Technical skills are among the most important skills any job candidate can have these days. That’s especially true in high-tech companies, but even many entry-level positions require some level of technical proficiency. You need to know how to include technical skills on your resume if you want to maximize your chances of getting hired.
In this post, we’ll examine what technical skills are as well as how and where to include them in your resume.
Technical skills: what are they and why do they matter?
When it comes to skills on your resume, technical skills are relatively easy to define. Technical skills involve computer proficiency or other technological know-how. These skills are usually developed with specific training, education, and experience.
Technical skills fall into the category of hard skills, so they can be tested and measured. By contrast, soft skills are people skills and difficult to measure objectively.
Obviously, technical skills are in great demand in our modern era. We live in an age where computers are seemingly everywhere. Even simply cashier jobs require some level of proficiency with computerized cash registers, and other technology. Many manufacturing jobs require employees to use various computer-operated machines too. That principle holds true for millions of jobs across a broad spectrum of industries throughout the economy. Everywhere you look, technology is embedded within the workforce.
When you apply for any of these positions, odds are that you will be competing with candidates who possess at least some of these technical skills. You will need to be familiar with and proficient in the use of different technologies if you want to land a great job. More importantly, though, you will need to know how to identify your skills and properly highlight them within your resume.
How do I include technical skills on my resume?
Start with the basics: make a list of your technical skills.
Once you have identified your technical skills, the challenge is to properly showcase them in your resume. Relevant technical skills will always be at the top of any employer’s list of qualifications. As a result, you should make sure that these skills are on full display in your resume.
There are two different ways to include technical skills on your resume:
1. Make your technical skills the centerpiece of your resume intro
This method is best for those listing only a handful of technical skills, such as Marketing, Finance, Healthcare, Education, or Customer Success professionals.
This is a variation on the summary statement and can be a useful way to draw immediate attention to the most relevant technical skills. Basically, you need to create a summary that emphasizes your technical qualifications. If you’re not sure what a resume summary is, head over to this post about how to write a resume summary that will win you interviews, and then come back to this post.
Your modified resume summary will be an abbreviated version of your experience section, compiling and extolling your proficiency in the required technical areas of the job. You might label it “Qualifications Summary” or “Professional Qualifications” to signal the content.
You can also add a line at the end of your summary that lists out your technical skills.
Example: “Proficient in CRM, SEO, Google AdWords, Salesforce”
2. Make a separate technical skills section
This option is the best choice for those in highly technical industries where numerous technical skills are required. If you’re in IT or Engineering, this is what you want to use as a template.
One of the most effective ways to highlight technical skills is to place them in their own separate section of the resume. For jobs that emphasize these skills, make sure that you place this section near the beginning of your resume.
You can include keywords on your resume in your core competencies or skills section. These are hard skills that are relevant to the position you’re targeting.
- Application Programming
- Software Analysis and Design
- Application & Unit Testing
- Object-Oriented Technology
- Database Design/Development
- Lean/Agile Methodologies
- Project Management
- Web Design/Development
- Process Improvement
Let’s see how this looks on a resume:
You would then create a separate section that details your specific knowledge of tools, languages, databases, etc.
With this method of listing your technical skills, you can be thorough for the ATS scan without over-filling your core competencies section. Core competencies should be limited to 9 to 12 really key talents, often with a few soft skills thrown in. Your technical skills section is a more comprehensive view of your abilities.
How important are technical skills to employers?
Your technical skills can seal the deal for some jobs.
When you’re seeking a job in a technical field, those technical skills can make or break your candidacy. That’s why it is critical to ensure that you properly list them in your resume. By identifying the right technical skills for the job, and accurately conveying your proficiency to an employer, you can maximize your odds of landing that job you need.
Including the right technical skills–those relevant to the positions you’re targeting–can really help you get past the ATS filter as well.
Top valuable technical skills employers look for (by industry)
There are a wide variety of technical skills that employers need. You may possess many different skills, so it can sometimes be difficult to know which ones to include in your resume. It helps to identify your unique skills.
Remember to create a separate list of technical skills for jobs that require you to be familiar with different languages, databases, tools, etc.
Here are some examples of the type of valuable technology skills that employers commonly seek, grouped by job type.
This is a no-brainer, but it can be difficult to narrow down your list of skills if you’re an information technology specialist. For an IT resume, just remember to be thorough and include all the important technical skills you rely on each day.
Relevant skills will include network setup and management, network security, front-end and back-end development, mobile platform development and management, and all the hard skills associated with maintaining a large network and keeping all systems up-to-date and running smoothly.
Graphic Design Technical Skills
As a graphic designer, you need to highlight relevant skills for that position. These can include basic HTML skills, experience with Photoshop and other graphic design software, branding, and print design.
In this case, tell but don’t show: your resume shouldn’t be a graphic design masterpiece. List your skills and include a link to an online profile of your graphic design projects if you have one.
If your job requires analysis, there are specific business analysis technical skills that you will need to showcase. They include skills like data analysis and modeling, experience with information technology skills, knowledge of common program languages, and others.
Marketing Technical Skills
Most people think of marketing skills as soft skills like communication and organization. However, modern marketing relies on a variety of hard technical skills as well. Moreover, possessing these skills can provide you with a leg up on your competition. They include skills like website design, social and mobile marketing proficiency, experience with digital advertising campaigns, and content development.
Management Technology Skills
Yes, today’s managers in all industries also need to be familiar with technology. Depending upon the industry you’re in, you may need to possess technical skills ranging from project management and information technology to data analysis and management.
You may even need to have some familiarity with various programming languages. Some management positions may require technical writing skills, or experience with computer networks. While specific programs will vary from company to company, it’s a good idea to show any experience you have with software, programs, and tools relating to management roles.
Accountants today do more than deal with numbers: they must manage that data using modern technical tools. As an accounting, your technical skills can include proficiency with various accounting tools such as Oracle, or knowledge of ERP systems and auditing tools.
Other technical skills will include experience with cost analysis, trend identification, and broad proficiency with most common computer programs.
See more examples of skills for accountants on our accountant resume example.
Obviously, a computer engineer will be expected to have a wide range of computer-related technical skills. But engineering covers a lot of ground, so your technical skills may extend well beyond computer design or programming. As an engineer, you may possess data modeling skills, proficiency with statistics and probability, and other higher-end math skills. Technical reporting may also be a part of your repertoire, and you may even possess technical writing skills.
See more examples of skills for engineers on our engineering resume example.
Teaching, Nursing, and Other High-Demand Professions
Technology has made its way into most professions, including areas like the medical field and education. As a result, teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals need to have some proficiency with computers and other technology.
Nurses, pharmacists, and doctors will need to include skills that include advanced lifesaving training, familiarity and experience with dialysis and phlebotomy, and knowledge of the computer systems used in daily medical practices. Teachers, lawyers, and similar professionals may find skills like blogging platforms, internet research, web design, and online presentations useful for their job search efforts.
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Technical skills have an important function on your resume, so it’s important to display your skills in the most effective way. For technical fields, you should showcase your portfolio of technical skills in its own section. For less technologically-based professionals, you can fit your technical prowess in your core competencies or resume summary sections.
In either case, make sure you showcase your technical skills with pride!