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Where You Should Really List Skills on Your Resume and Why

Add Your Skills to The Work Experience Portion of Your Resume.

Most applicant tracking systems (ATS) can actually match your skills to the job dates and compute your total years of experience for each skill and the date that you last used each skill. This is very important information. You can still use a separate SKILLS section on your resume, just be certain that you also put those same skills into the individual positions in your WORK EXPERIENCE. For example, suppose your resume contains a separate SKILLS section where you have mentioned Microsoft Excel, but Microsoft Excel is not found in your WORK EXPERIENCE section. An ATS will label that skill something like this: Microsoft Excel, total months experience: 0 months. Whereas if you add Microsoft Excel into a position in your WORK HISTORY section that changes things. Notice these 2 contrasting examples:

Example 1:


Acme Inc. | Director of Marketing | January 2015 - January 2020

Utilized Microsoft Excel to create and monitor budgets while identifying opportunities for a 15% reduction in costs.

Example 2:


Microsoft Excel | Quickbooks | Budgeting | Microsoft Office

Example 1 would lead to 5 years of experience with Microsoft Excel being credited to you as a candidate. (Notice the years of experience we underlined in example 1 above) Example 2 would lead to zero years of experience with Microsoft Excel being credited to you because there are no dates for the ATS to associate with the skills listed in the SKILLS section. This same principle applies to any and all skills on your resume. Whenever possible, include your skills in the relevant WORK EXPERIENCE section of your resume and get full credit.

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