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Highlighting your professional strengths and skills on your resume can not only get you in the door for an interview -- it might also lead to a job offer. When you draft your resume, you should brainstorm and highlight the strengths and skills that best relate to the position for which you're applying. Make a short list of these attributes and write as specifically as possible to illustrate each point.
Focus on the Right Areas
Before you write your resume, read the job posting carefully and highlight any keywords that help you determine which strengths and skills you should identify. A well-written resume is often one that has a direct link to the job posting. Although the specific attributes you should highlight vary considerably depending on the job description, many employers favor strengths and skills such as the ability to communicate effectively, lead a team, engage with the public, perform research and use advanced technology.
Build a Strengths/Skills Section
Because resumes can take a number of different forms, there is no universally appropriate way to list your strengths and skills. However, it's effective to devote a section of your resume to these attributes, preferably on the first page below your work experience and education history. Don't make the list too long because it might give the hiring manager the impression that you're adept in several general areas rather than exceptionally skilled in any one area.
Formatting Your Information
Write a short header that describes each of the strengths and skills you want to highlight, and then place a bullet point directly below the header. Beside the bullet, write a short sentence or two that expands on the header. Be as specific as possible. For example, if your header is "Skill Managing a Team," you might write "Five years' experience managing a team of 12 full-time employees and two part-time employees. Won team-management award at my last job."
The strengths and skills part of your resume becomes even more important if you don't have extensive work experience or education to highlight. This type of skills-based resume allows you to focus on a short list of strengths and skills and then provide multiple bullet points to illustrate your abilities. For example, for the header "Technical Skills," you could write "Highly proficient in software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign" as one point, and "Volunteer experience teaching web design to local high school students" as another.
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.