Core Competencies on a Resume | Definition, Examples & FAQs

Core Competencies on a Resume | Definition, Examples & FAQs

How to Add Core Competencies Section for Your Resume

Crafting a resume core competencies section is easy if you know what you’re doing. We’ve broken the process down into a few simple steps:

1) Identify Your Core Competencies

What are your key strengths? What makes you good at what you do? Compile a long list of all your most impressive professional capabilities and qualities. Include a combination of technical skills, soft skills, industry-specific knowledge, personality traits, and other sources of expertise.

Remember that core competencies are usually broader than individual task-oriented skills and often comprise several related skills. Keep this wider view in mind when listing your strengths.

2) Pinpoint Core Competencies Valued By The Employer

Read through the job description for the role you’re interested in and jot down all the core competencies mentioned there. These might not be listed clearly as requirements but incorporated more subtly into the ad’s text.

For example, the description might say, “We’re looking for a team player who can meet tight deadlines in a high-pressure work environment.” In this case, you’d note that the employer values collaboration, time management, and stress management as core competencies.

3) Find Overlap

Look at which skills and qualifications appear on both your initial list and the one you created from the job description. You should highlight These core competencies on your resume as they’re most relevant to the position you’re applying for.

In the end, you should have a list of about eight options. If your list is longer, try to cut it down by selecting the eight or nine competencies most pertinent to the role.

4) Distill Descriptions Into A Short Phrase

This section is meant to be short and sharp so hiring managers can glean information with one quick glance. So try to capture your core competencies in just one or two words. For instance, instead of writing “Skilled at identifying and serving customers’ needs,” you could list “Service orientation.”

5) Present Your Core Competencies In An Easy-To-Read Format

You can use bullet points or a similar device to itemize your competencies and make them easy to read. It’s a good idea to arrange your list across, rather than down, the page so that it takes up very little space – resume real estate is precious, after all.

Many people choose to present their core competencies horizontally, separating each entry with a vertical bar.

For a marketing manager, this would look something like the following:

[Contact information]

Strategic Planning | Team Leadership | Accountability | Market Research
Campaign Management | Content Creation | Creative Thinking | Professionalism

6) Choose A Location

A core competencies section is usually placed below your name and contact details at the top of your resume. This ensures that it’s one of the first things a potential employer will see.

There’s no hard and fast rule about its placement, though. For example, you could add it underneath your summary or objective statement or down one side of your resume in a column. It is a matter of taste and what works for your specific needs.

7) Label It

It’s not actually necessary to title this section if it appears directly below your contact information. It’s quite clear what it is.

That said, if you want to name it, an obvious choice is “Core Competencies,” which is a phrase most employers will be familiar with. Otherwise, you can opt for titles like “Core Qualifications,” “Core Strengths,” “Summary of Qualifications,” or even just “Highlights”.

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