Skills-Based vs. Traditional: Which Resume Is for You?



Your resume should show you are the ideal person for the job. However, if you’re a recent graduate with no work experience or you’re trying to change careers and want to list your transferable skills over experience in a different industry, you’re going to need a skills-based resume.

The conventional reverse-chronological format may be the most popular resume format, but it’s not the only one. As with the examples listed above, there are times when a format that highlights your abilities might be a better fit.

If you’re currently wondering about this lesser-known resume style, consider the following points.

The traditional resume

The reverse-chronological resume structure is the most typical kind of resume utilized by people looking for work. In a traditional resume, a career objective and career summary are followed by a work history section that lists a person’s employers in reverse chronological order, starting with the current or last employer and working backwards from there.

Its level of popularity is due to the fact traditional resumes are preferred by hiring managers for their readability. Someone looking to hire wants to know what a candidate has been up to. Hiring personnel assume most people applying for a position have the most basic skills necessary and don’t need to see them at the top of a resume.

If you have some experience in your field and a traditional career path, you should embrace this common format. This format is particularly useful if you have a track record of advancement in your field and a good work history without many gaps.

The skills-based resume

Instead of focusing on work history, a skills-based resume concentrates on particular abilities and facets of work experience that will seem valuable to the hiring manager receiving the resume. These skills and experiences might have been gained in school, during an internship, doing volunteer work, during military service or in a field that doesn’t include the job being sought. For instance, someone who currently has a job in business banking looking for work as a machinist would use a skills-based resume to highlight contributions to boost productivity, a track record of consistently meeting deadlines and thriving in a pressure-packed environment that involves millions of dollars in transactions each day.

In a skills-based resume, work history is still included, but the section is listed towards the bottom of the document. By taking the main focus off of earlier positions and titles, a skills-based resume highlights “transferable” experiences and abilities, or those skills and experiences that could translate from one professional situation to another.

If you have had a series of short-term positions, have large gaps in your work history, are changing careers or just entering the workforce, a skills-based resume is the format for you.

At NSC, we help hardworking people in every career stage. Please contact us today to find out how we can support your career goals.


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