student in media lab


A Skills section adds value to a resume, especially when work experience is limited. Place Skills after either Education or Experience. The purpose of this section is to list any special skills that an employer might find useful or intriguing, whether or not they are exactly relevant to the job at hand. This section is typically a bulleted list, for example:

  • Bi-Lingual, English and Spanish
  • Effective researcher, writer and public speaker
  • Skilled in political advocacy and organizing
  • Computer: PhotoShop, Publisher, PowerPoint, Access, ISIS Draw, MS Excel
  • Trained in mediation and conflict resolution
  • Ability to work well with diverse cultures

Sometimes it's effective to showcase relevant skills in a Highlights section.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are universal skills that can be applied from one type of work to another without much effort on your part or training from an employer. Such skills are acquired in work, academic, and volunteer settings.


Transferable skill statement: "I can meet deadlines."
Example: "While in school, I rarely missed a due date on an assignment."
Connection: "If I was able to meet deadlines in school, I will also be able to meet your work deadlines and quotas."

Transferable skill statement: "I am a well-organized person."
Example: "At my last job I had six bosses. I had to organize my time and set priorities to get the job done to everyone's satisfaction."
Connection: "If I could handle that confusion, I 'm sure I'll be able to deal with the organizational demands of this job."

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has an excellent page on Transferable Skills, including a skills checklist self-test. It's worth doing, if you are kind of stumped about how to describe your strengths and skills. A CORC career counselor can also help you identify skills.

If you think you have nothing to put on a resume, think about these qualities that employers look for in candidates:

  • Verbal and written communication
  • Teamwork (ability to work in groups)
  • Ability to relate to diverse groups of people
  • Motivation and initiative
  • Strong work ethic
  • Analytical skills
  • Adaptability and flexibility
  • Computer skills
  • Self confidence

In addition to the Skills section on your resume, determine which of your skills are most important for the position you are interested in and highlight them in your cover letter.



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