Special Skills

The Importance of Special Skills

Preparing your resume includes detailing your education, employment history and special skills in such a manner as to attract the attention of potential employers.  While most candidates will have comparable education and experience for the job, it is the skills you possess that can make you stand out from the crowd. 


The purpose of a resume is to provide an employer with a brief yet comprehensive snapshot of your proficiency and suitability for the job available within their company.  The average time an employer spends looking at a resume is approximately 15 to 20 seconds, which means that it must immediately get their attention for you to get an interview for the job.  Getting an interview is the main goal for sending a resume, so making your resume clear, concise and ensuring that vital information is offered gives the best chance to garner that coveted meeting with the employer.

Different formats can be used to achieve different results on resumes.  A few of the most popular formats are chronological, functional and a combination between these two.  Chronological is perfect for those who have past job histories to list; functional focuses on skills and experiences making it ideal for those with sparse job history.  Combination uses both techniques in coordination to exhibit a well rounded resume.  Regardless of the format chosen, one key attribute should be found in each:  the individual’s special skills. 

Why they are important

Most employers look for individuals that have the proper skills to do the job so that the integration of the new employee into the staff is as seamless and smooth as possible.  While some training is always necessary to learn the specific procedures of a company, those who already possess the skills needed for the job will assume their duties in a shorter period of time. 

Certain jobs place a great importance on specific skills, and employers will only interview candidates with high proficiency in those skills.  Neglecting to highlight your abilities could very well cost you the opportunity to sell yourself face to face to an employer. 

What employers look for

What individuals can offer an employer in terms of capabilities is an important consideration as a potential employee.  The abilities should be matched to the type of job for which the individual is applying; spending two years as a short order cook has little bearing when applying for a job as landscape assistant.  Some skills, however, can be beneficial to any type of job; for example, the ability to speak a foreign language can be a great advantage in just about any type of position that has contact with clients. 

Examples of skills that should be showcased for potential employers are computer proficiency, typing, dictation, expertise with specific equipment or tools and experience utilizing specific systems such as multi-line telephones.  Do not downgrade any skills; what may not seem important to you to mention may be the one skill the employer is seeking. 

Presentation tips

How these abilities are presented in the resume is equally as important as the skills themselves.  Since employers spend so little time looking at an individual resume, skills tucked away at the end of the resume like an afterthought will have little if any effect. To successfully capture the attention of the reader, your skills must be prominently displayed at the forefront of the resume under their own category so as to immediately alert the reader as to your capabilities. 

Many people are actively seeking employment, and the number of resumes received by an employer in response to a job opening can be overwhelming.  Only those who possess the special skills required for the job will be interviewed, so being sure that your expertise and skills are immediately visible on the resume could be the key to opening the door for a job opportunity.