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17 Resume Core Competencies You Should List on Your Resume

A resume core competencies section will help you grab prospective employers’ attention and encourage them to study the remainder of your application materials as you are given a limited amount of room to create a significant impact when you’re constructing a resume.

This article describes what a resume core competencies section is, how to make one, and lists 17 essential competencies that should be included.

What does a resume core competencies section mean?

Your resume’s “core competencies,” usually referred to as your “core qualifications,” are a list of your job-related qualifications. Your talents, certifications, software product expertise, and personality attributes that make you a suitable candidate are all listed in the resume core competencies area. On your CV, include a section listing your essential competencies just below your name, along with your contact information and a summary section, so hiring managers can notice it right away.

The inclusion of this part on your resume has two key advantages. First, it can catch the eye of any company that is evaluating your resume. Employers may just spend a few seconds scanning a resume, so you only have a little window of opportunity to capture their attention. You can provide a summary of your qualifications for prospective employers by highlighting your resume core competencies and talents in one section.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is another reason to include a key competencies section. Software that can scan resumes and evaluate their content is known as an ATS. An ATS analyzes your resume and looks at specific keywords the company supplied. It might send your résumé to a recruiter if it discovers these words on your page. If not, your application might not be taken into further consideration.

For instance, if a company is interested in employing an advertising manager, it could want its applicant tracking system (ATS) to scan for terms like “SEO,” “Inbound,” or “Social media.” You should include these keywords in your core competency area if you are skilled in them to ensure that the ATS can recognize them.

How to develop your resume core competencies section

To write a resume core competencies section for your CV, use the following guidelines:

Make a list of your strongest traits.

A resume core competencies section may comprise up to ten to thirty qualifications or talents, according to your role and skill level. Use the characteristics that best identify you as the ideal applicant for the position while writing this part. Include any expertise you have in the field or certificates proving your commitment. Look for any keywords in the job description that you may be able to use.

For the sake of showcasing your variety of skills, endeavor to make every skill distinct and varied. Employing qualifications that are in line with the job advertisement in this first area can attract the hiring manager and ATS’s attention right away.

Keep it brief.

To save space in the resume core competencies section, you ought to use only one or two words to define each competency. You can divide each skill with a straight line or use bullet points. To take up as little room as possible, it may be advantageous to add them in a row rather than a column. For instance: Ability 1 | Ability 2 | Ability 3 | Ability 4 |

Make it specific to each application.

Instead of sending the same resume to all open positions, you should adapt every component of it to that particular employer. Changing the resume core competencies portion of each application demonstrates interest in the job and can improve ATS scores.

Select a layout

While it’s common practice to provide resume core competencies immediately after your contact details and name, you can also place them either above or below your resume aim or summary. Pick a design for your resume that you feel is the most eye-catching. This section can alternatively be created using a resume builder or template as a reference.

You might also think about categorizing your skills to make them easier to understand and make it simpler for hiring managers to identify the qualifications they’re looking for. For instance:

Technical abilities

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
  • Skill 4

Interpersonal abilities

  • Skill 1
  • Skill 2
  • Skill 3
  • Skill 4


  • Certification 1
  • Certification 2

17 resume core competencies

Below are 17 examples of the kinds of abilities and credentials you’ll typically see in a resume core competencies section:

  1. Flexibility: Demonstrates your willingness and capacity to adjust to any situation
  2. Leadership: Demonstrates your capacity to assemble and manage a team
  3. Communication: Your capacity to interact with clients, coworkers, and bosses is demonstrated through your communication skills.
  4. Time management: Demonstrates your capacity for creating schedules and finishing projects
  5. Problem-solving: This shows how you assess situations and come up with workable solutions.
  6. Teamwork: Shows that you get along well with other people and perform well under pressure.
  7. Responsibility: Shows that you are capable of being relied upon to do tasks that have been given to you.
  8. Adaptability: Demonstrates your capacity to change with the times while maintaining a high level of performance.
  9. Motivation: This is the capacity to maintain one’s own and others’ motivation.
  10. Focus: Demonstrates how attentive you are to tasks.
  11. Integrity: Shows that you only turn forth finished products that adhere to your strict standards.
  12. Excellence-focused commitment: Demonstrates your commitment to doing your finest work.
  13. Career-focused: Demonstrates that you are committed to progressing in your career path.
  14. Ambitious: Demonstrates that you put forth your best effort and are not averse to taking chances.
  15. Avid learner: Demonstrates your devotion to self-improvement.
  16. Results-driven: Denotes that you always strive to produce the best outcomes when working on a project.
  17. Learning collaboratively: demonstrates your enthusiasm for teamwork and your desire to learn on the job

Although the aforementioned qualities are interpersonal skills, it’s crucial to highlight your industry-specific abilities in the section on resume core competencies.

If you have a long list of talents to list or would like to emphasize your primary competencies, another alternative is to use a different resume structure, such as a functional one. Here is an example of a functional resume:

Resume samples for resume core competencies

Following are a few illustrations of resume core competencies in a resume:

Line chef

Cleanliness | Food safety | Attention to detail | Problem-solving | Ability to work well under pressure | Efficiency | Strong work ethic

Marketing director

Project management | Flexibility | Writing for social media | SEO | PPC | Inbound marketing | Video marketing | Leadership


Innovative | Organized | Special Education | ESL | Patience | Curriculum Development | Innovative | Public Speaking | Engaging

Front desk staff

Friendly | punctual | professional | computer literate | multilingual | organized | adaptable | problem solver

Typical Resume Formats

The three most popular resume types are functional, chronological, and combination. Think about your professional background and the position you’re applying for when selecting a resume format. For instance, if you have little work experience, a functional resume, which places less emphasis on job history, could instead highlight your academic accomplishments, volunteer work, or apprenticeships.

1st resume format: Chronological resume

A chronological resume presents your professional history in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent job you held. The most conventional resume format has long since remained the most often used.

The following details are often listed in chronological order on a resume:

  • Contact details
  • Statement of purpose or summary
  • Relevant experience and/or skills
  • Education
  • Optional additional information, such as volunteer experience and unique interests

How and when to utilize a chronological resume

Any candidate whose employment history demonstrates a steady, upward career trajectory should consider using a chronological resume. If, for instance, you’ve worked in the same business for several years and each position you’ve held has been more senior than the one before, you can use a chronological resume structure. Individuals who are applying to jobs in the same or related industry to the majority of their prior employment sometimes use it as well.

However, you might want to think about a functional or combo resume if you have numerous employment gaps, are wanting to change careers, or have a wide range of work experience.

2nd resume format: Functional resume

Functional resumes place more emphasis on applicable abilities than work experience. The functional structure concentrates on the applicant’s skill set pertinent to the job that you are searching for, while the chronological approach promotes work experience with comprehensive overviews of the accomplishments in every job.

The following details are often listed in the functional resume format in the following order:

  • Contact details
  • Statement of purpose or summary
  • A list of the relevant talents
  • Professional experience
  • Additional information, such as volunteer experience and unique interests

How and when to use a functional resume

Use a functional resume if you are a first-time worker, have a lengthy employment break or several gaps in your employment history during the past five years, or are switching careers significantly. You may highlight the appropriate credentials for the job you want by emphasizing your most pertinent successes and your transferable talents from one industry to another. Additionally, this puts the information that matters most to a recruiter first rather than emphasizing a career history that is unrelated to the position.

A functional resume could be overly restrictive in some circumstances. A combined resume may be the best option if you possess some experience and little or no gaps in your career history.

3rd resume format: Combination resume

A combination resume combines the features of both a chronological and functional resume. You can highlight your relevant talents and professional experience with this resume format. It may be necessary to omit optional parts like a summary statement, volunteer experience, or special interests because your abilities and career history will take up the majority of the available space on your resume.

The following details are often listed in the following sequence in a combo resume format:

  • Contact details
  • Statement of purpose or summary
  • A list of the most important skills
  • Professional experience
  • Education

The combination resume style is more flexible, so depending on whatever you think is more crucial for the position, you should either put your abilities or your professional experience first. For instance, you can think about placing your distinctive abilities above your professional experience if they are particularly important to the sector in which you are searching for employment. To learn what the company values most in a candidate, it can be good to seek hints in the job description.

How and when to utilize a combination resume

If you are making a modest career change or if your work history is varied and the relevance to the position you are looking for might not be immediately apparent, a combination resume might be appropriate for you. For instance, if you’re looking for a people management role and you have a lot of expertise in team leadership but you’ve never held an official “manager” job title, you might utilize a combo resume. Your leadership achievements and transferable leadership talents can be highlighted using this method.

Why are these the most effective resume formats?

These three resume forms are among the finest because they are simple to comprehend and are probably going to be processed via an applicant tracking system (ATS) without making serious mistakes, however, some ATS may have trouble reading a functional resume.

Recruiters frequently have to analyze a large number of applicants for a single vacant position. Because they are familiar with where to obtain the information they need, they can read a resume in a standard style more quickly and comprehensively. A recruiter will check your talents section, which is either listed below or above your professional experience, if a position, for instance, calls for a particular expertise. If it takes them too long to get the information they need, they might give up and conclude you lack the qualification because they only have so much time to analyze each CV.

Formatting guidelines for resumes

The purpose of resume formatting is to produce a polished, simple-to-read document. Because employers only have a few seconds to review your resume, you should style it in a way that makes information apparent and simple to access. If you are formatting a previous resume, you may have to change a few phrases or words to make sure the document is still readable after formatting changes have been made. When structuring a resume before writing it, be mindful of how the material appears on the page and make any necessary adjustments.

The main steps for formatting a resume are listed below. Let’s take a more detailed look at all of these elements. When creating or revising your resume, think about how you might use each of them.

1. Use suitable margins

Setting suitable margins for your text ensures that the information remains inside the reading space on the page. One inch on all sides is the typical margin for resumes and other official documents like cover letters and resignation letters.

One-inch margins are probably your best bet if your resume is brief and contains a lot of white space if you want to produce a well-spaced copy with text that fills the page. You can minimize your margins if you need extra room to discuss your relevant experience and talents.80 inches. If you choose to change your margins, make sure they remain at or above.5 inches spanning the outside of the text. When the document gets converted to a PDF or scanned by an ATS, the 5-inch margins are frequently omitted.

For the best reading experience for potential employers, align all of the languages on your resume to the left. Your name, contact details, and headline can all be centered if you’d like. Only this area should be taken into account if you decide to center any text.

2. Pick a credible, readable font.

Remember that your resume should be clean and simple to read when choosing the typeface to use. The most crucial aspect to consider when selecting a font is making sure employers don’t have to strain to understand phrases on your resume. Sending your CV via an applicant tracking system is also beneficial.

A lot of companies use an ATS, which occasionally has trouble reading and interpreting complex fonts. Additionally, stay away from “light” or “thin” fonts, which can occasionally be challenging for readers to read on paper on a screen.

Serif and sans-serif fonts are the two major font types. Although sans-serif fonts lack tails, serif typefaces do. Sans serif fonts, often known as fonts without tails, typically work well for resumes because of their clear, readable lines. However, other fonts, such as Georgia, are still seen by many companies as being straightforward and expert.

The top resume typefaces are displayed in the following examples:

  • Cambria
  • Gill Sans
  • Avenir
  • Franklin Gothic
  • Calibri
  • Garamond
  • Corbel
  • Constantia
  • Helvetica
  • Georgia

3. Use a 10 to 12-point font size.

Choosing the right font size might help your writing be more readable and understandable. In general, you want to stay between 10 and 12. Choose a 12-point font if you want to fill space on a brief resume. Any larger could come off as unprofessional. Begin with a 10-point font on your resume if it has a lot of information, and if there is room, expand it.

4. Keep your points brief.

Avoid making your font any smaller if your resume is still longer than a single page with 10-point font. As an alternative, look for ways to make your ideas shorter. You can accomplish this by eliminating any redundant or irrelevant material, integrating thoughts, or keeping the content shorter with fewer redundant words and shorter sentences.

Here is an example of a sentence from a CV that may be condensed:

“Performed monthly inventory audits and identified over-ordering issues; implemented an organizational solution across all teams, resulting in a 20% increase in profit over the next three quarters.”

Condense your thoughts and eliminate extraneous words so that the main idea of your assertion is all that remains:

“Conducted routine inventory audits, locating and resolving over-ordering problems to accomplish a 20% profit increase.”

Here are some additional techniques you can employ to create a shorter resume:

  • The terms “like,” “with,” “a,” “and,” and “that,” as well as other filler words, might be dropped.
  • Instead of detailing every duty you performed in every position you held, focus on 2-3 important contributions you made.
  • Consider integrating two comparable arguments into one succinct statement if you have them.
  • Adjust the space between sections.

5. Include section headings

Employers can discover the material they’re seeking more quickly by using bold, underlining, or section headings with font size increases of one or two points. Section headers should be distinguished from the section contents in a neat, professional manner when formatting them. Your headers can be stylized in several different ways:

  • Your section headings should be written in a “bold” typeface.
  • Your section heading font size should be increased to 12 or 14 points.
  • Section headings should be italicized.

These formats can also be used for the name and contact details at the top of your resume. Employers should see this information right away, and it ought to be simple to understand and use as a resource.

Avoid placing lines that extend across the page when distinguishing section heads. This type of formatting element frequently results in problems like scrambled text when scanned by an ATS, making it challenging to understand your resume.

6. When necessary, use bullet points

Employers can quickly understand the most pertinent information from your past by using bullet points in the sections on your experience, talents, and education. Your accomplishments list should be composed of bullet points. Avoid using just a few bullet points in a section; instead, state your material in sentence form or, if there are fewer than three items of information, use additional punctuation to indicate the separation of concepts.

For instance, you might use bullet points to explain how you succeeded in a particular role when discussing it in the work experience section of your resume:

  • Consistently use safety when using power tools, overhead cranes, hoists, and other types of construction equipment
  • Provided parts to 22 field technicians and predicted the needs of 12 on-site staff.
  • Finished time cards, service reports, and other paperwork relating to project equipment every week.

If you don’t have a minimum of three thoughts to contribute to the education part, it could resemble something like this sans bullet points:


Juris Doctor

Board Certified by the Florida Bar

7. Request feedback

Ask dependable friends or coworkers to examine your resume once you’ve completed writing and structuring it. Getting comments and a second opinion can be useful. They should focus on your formatting as well as any grammar and spelling errors you could have overlooked. Ask them to keep an eye out for readability, uniformity, and a polished appearance.

Examples of resume formats

Consider looking at resume examples from your sector and career when creating or revising your resume. Although you shouldn’t use them as precise templates, they might help you come up with creative ways to showcase your qualifications to potential companies.

Here are samples of resumes that would adhere to each of the three formats:

Example of a chronological resume

Pedro Perez

5555 Main Boulevard | Houston, Texas 77002 |


Professional communicator with six years of experience looking for a job with a charitable organization in which I can use my philanthropic zeal and public relations expertise.

Professional abilities

Managing public relations I Corporate communication I teamwork I Personal interactions I process simplification


Public relations specialist

The Humanitarian Foundation, 2018 – present

  • Develop and manage PR campaigns to foster a favorable public perception of The Volunteer Foundation.
  • Manage the PR team and serve as a mentor for young PR specialists.

Public relations professional

The Humanitarian Foundation, 2016–2018

  • Assisted the PR staff in maintaining a positive public image by ensuring that all fundraising initiatives, neighborhood activities, and other special projects adhered to the organization’s brand requirements.
  • Supervised a group of eight volunteers.

Communications Officer

XYZ Company 2014–2016

  • Raised brand awareness through a variety of marketing initiatives, such as campaigns on social media and online advertising initiatives.
  • Developed and distributed printed marketing materials with assistance.


Tennessee State University, B.A. in Journalism

Volunteer Work

Emergency Volunteer, Public Relations, American Red Cross, 2017-Present

Example of a functional resume

Janet Brown

555 Metropolis Avenue | Evansville, ID 40921 |


Dedicated and diligent sales professional looking for an account management job in the healthcare sector with over a decade of experience.

Areas of Specialization

Pharmaceutical, medical device, and supply sales

I’ve had a ton of success marketing to healthcare institutions, from big hospitals to tiny private offices. I’ve supervised prospecting initiatives, relationship building, onboarding of new clients, and account management in the medical equipment and pharmaceutical product sectors in previous positions.

Relationship Administration

I am adept at fostering relationships with current clients and establishing new ones with prospects. In past positions, I increased client retention rates by as much as 350% year-on-year by combining my skills in dispute resolution and relationship-building.

Sales Team Management

I’ve led teams to consistently surpass monthly, quarterly, and annual quotas while leading a sales team of over 15 sales partners at once. I’ve also coached and supervised junior sales reps.

Professional Experience

Regional Sales Director

XYZ Healthcare Supplies, Ltd., 2013–2018

  • Supervised a group of 40 sales agents.
  • Supervised and trained new sales agents.
  • Managed a regional account list with an average of over 85 active customers and 50 prospects.

Account Executive

ABC Pharmaceuticals Co., 2009–2013

  • Managed a client base of over 50 clients, including small and medium-sized clinics and private offices.
  • Utilized frequent on-site visits, regular check-ins, and quarterly updates to work to enhance account growth.

Junior Sales Associate

ABC Pharmaceuticals Co., 2007–2008

  • Increased exposure of XYZ Pharmaceuticals Co. goods to small private clinics through on-site instruction.
  • Information regarding novel drugs was disseminated to forge connections with potential customers.


B. SC in Business Administration – University of Texas


Licensed National Pharmaceutical Representative

Example of a combination resume

Jillian Hardy

222 Primary Boulevard | Los Angeles, CA 92104 |

Work Experience

Head of Creative

Xyz Ltd., 2014-2016

  • Oversee a group of 15 creatives, comprising copywriters and designers.
  • Oversee all internal creative projects and make sure all products adhere to brand standards.

Senior Graphic Artist

The ABC Group, 2014–2016

  • Created artwork for all digital sites.
  • Redesigned a website from the ground up that lowered bounce rates by 40%.
  • Created an in-house brand style manual that has since been utilized by every member of the creative team.

Graphic Artist

XYZ Creative Firm, 2011–2012

  • Create graphic concepts for print and web design, such as web pages, smartphone sites, digital advertisements, business cards, and exhibition materials.

Relevant Skills

Team Leadership

Organize a group of creative resources, take control during team meetings, and provide mentoring as required.

Project Administration

Manage every aspect of creative projects, such as the schedule, the allocation of resources, internal communication, and the dissemination of progress updates to external stakeholders.


Create logos, brand marks, brand color palettes, and style guides to maintain consistency across all materials.

Additional Competencies

Adobe Creative Suite, Client Communication, Typography, Mobile Design, Time Management


The University of the Golden State, San Diego, US

Graphic design certificate and a bachelor of arts in advertising


In conclusion, including resume core competencies on your resume is an effective way to highlight your unique skills and qualifications to potential employers. These competencies provide a snapshot of your expertise and demonstrate how you can add value to a company. By carefully selecting and listing relevant resume core competencies, you can effectively showcase your strengths and increase your chances of landing an interview.

Remember to tailor your competencies to match the requirements of the job you are applying for and provide specific examples of how you have demonstrated these competencies in your previous roles. A well-crafted resume that showcases your resume core competencies can make a strong impression and help you stand out from other candidates in today’s competitive job market.

Frequently Asked Questions about resume core competencies

  • What are resume core competencies, and why are they important on a resume?

Resume core competencies are specific skills, knowledge, or abilities that are essential for performing a job effectively. They represent your unique strengths and qualifications. Including resume core competencies on your resume is important because they quickly highlight your key skills and expertise, helping employers assess your suitability for a position.

  • How do I determine which resume core competencies to include on my resume?

To determine which resume core competencies to include on your resume, start by carefully reviewing the job description and identifying the key skills and qualifications that the employer is seeking. Tailor your resume core competencies to match those requirements, focusing on the ones that align most closely with the job. Consider your past experiences, education, certifications, and any specialized training that you have received that make you stand out in your field.

  • Should I include soft skills as resume core competencies on my resume?

Yes, including soft skills as resume core competencies is highly recommended. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and leadership are valuable in any role and can set you apart from other candidates. These skills demonstrate your ability to work well with others, adapt to different situations, and contribute positively to the work environment.

  • How should I format the resume core competencies section on my resume?

The format of the resume core competencies section on your resume will depend on your personal preference and the overall structure of your resume. One common approach is to create a separate section titled “Core Competencies” or “Key Skills.” List your competencies as bullet points, using a concise and specific language. You can also incorporate your resume core competencies within the descriptions of your work experience or qualifications summary if it flows more naturally.

  • Should I provide examples or evidence of my resume core competencies on my resume?

While it is not necessary to provide detailed examples of your resume core competencies, it can be beneficial to highlight them through your work experience or achievements. Include quantifiable results or specific projects where you demonstrated your competencies effectively. This can help substantiate your claims and provide evidence of your capabilities.

Remember, the goal of including core competencies on your resume is to showcase your unique skills and qualifications. Be strategic in selecting the competencies that are most relevant to the job you are applying for and support them with tangible examples where possible. A well-crafted resume core competencies section can greatly enhance your resume and increase your chances of securing an interview.

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