Writing Technical Skills into Your Resume - a Complete Guide

Presenting your technical experience on a resume April 30, 2020 · 13 min read

We’ve covered lots of different resume sections already, including the section called Resume Skills.

Now it’s time to dive into writing up the technical skills on your resume.

The first thing you probably want to know is what we mean by technical skills and why you would need them on your resume?

We’re also going to answer the burning question, how do you describe technical skills on a resume?

You’re in the right place to learn about if you’re including the right skills for the job you want, or if you’ve got the hiring manager banging their head in boredom with your pointless details.

Resume technical skillsTechnical skills are an important part of your resume because it tells the hiring manager about professional abilities you have.

We’re going to go through how to pick out the right skills to use and, importantly, how to list them.

Finally, we’re also going to give you some top tips on how you can hone the technical skills you already have and gain some new ones.

Let’s do this…

What Is a Resume Headline and Why to Use it?

Your technical skills are hard skills that relate to how you are able to use technology. This can be computer skills and other things you’re able to do around computing, such as coding.

Just like your hard skills in general, they show potential employers you are able to complete particular tasks or use certain tools or programs. The flip side of this is your soft skills, which are people-oriented skills and don’t really have any solid, numbers-based measures.

As a general rule of thumb, you’d class technical skills as those which are practical in nature and have required you to have some in-depth training.

To be specific about this, here are some examples:

  • Languages for computer programming: PHP, Java, JavaScript, Python etc.
  • Operating systems: Windows, MacOS, Linux, IOS, Android etc.
  • Sales management: experience with CRM and IP telephony, SAP, Dynamics 365 etc.
  • Being a technical writer: Work with Bizagi Modeler documentation automation systems, knowledge of HTML, SQL
  • Accounting: Tax documentation and accounting knowledge, Oracle BPM
  • Translations into foreign languages: Knowledge of a foreign language, dubbing, copywriting etc.

Every job that you apply for is going to have a list of different skills you’ll need to have, so be careful to be really specific when you’re adding hardware, software programs, applications, etc that you are skilled in.

  • IT: Javascript, WordPress, HTML, CSS, Python, PHP, Objective-C, Ruby on Rails
  • Design: Photoshop, Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Acrobat, Adobe Dreamweaver, Corel Draw
  • Sales area: CRM and ERP systems, Dynamics 365, SAP, Odoo
  • Marketing: knowledge of RFM analysis algorithms, work with email marketing tools (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.), experience in the preparation of technical specifications;
  • Plumbing: assembly, installation and dismantling of equipment, the ability to work with mechanical and electric tools (files, vice, drills, etc.);
  • Perfumery: the skill of forming perfumery notes.

Different industries have different technical skills that they use. You need to make sure to do your research for the industry that you’re aiming to be working in.

We’ve got some great advice about pairing your skills with the right proficiency level and be sure to offer supporting evidence for your skills with your other important resume sections, like your work experience section and educational background.

Pro-Tip
When you’re doing applications for specialized positions, it’s likely that you’re competing against candidates who have technical skills, too. You need to be sure you’re proficient in the right technologies to get the job you want.

Why you should list your technical skills on your resume

Computers are now ubiquitous in our lives.

It stands to reason that the modern employment market has a high demand for people with technical skills.

Plus…

Having technical skills is important since most jobs have some level of technology in them, including tools, programs, and processes.

If you’re lucky enough to have technical know-how that’s sought-after in your industry, you’re going to get to the top of the candidate list a lot easier.

There are many different types of technical skills, depending on the industry and type of job you want to get. Examples being…

  • Computer programmers knowing different coding languages is a technical skill
  • As a customer service representative, your technical skills might include using telephone systems or software for managing customer information
  • Technical skills for teachers might mean using instructional technologies or software to monitor attendance, grades, and behavior

If you’re doing something that uses technology and you needed training how to use it, then it can be thought of as a technical skill within your industry.

Technology has permeated into every corner of the modern workforce.

How do you differentiate what your technical skills are, and then decide which ones make it on to your resume?

That’s coming up next…

Pro-Tip
Although mostly associated with jobs in the IT or science-related fields, there are plenty of other industries that will require you to have some technical skills.

What technical skills should be listed on a resume?

It all depends on the industry that you’re job-hunting in as to what hard skills, which are normally technical in nature, are going to be expected of you.

To know exactly what you need to be skilled in for the field you’re applying in is probably going to take a little bit of research.

Your first port of call is to check out the job advertisement for the role you want.

In a job posting, you’ll probably see the potential employer listing the required and the desired technical skills.

  • Required skills are generally non-negotiable, you wouldn’t be able to complete the job without them
  • Desired skills are attributes that the company would really like they see in a candidate, but they’d be happy to train up the right person if they were the ideal candidate in other ways

What if your current skill set doesn’t cover everything that you wish it did?

It’s common for businesses to be happy to offer training whilst you’re working for them. This is especially true to ones that use highly specialized tools or software that they can’t really expect you to have used before.

Even if you have lots of technical skills, you don’t want to go for a scattergun approach to adding them on to your resume.

You need to figure out what it is your future employer is looking for.

When you’re starting to compile your resume, you need to think about what to put under technical skills on a resume. Here are some tips:

  • Read through the job description carefully a few times and you’ll find the primary skills that the company is looking for mentioned a few times
  • Write a list of the technical skills that you have, make sure you only note down up to date ones and ignore ones that aren’t relevant to the job you want to land
  • Look for the skills that cross over both lists, you’ll find skills that you have that are featured in the job listing. These are the ones to include on your resume
  • Be honest about your skills and your level. You’ll soon be caught out if you say you’re an expert in Python and it turns out you’ve only read about it online

You can find out more about the hard skills that are in high demand in 2019, according to LinkedIn. You might surprise yourself and already have some of them.

Our free resume builder lets you build the perfect resume for your dream job in just a few minutes, so you can get the application sent off today!

How to list technical skills on your resume

You don’t need to get too fancy when you add your technical skills to your resume, a simple, bulleted list can sometimes suffice.

However, depending on the skills you need to list, you might need to go deeper and elaborate on your skill level and the breadth of your knowledge.

Several vays to list technical skills on your resumeMake the section readable and focus on technical skills which are important for your future job.

The first thing you need to do is list the technical skills you have.

Now you know the technical skills you have, it’s time to make them sparkle on your resume.

There are different ways to do this, depending on where in your career trajectory you are. Here’s a set of guidelines for you.

  • When you’re switching up your career or don’t have a lot or, or any professional experience, you should weave your technical skills into your professional experience section.
    • As an example, an accountant would be able to refer to their experience with ERP and accounting apps that helped them achieve in their previous roles in the work experience section. This really highlights how you used your technical know-how to add value and your abilities are proven. Don’t forget to use keywords from job description.
    • For placement, your education and internships should take precedence so put your technical skills after your work experience section.
  • When you’re applying for a job and you’ve got a lot of experience, but want to draw attention to your specific skills that really set you apart, add your technical skills in a different section. Be sure to highlight the keywords that you found in the job description, too
  • When applying for jobs in the technology sector, you’re going to want to put your technical skills section right in between the resume objective and your work experience. You can make a bulleted list or write them in a paragraph.

To really show that you know what you’re doing, use bullets that are packed with achievements related to your technical skills to show you really know what you’re doing.

Backup your claims with numbers.

Use numbers, statistics, percentages, and other relevant measures to show how effective you are at using the technology you’re referring to.

If you want the hiring manager to see your key relevant skills first, describe them in the “Skills Summary” section and place it at the top of your resume, before your work experience etc.

To let you see what it looks like, here’s an example listing for a person’s technical skills who’s new to the job market:

  • A broad knowledge of QuickBooks software (аssisted in campus library during 2nd and 3rd semester);
  • Confident user of Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint and Keynote (used to create tables and presentations);
  • Worked with Ximble Scheduling software (organized the schedule for school events hosting over 1,000 people).

In a different vein, here’s what the technical skills section would look like on a resume for someone who is vastly experienced:

  • Design: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Figma, Adobe Xd, Sketch, Powerpoint, Keynote;
  • Storyboarding: Frameforge Storyboard Studio, TVPaint, Studiobinder, Storyboard, Plot;
  • Web: HTML/CSS;
  • Typography: Archetype, FontStruct, Tiff.

Finally, let’s look at what the technical skills section would look like for an applicant in IT sphere:

Paragraph format

You can use raw text for listing your skills:

Technical Skills
Languages: JavaScript, Typescript, CSS3/HTML.
Tools: Angular 10, Webpack, Rollup, VSCode, IntellijIdea, Git, Jenkins.
Operating systems: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X
Skills example in paragraph format

List format

Also you may opt in using more visual representation:

Skills example using visual elements as a list

Before we move on to the next section, it’s important that you remember…

There are a variety of technical abilities.

Don’t put anything untrue on your resume.

When your untruths are uncovered, you’re probably going to get fired and likely harm your personal and professional reputation to boot.

Pro-Tip
When you’re writing your cover letter, you should highlight your key skills there, too. In your letter, you should draw the hiring manager’s attention to a couple of your technical skills and give examples when you used them in your last job.

How to improve your technical skills

If reading all this has made you feel like you lack some technical skills, or you’re looking at changing careers and need to reskill yourself…

There’s nothing stopping you from improving your skills or learning completely new ones.

This is a list of some of the things that you can do to acquire better technical skills:

Great Ways to Get Better Technical Skills or Get Fresh Ones
Read books about technical subjects This could get expensive, and the books are hefty; being filled with lots of code listings, etc, but if you get a good technical book it’ll be well-organized, well-edited, and well-indexed
Take a course to get new skills To get a new technical skill you can take courses or a class. You can investigate taking a course or courses at a local school or even online
Ask a professional for help If you’re lucky, you might find a person who’s got the skills you want. Ask them if they would like to teach you. You can offer money or your own skills in return
Buy subscriptions for technical magazines This requires less financial investment and you can improve your general technical skills and go in directions you wouldn’t find in your current role
Make friends with geeky experts Geeks love talking about the things they love, and help others discover their passions. You can join a computer club or user group to learn from highly skilled geeks
Seek on the job training Some job advertisements will explicitly say they offer training to their new recruits. If it's not listed in the ad, check if the company website mentions their training programs. When you know a company offers new skills to their employees, you can highlight that you're ready to learn and grow into your role. Let your boss know you’re keen to learn so you can improve in your job.

Learning new things can be great fun and very rewarding.

Find a way to learn that’s fun for you, and don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away!

There are plenty of benefits that come along with gaining new technical skills. You’re going to be able to apply for better jobs with a higher salary, and also empower yourself, find new social circles, and maybe even learn how to program your new TV to work with Netflix.

What’s more…

As your technical skills improve you’re going to get better at learning about emerging technology.

The important thing is that you start.

Summing Up

After reading all of that, you should have a clear idea of how to write technical skills on a resume and be armed with some ideas for good technical skills to put on a resume.

To pull it all together…

Technical skills are important and will be more so in the future.

You’ll be able to stand out from the crowd with a good complement of technical skills.

Whichever sector you’re in, and whether your job is technical or as a skilled laborer, your future employer wants to see you have the skills the job requires to be efficient, effective, and successful.

To go over it again, this is why to need them and how to figure out your own.

So…

  • You need to identify the technical skills required by the job, then clearly show that you’re proficient in them to the hiring manager. This will definitely increase your chances of landing your dream job.
  • When you add the right technical skills, those that are relevant to the job you want, you’re going to get past any automated ATS filters and you should get a call for an interview.

Be aware…

  • Soft skills are pretty static, but your technical skills will change and you develop your career.
  • Even when you get the job you want, you should keep on top of your proficiency in your technical skills. Make sure to apply your technical skills and keep them refreshed, particularly if you’re not using some of them in your job.
  • You should try and get out in front of any technical changes your field goes through, rather than playing catch up at a later date, or even letting your knowledge become out of date.

It’s important to note…

You want your list of technical skills to let the recruiter know that you’re perfectly matched for the job that you’re applying for and you’re able to bring real and tangible value to their company.

Show them what you’ve got, where your skills lie, and that you’re better than any other applicant in the pile!