Expert Tips: How To Showcase Your Areas of Expertise on a Resume

Writing a senior level resume? This guide from recruiters will walk you through everything you need to showcase your areas of expertise.

5 months ago   •   4 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
Table of contents

When reviewing resumes, recruiters are looking to answer two questions:

What do you have experience doing?
What are your areas of expertise?

The first question is easy to answer, but the second one is more nuanced. For job seekers early in their career, this is usually covered by a skills section, but if you’re pursuing a more senior role, you may benefit from an areas of expertise section instead.

Skills vs Areas of Expertise

If it sounds like an areas of expertise section is a lot like a skills section, that’s because it is. But that doesn’t mean they can be used interchangeably! Notably, an areas of expertise section:

Let’s dive into areas of expertise in a little more detail.

How to list areas of expertise on your resume

  1. Create a section underneath your executive summary and above your work experience.
  2. Title the section ‘Areas of Expertise.’
  3. (Optional) Include subheadings for key areas like finance, technology, management, etc.
  4. List 10-15 core competencies that relate to the position you’re applying for.
  5. Avoid buzzwords and soft skills — stick to hard skills only.
  6. Expand on those areas of expertise in your professional accomplishments.

Here’s an example of areas of expertise listed on an executive resume:

Areas of expertise section on a senior level resume
Areas of expertise section on a senior level resume

Tips for including areas of expertise on a resume

List areas of expertise at the top of your resume

Unlike a skills section, which belongs at the bottom of your resume, you may want to showcase your areas of expertise more prominently. Include your areas of expertise at the top of your resume, right below your executive summary and above your professional experience.

List specific skills separately

Areas of expertise isn’t just a fancy word for a skills section. Avoid listing specific skills like “Microsoft Project” —a single software program is too narrow to be considered an area of expertise. Instead, consider the broader theme of your skills, like “Project Management.”

If you do want to list specific technical skills, you can include both a traditional skills section (at the bottom of your resume) and an areas of expertise section (at the top).

An area of expertise section is usually found on senior-level and executive resumes. These kinds of resumes often follow different rules to junior-level and mid-level resumes; for example, an area of expertise shows a broader theme of skills as well as more management and leadership skills. A quick and easy way to find out if your resume shows enough of these senior-level and executive skills, is to upload your resume to the tool below — you’ll get an instant review of your resume backed by insights from recruiters and hiring managers who recruit for executive and senior-level roles.

Avoid buzzwords

This is one thing areas of expertise have in common with a traditional skills section. Avoid listing vague buzzwords or soft skills, like “Teamwork” or “Communication.” Because it’s in such a prominent position, your areas of expertise section needs to add real value to your resume, which means highlighting industry and role-specific keywords that recruiters (and Applicant Tracking Systems) are looking for.

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To get the most out of your resume, upload it to a free resume scanner for specific feedback and tailored suggestions for improvement.

What to list as areas of expertise

Obviously, the specific areas of expertise you list on your resume will depend on your skills and experience, but here are some common areas of expertise you can consider listing on a senior level resume:

  • Operations Management
  • Performance Improvement
  • Software Development
  • Product & Lifecycle Management
  • Analytics & Data Science
  • Business Development
  • Technology Strategy & Execution
  • IT & DevOps
  • Strategic Planning
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Client Services
  • Change Management
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Sales Leadership
  • Healthcare Leadership
  • Partnership Development
  • Mergers & Acquisition
  • User Experience Design & Strategy
  • Executive Leadership
  • Scaling for Growth

A good way to check if you’ve chosen the right skills to determine your areas of expertise, is to use the tool below to search for the job you’re applying to. It’ll tell you which skills are relevant to the position. For example, you can search for Chief Financial Officer and you’ll get a list of skills and keywords that hiring managers look for in a CFO applicant’s resume.

Areas of expertise: What not to do

Don’t include areas of expertise on your resume just because you think it looks good. Only senior level resumes need an areas of expertise section. Entry level and mid-level resumes should stick to a standard skills section at the bottom of the resume.

Other sections to include on a senior resume

Senior level resumes differ in more ways than substituting areas of expertise for skills. As a key difference, senior resumes are longer — the standard length for an executive resume is two pages, compared to one page for entry or mid-level resumes.

In addition to areas of expertise, senior management resumes can include:

  • Resume title
  • Keyword-rich headline highlighting core competencies
  • Executive summary listing the scope of your experience and top accomplishments
  • Career highlights
Senior resume header featuring a resume title, executive summary, and areas of expertise
Senior resume header featuring a resume title, executive summary, and areas of expertise

Related: How to Title Different Sections of Your Resume

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