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How to include areas of expertise on a resume

How to include areas of expertise on a resume

A resume summarizes your professional experience and skills that demonstrate why you're a good fit for a particular role. When applying for jobs, you can use your resume to introduce yourself to potential employers and emphasize what you would bring to each position. Understanding how to highlight your areas of expertise on your resume can help you stand out as you submit applications for jobs for which you're qualified. Explore our guide to including areas of expertise on a resume.

Why include areas of expertise on a resume?

Whether you're just starting your career or are a well-established professional, you likely have areas in which you're an expert. If you recently completed a degree in a particular subject, you may consider that an area of expertise for you. When you have worked in a specific field for an extended period, you gain knowledge and experience that you can share in a new role with a different organization.

It's essential to include your areas of expertise on your resume because this document is the first thing a potential employer will use to learn about you. By demonstrating the areas in which you're an expert, you can show that you're qualified for a particular position and encourage the hiring manager to reach out to get to know you better. Since a recruiter or hiring manager may look through hundreds of resumes for a single open position, you need to create a document that captures an employer's attention and makes the individual want to know more about you. 

Applicant tracking systems have also increased in popularity among businesses of all sizes. Many companies rely on these systems to filter through applications and pinpoint the applicants who are most qualified for the open positions. By aligning your areas of expertise with the desired skills or qualifications listed on the job posting, you can increase your chances of getting through the applicant tracking system to a person who will review your resume.

What areas of expertise should you include on a resume?

Depending on your industry, certain areas of expertise may be in higher demand than others. For example, those working in technology may find machine learning, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and development knowledge are essential areas to highlight. But if you work in finance, experience, and knowledge of bookkeeping software programs and balance tracking are likely in higher demand. As you consider what to include on your resume, you can explore some of the most valuable areas of expertise in today's business world.

Soft skills 

One category of skills to consider including on a resume is soft skills. This term refers to broad skills that are useful across all industries but may not directly relate to one specific industry. Examples of soft skills include the following:

  • Problem-solving capabilities
  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Flexibility

Managing your time is helpful in any role, and if you excel in this area, describe situations that demonstrate this expertise.

"By demonstrating the areas in which you're an expert, you can show that you're qualified for a particular position and encourage the hiring manager to reach out to get to know you better."

Job-related skills

Technical or job-related skills do apply to a particular role and its responsibilities. In specific jobs, technical skills are more critical, such as a computer programming job requiring experience with a specific coding language. In other roles, job-related skills might not be as crucial, such as entry-level positions in which the employer is willing to offer training to new hires.

If you're applying for a higher-level role that requires technical skills, it's helpful to include these in the skills section of your resume. You can also demonstrate this expertise in certain areas of concepts by focusing on concrete examples in the work experience section. When you're ready to apply for a new role, upload a resume to CareerBuilder and fill out applications quickly and efficiently. 

Transferable skills

If you're an expert in areas that can transfer to different roles, outlining these on your resume can help you stand out. An example of a transferable area of expertise is strong customer service skills. You can use these skills in almost any role that involves interacting with customers or clients, whether starting your career as a bank teller or moving your way up to become a bank vice president.

Hard skills

Hard skills are easily measurable and demonstrable, such as fluency in a language, typing speed, or knowledge of a particular software program. When including hard skills as areas of expertise, it's helpful to describe your level of knowledge, such as with a rating of beginner, intermediate, or advanced. For example, if you consider yourself an expert in the Microsoft Office suite of products, you could outline this experience as a hard skill in which you rate yourself as an advanced user.

How to include areas of expertise on a resume

As you consider which areas you're an expert in, you can determine what to include on your resume. Follow these steps to include areas of expertise in your professional summary.

Consider your strengths

To include something like an area of expertise on your resume, you should be an expert in that area. Consider what you're an expert in by brainstorming some of the challenges you face daily in your current role and how you handle those situations. You might also ask co-workers, friends, and former or current managers what they perceive to be your areas of expertise.

As you create your list of strengths, identify those that would benefit you in the professional role you want to pursue. Consider how you can demonstrate your level of expertise in these areas when creating the skills section of your resume.

Review job descriptions

Job descriptions of positions that interest you can help you determine the most valuable skills in your desired role. When reviewing job descriptions, look for keywords and phrases that align with the strengths on your list. Performing research can also help you determine which skills are most useful in certain positions.

Provide specific examples

It's easy to claim to be an expert in something, but backing up your claims with specific examples from your previous roles or educational experience can help you stand out. As you're making your list of strengths and areas in which you consider yourself an expert, think about situations in which you've improved or had to demonstrate these skills.

For example, if you include proficiency in a coding language as one of your areas of expertise, you could describe a website you coded and what language you used to create it. You might also include evidence of certifications or educational courses as proof of your knowledge. 

Use action verbs

When you create your resume work experience section, use strong action verbs to highlight your strengths and what you achieved in each role, such as the following:

  • Achieved
  • Coordinated
  • Developed
  • Leveraged
  • Managed
  • Negotiated
  • Organized
  • Promoted
  • Solidified

You may also want to include the result of your efforts. For example, a bank teller could say: 

  • Supported clients in completing loan applications, resulting in a 35% increase in applications submitted

You can create a stronger impression on the reader by highlighting what you did and how it benefitted the organization.

As you consider how to highlight your areas of expertise on your resume, it's helpful to think about what skills are most useful in the roles you want to pursue. If you're not currently an expert in an area that's vital in the position you're applying for, you can always take a course or seek out training to make it one of your areas of expertise.

Related reading for job-seekers

Explore the top six skills for managers and professionals in any industry.

Are you starting a new position with an employer? Check out this guide to help you have a great first day at your new job. 

As you update your resume, don't forget to review which resume buzzwords to include (and which ones you should avoid).