Prioritize Skills and Achievements Over Experience on Your Resume

When it comes to creating a resume, most everyone focuses on degrees and experience.  But there’s more to a person’s qualifications than just those two.

For example, you may have skills and achievements that set your resume on the top of the pile. But potential employers may not even see your qualifications if they’re hidden underneath all the standard stuff that’s on everyone’s resume.

When it comes to skills and achievements, there’s more to know than where to put them. Not all skills and achievements are the same, and some of them don’t belong on your resume at all — never mind above experience.

The skills listed here should give you an idea of what to prioritize over experience on a resume.

1.      Languages

If you’re in an industry where being multilingual matters, this is an important skill to list front and center. It matters in most industries, but if you’re applying for a job as a data processing clerk, language may not be a priority. If you think you’ll be able to use the skill at your job, then it’s important enough to list above experience.

2.      Travel

If you don’t have a ton of experience, world travel could be an interesting achievement to add to your resume. For example, if you took a year off after college to backpack through Europe, this is a good place to list it as one of your achievements.

If someone might be jealous about your achievement, that’s a good indication that you should put it front and center on your resume. Just be sure to focus your intention on how it has helped shape you into a more well-rounded employee for the company.

3.      Leadership

If you’ve ever led any kind of group or taken a mentor position in any sort of mentorship program, this is a great skill to add to your resume. And because leadership is so important, you might be able to bring it above your experience.

Here’s a good rule: If your leadership role was recent and might seem impressive to a new employer, you can list it above your experience. So, if you’re managing an important campaign for a non-profit, this is a good skill to list. On the other hand, a leadership badge from the Eagle Scouts might not make the cut. Depending on how long ago it was, you might want to list it, it’s not special enough to trump work experience.

4.      Volunteer or Pro Bono Work

Listing volunteer or pro bono work is a little-known secret that could help you land a high-paying job. In a competitive job market, it’s sometimes difficult to land your dream job. But most people will let you have your dream job if you’re willing to do it for free.

Spend a year donating your services to a company. It doesn’t even matter if it’s for profit or non-profit. The experience is what matters. And if you do a good enough job during your time there, you might even get hired. The professional benefits of volunteering definitely outweigh the lack of pay drawback.

  1. Industry Awards

If you’ve received any important awards in your industry, put this information above anything else on your resume. For example, if you’re in advertising and have won a Clio, that becomes the most important thing you could write on your resume. Don’t hide it. There are some awards that speak such volumes about your work that you almost don’t need to list experience.

Whenever you’re listing accomplishments and skills on your resume, always remember to think about how important they are to your line of work. If they aren’t extremely relevant or exceptionally special, you can either list them at the bottom or not at all.

By following these techniques, you can easily make your resume more appealing by showcasing some very valuable achievements and skills that are more valuable or relevant than your work experiences.

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