A Guide For Core Competencies and Your Resume

A Guide For Core Competencies and Your Resume

If you want to appeal more to an employer, you need to take a proactive approach. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to build your core competencies. Because this is a detail most job applicants ignore, core competencies can truly make you shine. And it doesn't take much effort to include this in your resume.

Understanding Core Competencies

If you don't know what core competencies are, you can't include them on your resume. Fortunately, you don't need to spend hours studying to comprehend the concept of core competencies. To put it simply, core competencies are abilities, skills, and knowledge that relate to your career field. Your core competencies give an employer confidence that you can handle the position.

When an employer looks at the core competency section of a resume, they get a picture of how your skills align with the job. It gives them some context, and demonstrates how well you might perform on a day-to-day basis. Without this context, it may not be obvious to a hiring manager that you're the right fit for the job.

Examples of Core Competencies

In the core competencies section of your resume, you should have specialized knowledge that's unique to the industry. For instance, if you're in the tech sector, you might want to include Java or Python on your resume. Meanwhile, a bookkeeper should consider adding accounts payable and QuickBooks on their resume.

A sales representative could benefit from including proposal development and lead generation. Before you start writing down core competencies, take some time to brainstorm. Think about what you do on a daily basis and how it would help you perform in this new position.

Soft skills are also worth incorporating, but do so with caution. If you say you have communication skills, you're speaking too generally. You should be more specific by describing how you used communication skills. Did you use communication skills to coordinate a collaborative effort? Or perhaps you relied on your communication to ensure you're clients were satisfied?

The Importance of Core Competencies

If you're wondering whether or not you really need a core competencies section, there are a few things you should know. For one, they appeal to applicant tracking systems (ATS). The ATS often relies on keywords related to core competencies. If you don't have the right words in your resume, the ATS won't pass your resume on to human eyes.

While there are other ways to get past the ATS, having core competencies is one of the easiest ways to appeal to the system. It's a great way to get your resume in the right hands. Although they won't get you a job offer, core competencies will get your foot in the door.

When your resume does make it to a hiring manager, your core competencies give you added value as a job candidate. An employer won't take time to scrutinize your resume and imagine how your skills could be put to use in the workplace. To make sure they see your value, you need to include core competencies.

Tips for Creating Core Competencies

Even if you understand the concept of core competencies, you may not know how to include them in your resume. To get you started, here are a few tips:

Read Job Postings

Before you send your resume out for a position, read through the job listing. Are there any specific skills or recommendations that stand out? If you meet the requirements or recommendations, make it clear to the hiring manager. Use the same terminology they use in the job listing and repeat terms that seem emphasized.

Repeat this process for every job application. Although two jobs may be in the same industry with the same title, the employers could have different requirements and wants. If you want to stand out, you need to customize your core competencies for every job listing.

Have Targeted Resumes

Customizing your resume takes time, and that might be in short supply. As a shortcut, create a few resumes targeted towards certain industries. When you apply for a job, pick out the resume that's most tailored for the listing.

You still need to customize your resume for each job application, but it takes less time to do so. Over time, you get faster and better at optimizing your resume.

Look at Other Resumes

If you're still not sure where to start, look at resumes of people in your industry. Find someone who has the job title you want and use the internet to learn about their core competencies.

These days, you can find resumes for almost anyone online. LinkedIn, personal websites, and social media have resumes for the world to see. With these resources, you can find out what belongs in your core competencies section.


If you don't have the core competencies you need to stand out, take action. It's not too late to take a certification course or to learn a new skill. Adapt to what the industry wants, and a job offer could be in the near future.

Where to Include Core Competencies

If you want to have any success with the job search, you need to display your core competencies properly. Start by having a designated section titled "Core Competencies." With this heading, you simplify the job of the hiring manager. For the best results, place the heading towards the top of your resume.

In addition to having a section of core competencies, you should also include the competencies in other areas of the resume. If you can write about a specific skill in your job duties, do so. Likewise, you may be able to include core competencies in your certifications or achievements sections.

However you include your core competencies, be cautious. You don't want to stuff your resume with buzzwords, or the hiring manager might doubt your actual abilities. Similarly, you don't want to have one long bulleted list of your competencies.

As with everything during the job search, having a good balance is crucial. It might take some time and practice to perfect your resume, but you'll get there. When you do, the interview offers will come in.

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