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How to Write a Skills-Based Resume? Template & Examples

With the popularity of the reverse-chronological resume, one might be reluctant to use a skills-based resume format. We’re breaking the stereotypes to show you it’s worth a shot.

Marta Bongilaj
Marta Bongilaj
Career Expert
How to Write a Skills-Based Resume? Template & Examples

You’ve found a thrilling job opportunity and scanned it excitedly. You hadn’t thought much until you realized you were in a position to get it.

But then the doubts come in. What if the company I’m interested in seeks a candidate with extensive experience?And what if I don’t have enough of it?

Worry not. A skills-based resume will direct attention to your greatest abilities to prove you’re all set for the role. You don’t need numerous certificates of employment to validate it.

In this guide:

  • Skills-based resume examples that work.
  • How to use a skills-based resume format to highlight your strengths.
  • How to create a skills-based resume template for your job application.
  • Expert tips and examples to increase your chances of getting an interview.

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Looking for useful resume writing tips and alternative formats? Check the articles below:

Skills-Based Resume Template

Bessie J. Hogan

Graphic Designer

402-316-8824

bessiejhogan@mail.com

linkedin.com/in/bessiehogan

Objective

Passionate and collaborative digital graphic designer with a BA in Graphic Design. Skilled in preparing style guide-adjusted digital assets, including illustrations, wall charts, posters, logos, brochures, and more. Well-versed in branding strategies and creating brand style guides from scratch. Motivated to join Vision Vibes as a Senior Graphic Designer to drive its vision and marketing strategy through diverse visual works.

Skills Summary

GRAPHIC DESIGN

  • Created various graphic materials (illustrations, wall charts, posters, logos, presentations, brochures) for 50+ clients.
  • Produced complex graphic animations for social media channels, blogs, and websites, increasing clickability by 20%.
  • Communicated and discussed design strategy with key stakeholders, helping maintain 25+ solid relations over a long period.
  • Collaborated with copywriters, designers, and executives to ensure maximum brand consistency and accuracy.

TYPOGRAPHY

  • Created a unique font type for Ink Wisdom, improving content readability by 15%.
  • Worked closely with a design lead and a product manager to attain top-notch typography and iconography standards.

BRANDING

  • Reorganized branding style guide for PixelCraze, including a logo, colors, tone of voice, and other elements.
  • Co-created 10+ successful visual marketing campaigns to grow brand awareness and engagement.
  • Promoted images of 35+ companies through digital design, utilizing banners and pop-ups and experimenting with other visual ads.

Work Experience

Graphic Arts Designer

Ink Wisdom, Remote

March 2021–Present

Freelance Graphic Designer

PixelCraze, Remote

October 2017–January 2021

Education

BA in Graphic Design

American University, DC

September 2013–July 2017

GPA: 3.65

Courses and certificates

  • Branding: The Creative Journey by IE Business School, 2022
  • The Language of Design: Form and Meaning by California Institute of the Arts, 2022

Now, let’s focus on a skills-based resume major tenets to crack it:

What Is a Skills-Based Resume?

A skills-based resume is a resume format that favors a candidate’s skills and puts them at the top, unlike a reverse-chronological resume type. Such resume format often displays professional skills as bolded lines with descriptions underneath, depicting how those skills were used in previous roles.

Should You Use a Skills-Based Resume?

Choosing the proper resume format resembles matching the clothing for a special occasion. Most typically, you’ll want to find clothes that fit the event’s character and make you look attractive. With that said, you’ll look for clothes underlining your attributes rather than magnifying imperfections.

A well-suited resume format will do the same. A skills-based resume (also called a functional resume) will best fit applicants with limited job histories, such as fresh graduates or career changers. It will redirect a recruiter’s attention from work experience to professional abilities most desirable in a specific role.

Let’s summarize the events in which a skills-based resume does the job:

  • You’ve recently graduated from high school or university, and you’re starting to form your career path.
  • You’ve performed short-term or part-time gigs once crucial for a start but not enough to impress a recruiter now.
  • You’ve decided to change a job or industry and don’t have enough experience in a new field yet.
  • Your work history is intermittent, with several months or years of breaks.
  • You’ve been doing the same job for years, which doesn’t diversify your work experience, but makes your skills perfected.
  • You’ve held similar work positions with an overlapping scope of duties over a long period. 

If you’ve said yes to any of the above samples, a skills-based resume is your way to go. Nevertheless, if you can boast ample work experience with various job positions and duties, a reverse-chronological resume will fit better.

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How to Write a Skills-Based Resume?

Once you decide to sit down to your resume, you might discern numerous questions and doubts piling up in your head. For consolation, every winning resume was once a mess before it got magnificent.

We’ll guide you through this hazy process.

Follow these key rules to craft a skills-based resume template that catches a recruiter:

1. Organize Your Skills-Based Resume Formatting

We bet you have numerous multifaceted skills to enlist on your resume. Still, you can’t just pour them onto paper erratically as Jackson Pollock would. Before listing your key abilities, plan your resume structure with enough focus as if it was a canvas you don’t want to waste.

Consider these simple formatting tips and hints:

  • View professional resume fonts and pick one like Times New Roman or Georgia.
  • Apply 10–12 pt font size. For your resume heading, choose the size of 13–14 pt.
  • Strive for a one-page resume. Just limit all the information to essential facts.
  • Add 1-inch resume margins on all four sides of the page.
  • Detach all the sections and paragraphs with spaces for readability.
  • Use the following resume sections: Header, Profile Summary, Skills, Work History, and Education.

Finally, save your skills-based resume in a PDF format to keep it neat. This way, you’ll rest assured it is delivered in the same form you created.

2. Kick-Off With a Concise Resume Header

Some resumes are rejected after just a one-minute glance. You know why? They overlook critical information. If you don’t mind presenting your contact details clearly, you can’t expect a recruiter to make an extra effort to track you down elsewhere.

The resume header is where a recruiter’s eyes go first, so ensure you don’t waste this key moment.

Here’s what every resume header should include:

  • Name and surname
  • Job title/education level
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Link to portfolio/social media.

Now, check the example below for reference:

Skills-Based Resume Template—Header

Good Example

Bessie J. Hogan

Graphic Designer

402-316-8824

bessiejhogan@mail.com

linkedin.com/in/bessiehogan

If you decide to attach a link to a portfolio or your social media channels, make sure they’re aligned with the job you’re applying for. Don’t put your personal stuff here, as it may be considered unprofessional.

3. Prepare a Captivating Resume Objective

Rule No. 1 when writing any type of text in a world over-saturated with content? Make it concrete & catchy. Lots of candidates don’t take this advice seriously. They create lengthy resumes with chaotic entries needing solid editing. And they fail.

Don’t duplicate their actions. Start your resume with an intriguing resume profile that sows a grain of interest. It should focus on your key abilities that you will unfold further in the text.

In a skills-based resume, a resume objective works best for underlining your strong sides and motivations toward a new role.

But how to create one that reflects this? See the action points below:

  1. Attract a recruiter with characteristics like passionate or collaborative.
  2. Call out your education grade or the job title that you use.
  3. Mention a couple of skills that you find most treasured.
  4. Explain what you’ll bring by joining this company.
  5. Limit the resume objective to a few sentences and use third-person pronouns.

View this ready-made example to understand it better:

Skills-Based Resume Template—Resume Objective

Good Example

Resume Objective

Passionate and collaborative digital graphic designer with a BA in Graphic Design. Skilled in preparing style guide-adjusted digital assets, including illustrations, wall charts, posters, logos, brochures, and more. Well-versed in branding strategies and creating brand style guides from scratch. Motivated to join Vision Vibes as a Senior Graphic Designer to drive its vision and marketing strategy through diverse visual works.

Such an entry shows what a recruiter can expect from a candidate like you. They’ll immediately know what you’re best at and why you decided to answer their job advertisement.

4. Save Space for Your Top Skills in a Skills-Based Resume

The skills section means your time to shine. Like a few minutes on stage that decide how the audience will perceive you. No room for mistakes, only thought-out actions.

So, before building your skills list, you must have a solid plan. Here’s how to prepare a combo skill set that makes a wow effect:

  1. Get acquainted with the job ad that interests you. Study the candidate’s profile they want you to have.
  2. Understand what duties you will perform and what skills you must possess to do great in this role.
  3. Pick three to four skills that relate to the job description and that you can back up with examples of how you used them.
  4. Try to be specific, and don’t just list random skills with vague explanations. Provide concrete representatives.

Got it? See the example that shows the above:

Skills-Based Resume Template—Skills

Good Example

Skills Summary

GRAPHIC DESIGN

  • Created various graphic materials (illustrations, wall charts, posters, logos, presentations, brochures) for 50+ clients.
  • Produced complex graphic animations for social media channels, blogs, and websites, increasing clickability by 20%.
  • Communicated and discussed design strategy with key stakeholders, helping maintain 25+ solid relations over a long period.
  • Collaborated with copywriters, designers, and executives to ensure maximum brand consistency and accuracy.

TYPOGRAPHY

  • Created a unique font type for Ink Wisdom, improving content readability by 15%.
  • Worked closely with a design lead and a product manager to attain top-notch typography and iconography standards.

BRANDING

  • Reorganized branding style guide for PixelCraze, including a logo, colors, tone of voice, and other elements.
  • Co-created 10+ successful visual marketing campaigns to grow brand awareness and engagement.
  • Promoted images of 35+ companies through digital design, utilizing banners and pop-ups and experimenting with other visual ads.

When constructing your skill set, pick broad skills that comprise various duties. For example, choose graphic design skills over creating illustrations if you're a graphic designer. This way, you’ll have room to cover a variety of graphic assets, not only illustrations.

5. List Your Work Experience Briefly

A skills-based resume is where the work experience section gives way to skills. Hence, you won't dedicate much time to designing your work history in detail here.

Once you’ve described your abilities by recalling examples of former tasks and achievements, you have the green light to summarize your work experience shortly. To do that, solely list job titles, companies' names, and work dates.

Check this sample for validation:

Skill-Based Resume Template—Work Experience

Good Example

Work Experience

Graphic Arts Designer

Ink Wisdom, Remote

March 2021–Present

Freelance Graphic Designer

PixelCraze, Remote

October 2017–January 2021

That’s fairly enough to cover your work experience section. Normally, you would include bullets with your work achievements here, but in the case of a skills-based resume, they just land in the skills section.

6. Mention an Education in Your Skills-Based Resume

Education on a resume has always been a subject of discussion. Is it interesting to a recruiter, or does it take space pointlessly?

In fact, the education section helps an employer build a picture of your qualifications. Plus, it increases your credibility, depicting you as a qualified candidate.

Your education section should include a few things: your degree, the name of the university or college, and studying dates. Additionally, you can add your GPA score, but only if it’s above 3.5.

See an exemplary education entry for your resume:

Skills-Based Resume Example—Education

Good Example

Education

BA in Graphic Design

American University, DC

September 2013–July 2017

GPA: 3.65

On top of that, you can add 2 to 3 bullets with any courses or accolades you received. If you participated in any engrossing projects during your studies, feel free to add them, too. This is how you can grow a recruiter’s interest.

7. Involve Additional Sections as a Bonus

As a well-versed professional, you know how tough it is to hone your skills until they’re considered of high quality. 

So why not show your arduous work, describing the means you used to perfect your skills to the very last detail? Utilize added sections to show how you developed your talents.

The sample sections you can attach include:

Now, here’s an example for you:

Skills-Based Resume Example—Added Sections

Good Example

Courses and certificates

  • Branding: The Creative Journey by IE Business School, 2022
  • The Language of Design: Form and Meaning by California Institute of the Arts, 2022

You see? These courses and certificates are the best evidence you’re involved in your development. And recruiters love to see people fascinated by their professional growth.

And voilà! With your skills and traits weaved in most of the skills-based resume sections, you get a powerful resume that speaks for your talents.

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Key Points

Here’s what to remember when writing your skills-based resume for the first time:

  • Mind the skills-based resume formatting rules. Apply one of the recommended fonts and add spaces for readability.
  • Get inspired by our ready-made skills resume template. It complies with all requirements for this resume type.
  • Write a captivating resume objective that encourages a recruiter to study your application further
  • Focus on your skills list, and choose those that can be linked to different duties and activities.
  • Follow this resume section order: header, resume objective, skills, work history, education, and added sections.
  • Check your resume for grammatical errors and avoid them like fire.

Not sure if a skills-based resume is for you? Got questions on how to write it? Let us know in the comment section. We’ll be happy to help!

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Marta Bongilaj
Marta Bongilaj
Marta Bongilaj is a career specialist and a professional resume writer. She's a member of the National Career Development Association and the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. Her extensive marketing background serves as a strong foundation, enabling her to offer pertinent guidance in accentuating candidates' most compelling attributes and crafting resumes that captivate attention. Through her written works, Marta emphasizes the critical role of showcasing unique skills, experiences, and qualifications in a resume, essential for standing out in today's competitive job markets. She furnishes precise and invaluable advice on effectively presenting one's candidacy across various career stages. With a degree in philology, Marta firmly advocates for the significance of concise, persuasive language as the cornerstone of a successful resume. If you're seeking expert counsel on marketing yourself to employers, regardless of your current stage in the recruitment process, Marta's articles are your ultimate destination.

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