Key Skills in Resume – A Short Guide

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 Key skills section should appear before you list all your work experience. An employer will decide whether he should continue reading your resume after reading the list of key skills that you have mentioned. Hence, the section about your key skills should give a perfect outline of your knowledge and expertise;

Remember that your resume is a marketing tool! If you are buying a computer, the first thing that you would check about a model is its configuration: Processor speed, amount of RAM, Hard disk space, the monitor’s size and so on. You look at the configuration because it tells you what that brand of computer can do for you.. Similar to that, the key skills section says about your basic configuration.

If you are not exactly sure about where you should place the ‘key skills’ section, then here is the most commonly used format:

Name and resume title

Career objective


Key Skills

Professional experience


Here is an example of a ‘key skills’ section of a software developer’s resume:



JSP/Servlets, STRUTS, J2EE, EJB, JMS, MDB, AJAX,    Web Service, JAXP, JDBC, Open Adaptor, Socket, Thread,   ODBC, ADO, LDAP, OCX, ActiveX, SMTP, SNMP, Socket,   Hibernate, Spring, Swing, MQ Series, Open JMS, SOAP, SAAJ, SwiftMQ, DTS



Java, HTML/DHTML, XML, XSL, PL/SQL, Visual Basic , PHP,  C, ProC, ASP, C#



Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, Informix, MySQL, MS Access, Foxpro

Application Servers


Tomcat, WebLogic, WebSphere, Interstage, IIS, Covalent, Netscape/iPlanet

Source Control


VSS, CVS, Star Team, Changeman, Merant

Design            / Patterns


UML, DFD, ER, Session Facade, Service Locator, DAO, DTO and  Business Delegates



Eclipse, WSAD, Crystal Report, MS Visual Studio, Filenet P8 APIs, Open Reports, Crystal Clear Report Engine, Oracle Report, TeamWare Flow, iFlow, NetBeans, Cognos CRN/C8



Windows XP, NT, Solaris, HP-UX, DEC-Alpha, MS-DOS

As you see from the above example, the key skills section conveys all the skills that you have. If you are targeting a specific job requirement, it is better to modify the key skills section to list the skills that are more specific to the job.

Here are the things that you must avoid when writing your key skills.

  1. Don’t stuff the key skills section with keywords. Repeating a keyword or listing two skills which mean the same thing are the examples.

  2. Decide the optimal length for the key skills section and don’t make it too long or too short.

  3. Never include a skill if you don’t have it.

If you have included a skill, you should also add relevant information in your work experience to back it up. If you have mentioned ‘SQL Server’ in your key skills, your work experience should say what you did in your job that requires SQL server expertise.

If you are targeting IT requirements, works better since it alerts you with the best matched job requirements depending on your summary, key skills and work experience. It uses FETCH technology that has in built intelligence which decides the best jobs for your profile.

Other articles that you might find useful:

How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)?

Business Intelligence Analyst : Jobs, Salary And Career Advice

Information Technology Jobs In The US

The Types Of IT Contract Jobs (W2, 1099 and Corp-corp) And Where To Find Them?


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