A core competencies (also known as a core qualifications) section on a resume could really help you stand out to both hiring managers and ATS systems. ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) are utilized by most employers today which automatically screen resumes to determine if they’re a good match. Every resume today should include a core competencies section yet very few job seekers utilize one. We’ll show you what a core competencies sections is, how to include one and some great examples.
Core competencies on a resume are your core skills and competencies that relate to the position you’re applying for. They should be listed in bullet points – not sentences.
Keeping it short will make it clear, concise and more ATS friendly which we’ll discuss in more detail.
#1 – Catches the Attention of a Hiring Manager
A core competencies quickly tells the hiring manager how you’re qualified. Your resume is only skimmed over for a few seconds before the hiring manager decides to either reject your resume or look at it in more detail. A core competencies section allows you to quickly show the hiring manager that you’re a perfect fit for the position.
#2 – It Gets You Past ATS Systems
An ATS system screens your resume for keywords and other information to determine if you’re a good match for the position. Why does this matter? Because over 90% of employers utilize an ATS and they reject over 75% of resumes submitted. (We wrote a good post on getting your resume past an ATS here).
The core competencies section is super helpful for including keywords that the ATS may be searching for. It’s also really useful because you could tailor your resume for different positions by swapping keywords in and out.
Here is an example of what a core competencies section on your resume should look like:
As you see this is a resume for a person in the sales and marketing field. It quickly and concisely shows the hiring manager what skills and knowledge the candidate posses without having to dig into the work experience section.
Once a hiring manager sees that the candidates information is relevant, they’re more likely to read into the resume in more detail.
Let’s take a look at how we can quickly tailor this to another position.
Say another marketing position interests this candidate and “Content Marketing” is listed as a required skill. We can simply remove a less relevant skill and include “Content Marketing” instead.
Take a look now:
You can see that tailoring your resume is much easier with a core competencies section. Now if this were run through an ATS and it was searching for that particular term, it would rank the resume as good match for the position.
You need to find the right competencies to include if you want to stand out and get past an ATS system.
Step #1 – Come up with a list of skills that relate to the position or Industry you’re targeting.
Step #2 – Check the job descriptions to positions you want to apply for. You will find many of the same keywords listed which you should be using on your resume.
Step #3 – Include the top 9 – 12 competencies under your summary.
Remember that you don’t need to change each one when applying for different positions but you should swapping some in and out so it’s more tailored.
Here is an example of what someone in sales might include:
A core competencies section can really help give your resume that boost it needs with all that competition. It allows you to bypass ATS systems and capture the attention of a hiring manager. Remember to tailor your resume with relevant keywords for each position you apply for.
Good Luck with Your Job Search!