University Relations

Effectively Summarize Your Skills

The language you use to describe your skills and experiences is very important. Use strong statements that make your skills stand out effectively on your resume.

Strong Skills Statement = Action Verb + Details + Result

Use Action Words
  • Identify what the employer's needs from this position. Look at the job description and your own research about the organization/position. Identify skills and experpiences that are essential for this position.
  • When addressing the essential skills needed for this position, use action words (e.g., "developed", "coordinated", "analyzed").
  • Choose words that demonstrate responsibility (e.g., instead of "made up," use "created" or "designed").
  • Avoid paragraphs. Use bullet points to make it easier for someone to quickly assess the skills you have.
  • Vary the words you choose. This makes your abilities sound diversified, and adds some depth.
How to Summarize Details
  • Ask yourself the following questions about your experiences/skills: What? Who? For Whom? Where? Why? How?
  • Use numbers to quantify your skills and experience whenever possible (when it is to your benefit).
  • Find the balance between too short and too long. Make the majority of bullet-point statements one line.
Show the Results of Your Experience/Skills
  • Expand your concept of "results" beyond a quantifiable figure. Numbers are not your only achievements.
  • To help you assess results, ask yourself this: As a result of my action, what happened to… me? …to my "client"? …to others involved?
Examples of Effective Skills Statements:

Before: Responsible for supervising employees
After: Organized the training and supervision of 10 employees, in addition to conducting annual reviews of employees to guarantee quality service.

Before: Answered phones
After: Responded to an average of 200 service inquiry phone calls per day in a helpful, professional, and courteous manner.

Before: Customer Relations
After: Interacted with a diverse group of customers, tailoring services to fit their needs.

Before: Waited on tables
After: Managed 8 tables per shift, using interpersonal skills to ensure customer satisfaction through prompt, cordial service.