type your contact information at the top of your resume. Include your name, full address with no abbreviations, phone numbers and email address.

Write a Personal Profile or Summary of Qualifications section just under your contact information. This is your chance to grab the employer's attention and highlight your overall qualifications and accomplishments. Compose a one- or two-sentence introduction that summarizes you professionally. For example, "Motivated social services professional with eight years of experience. Regarded by others as organized and self-directed." Write several short bullet points just below that to further address your overall skills and experience. For example, "Outstanding problem-solving skills" or "Proven ability to build business relationships."

Create a section for Experience and Qualifications. Underline, bold and/or center the section title.

Divide all of your cumulative experience, skills and education into subsections of core competencies. For example, "Sales, Communication, Computer Skills, Leadership, Project Management" and so on. Type a heading for each subsection and format the type in bold.

List all of your experience in bullet form that supports each core competency. For example, under a subsection titled "Leadership," you should list how many employees you have managed, any committee leadership positions and any related coursework that you have completed.

Write sections including "Education" and "Work History." Underneath each section include a short chronological listing of your experience. Include company/school names, position title/degree, dates of employment/attendance and location (city and state). Because you have summarized all of the skills and knowledge you gained from each of these experiences in your core competencies above, you do not need to elaborate further in these brief listings.


Edit your document thoroughly before submitting to employers.

Customize your resume for each job opening you apply for.

Consider also having a basic chronological resume as a resource for recording skills you have gained with each individual employer.

About the Author

Erin Stertz-Follett has been writing professionally since 1999 and has diverse experience in advertising media planning for clients including Arctic Cat. In addition to her work with Demand Studios, Stertz-Follett has authored numerous curricula used for employment-related workshops to help job seekers find career success. Stertz-Follett holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism-mass communication from the University of St. Thomas.

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