How to Tell if a Skills-Based Resume is Right for You

How to Tell if a Skills-Based Resume is Right for You

You want your resume to prove that you are the right person for the job. What if you find a job that you like, but your work experience isn’t the best way to show it. Maybe you possess all of the skills required in the job description, and you want to highlight those skills on your resume, instead of your work experience. A skills-based or functional resume lets you do just that.

What is a skills-based resume?

A skills-based resume highlights your most transferable skills from your experience. Your work history will be placed at the bottom of the page instead of the top, since it is not the focus point of the resume, unlike most resume types.

Skill-based resumes allow you to highlight skills that you have outside of your work experience. This can include things you do as a hobby, studied at a college or university, and the skills you picked up throughout your life.

Who should use the skills-based resume?

A skills-based resume is best when your work experience doesn’t directly align with the job you want, but you have all the skills necessary to fit the job description. A skills-based resume may be the best way to go if you are seeking the following.

Executive or Senior Positions

An executive level resume is different from a traditional resume and using a traditional resume just won’t make the cut. A skills-based resume is beneficial if you are applying to and have worked in senior and executive level roles because it allows you to show off all of your important achievements and skills at the top of the resume, instead of hiding them in the job descriptions of each individual job.

This is important for these roles because, even though most companies have similar job titles for their senior and executive positions, the responsibilities and job duties are not always the same.

Transitioning careers

Using a skills-based resume is the best way to highlight transferable skills that can be applied to the line of work for which you are applying. Sometimes you realize that the line of work you are in is not what you want to do for the rest of your life. You decide it’s time for a change.

This happens to most people at some point in their career. It’s okay to want to change your career path. As long as you got some transferable skills for the job that you want, a skills-based resume is the way to go.

Gaps in work history

If you have unemployment gaps in your work history whether you had been laid off or left work temporarily to care of your health or a loved one, a skills-based resume is a great way to go. A skills-based resume allows you to present your work experience discreetly without using months.

Here are some examples:

Experience without month:

  • Photographer. ABC Studios, 2010-2015
  • Filmographer, CBA Productions, 2016-Present

Rather than with the month which would look more like this:

  • Photographer, ABC Studios, January 2010-April 2015
  • Filmographer, CBA Productions, April 2016-Present

As you can see, the first example makes the gap in work history appear less obvious compared to the second example. Since most recruiters, recognize this as a way to cover up gaps in your resume, it is still a good idea to write a brief cover letter explaining any gaps.

Little or no work experience

If you are a recent graduate or don’t have any work experience, a skills-based resume allows you to showcase your skills if you lack ‘on the job experience.’ With a skill-based resume, you can list skills learned throughout your college courses, volunteer experience or internships. At the bottom of your resume, you can briefly list your academic achievements and work history.

Multiple roles at one company

Sometimes, you find yourself in the same job for a good part of your career. You had stayed with the same company for years and held multiple job titles with them, and maybe worked in different departments.

A skills-based resume is best for you in this case. It allows you to show your advancement and growth in your career despite only having one employer. This would be difficult to do if you were using a chronological format because it relies on the progression of your career and the listing of the different companies you worked for along your career path.

If any of these apply to you

If any of these things apply to you, consider switching to a skills-based resume for your job search. Remember, you should always follow the basic rules for getting ahead with your resume.

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