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Writing a Skills-based Resume

If you’re fresh out of university, you likely never held down a full time job. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a resume. If you’re looking for your first job or if you’re looking to try something new, you need a resume that highlights your skills and speaks about your capabilities in a broad sense.

How to write a skills-based resume

How To Write A Skills-Based Resume

The primary focus of your resume should not be about who you worked for and the types of responsibilities and projects you held, whether part time or over the summer. You need to hone in on particular experience and skills in a broader sense to show how it can apply to your first time or if you’re heading into a completely new field.

For instance, say a candidate was a successful intellectual property lawyer and now wants to make the transition to public relations. The PR employer could care less about the law practices the candidate worked at or that he was a top-earning partner at the firm. What they will care about are relevant skills he has to offer, such as writing, and persuasive and effective communications.

At Getin2China, we regularly place interns with companies unrelated to their studies or work experience. Many intern in China hopefuls tell us they want to try something completely different and unrelated to their experience. Not a problem. They key is selling yourself, both on your resume, and during the interview to show that the skills you do have are applicable to the new job at hand.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes

Think about what skills and strengths the employer would desire from a candidate and where you have similar skills and strengths that can be supported by your previous work or internships. To get a better sense of what skills and strengths are important to the employer, review the job posting for information on qualifications sought. Also look at job descriptions for the position from other employers on job boards.

Top Your Resume With Points On Relevant Skills

After listing your contact information at the top of your resume, create a heading section called “Summary of Qualifications.” Here you will outline the particular relevant experience and transferable skills you have to offer. This will help you make an immediate positive impression and show you are relevant.

Use The Reverse Chronological Format

But now you will focus on the transferable skills you demonstrated as opposed to the industry and functional-specific information.

For example, if you’ve done an internship abroad, like an internship in Beijing or an internship in Shanghai, it shows great independence on your part. Make that clear. If your internship was in a culture completely different from your own, it shows that you are open-minded, adaptable and able to get outside your comfort zone. In this era of globalization, companies are regularly sending their employees on international business trips. Sometimes, workers are transferred for months on end or posted abroad for a year or more. Not everyone is interested or even capable of handling living in another country. If you can, make it clear on your resume.

Include Other Relevant Information

If you took courses or volunteered for work that is relevant to your new career, that can also help you make a positive impression. It shows the employer that you have taken initiative to continue to improve yourself for the particular career and have true interest in entering this track.

There may also be skills you have, but ones that were not fully used in your previous career that are worth highlighting in your resume now. For instance, are you bilingual in Spanish and English? It is worth noting if the employer’s client base happens to be multi-cultural.
Intern Update: Tom James
Intern Testimonial: Nicole Kwok

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