‘Key skills’ section in your resume quickly tells the employer or the recruiter about the area of your expertise and how it can help with the job requirement. Here is a short guide on writing key skills.

This section should appear before you list all your work experience. An employer will decide whether he should continue reading your resume after reading the list of key skills that you have mentioned. Hence, this section should give a perfect outline of your knowledge and expertise;

Remember that your resume is a marketing tool! If you are buying a computer, the first thing that you would check about a model is its configuration: Processor speed, amount of RAM, Hard disk space, the monitor’s size and so on. You look at the configuration because it tells you what that brand of computer can do for you.. Similar to that, the key skills section says about your basic configuration.

If you are not exactly sure about where you should place it, then here is the most commonly used format:

Name and resume title

Career objective


Key Skills

Professional experience


Here is an example of a ‘key skills’ section of a software developer’s resume:


JSP/Servlets, STRUTS, J2EE, EJB, JMS, MDB, AJAX, Web Service, JAXP, JDBC, Open Adaptor, Socket, Thread, ODBC, ADO, LDAP, OCX, ActiveX, SMTP, SNMP, Socket, Hibernate, Spring, Swing, MQ Series, Open JMS, SOAP, SAAJ, SwiftMQ, DTS


Java, HTML/DHTML, XML, XSL, PL/SQL, Visual Basic, PHP, C, ProC, ASP, C#


Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, Informix, MySQL, MS Access, Foxpro

Application Servers:

Tomcat, WebLogic, WebSphere, Interstage, IIS, Covalent, Netscape/iPlanet

Source Control:

VSS, CVS, Star Team, Changeman, Merant

Design / Patterns:

UML, DFD, ER, Session Facade, Service Locator, DAO, DTO and Business Delegates


Eclipse, WSAD, Crystal Report, MS Visual Studio, Filenet P8 APIs, Open Reports, Crystal Clear Report Engine, Oracle Report, TeamWare Flow, iFlow, NetBeans, Cognos CRN/C8


Windows XP, NT, Solaris, HP-UX, DEC-Alpha, MS-DOS

As you see from the above example, the key skills section conveys all the skills that you have. If you are targeting a specific job requirement, it is better to modify this section to list the skills that are more specific to the job.

Here are the things that you must avoid when writing your key skills.

1. Don’t stuff the section with keywords. Repeating a keyword or listing two skills which mean the same thing are the examples.

2. Decide the optimal length and don’t make it too long or too short.

3. Never include a skill if you don’t have it.

If you have included a skill, you should also add relevant information in your work experience to back it up. If you have mentioned ‘SQL Server’ in your key skills, your work experience should say what you did in your job that requires SQL server expertise.

Source by Shanmugam Piramanayagam