How To Showcase Your Core Competencies On A Resume

This article explains the importance of highlighting your core competencies on a resume and how to showcase them effectively. It describes the difference between skills and core competencies and provides tips for creating a tailored and concise core competencies section.

14 days ago   •   6 min read

By Resume Worded Editorial Team
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Did you know your resume can make or break your chances of landing your dream job? This is why creating a stand-out resume showcasing your work experience, qualifications, and skills is so important.

Your resume is your chance to make a great first impression on prospective employers. Including core competencies on a resume can highlight your most marketable skills and show employers how valuable an employee you can be.

This article will help you explore your core competencies, figure out how to showcase them on your resume, and understand which ones you should prioritize.

What Are The Core Competencies On A Resume Exactly?

Also called highlights or core qualifications, core competencies are a list of your most marketable soft and hard skills. It lists skills, competencies, and abilities that make you a perfect fit for the position.

Highlighting your skills in a dedicated core competencies section of your resume is a surefire way to catch the attention of hiring managers.

By doing so, you can instantly showcase the unique value you bring to the table and pique their interest in what you can offer their company.

These competencies tend to be role-specific and encompass technical and non-technical skills. Since core competencies are the heart and soul of a resume, flaunt them front and center –  under the 'resume header.' Here is a core competencies example for a resume:

Core competencies section on a senior-level resume. Note: We do not recommend including Soft Skills (e.g. Attention to Detail) in a Core Competencies section on a resume, but instead demonstrating them in the bullet points of your Experience section.
Core competencies section on a senior-level resume. Note: We do not recommend including Soft Skills (e.g. Attention to Detail) in a Core Competencies section on a resume, but instead demonstrating them in the bullet points of your Experience section.

Core Competencies Vs. Skills On A Resume: How Do The Two Differ?

Although people use core competencies and skills interchangeably, there are subtle differences in their meanings.


Skills are proficiencies or strengths that people gain through experience and training. In a workplace, employees apply hard or soft skills to achieve outcomes.

For instance, managers use leadership skills to motivate and guide team members.

Core Competencies

While core competencies include skills, you'll need many other skills to build competency. These include knowledge, abilities, skills, and specific behaviors and actions an individual uses to be successful in their role.

For instance, patient-care skills are a core competency for healthcare providers and experts.

Why Should You Include Core Competencies On A Resume?

Including core competencies in your resume can be highly beneficial for two key reasons:

Hiring Managers And Recruiters Often Have A Tight Schedule

Hiring managers have a lot to sift through in a short time when reviewing job applications. This means you have a small window to make a big impression and persuade them to read more about you.

By including your core competencies in one dedicated section, you're grabbing their attention and allowing them to easily see your most important qualifications for the job.

It's a smart way to show that you respect their time while giving them a clear snapshot of why you're the perfect fit for the role

Many Companies Use ATS

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a piece of software employers use to scan and evaluate resumes for specific keywords and qualifications.

Including a core competencies section on your resume can increase the chances of passing ATS scans and getting your resume in front of a hiring manager.

This section allows you to customize your resume by incorporating relevant keywords from job descriptions and highlighting your key qualifications and abilities.

How To Craft A Core Competencies Section

Follow these steps to build an attention-grabbing core competencies section:

  • Create a list of your strongest abilities and skills
  • List 10-30 skills related to the post you are applying for
  • Make sure to list hard skills (technical skills, such as Photoshop, etc.) and avoid soft skills and buzzwords
  • Include relevant keywords from job descriptions and expand on them in professional accomplishments
  • Keep it concise
  • Tailor your section for each job

Expert Tip: Simply listing core competencies on a resume isn't enough. Employers want to see how you've used these skills in real-life scenarios. To demonstrate this, use bullet points in the 'employment history' section to show how your skills helped you succeed.

Example showing how your skill has helped you achieve desired out
Example showing how your skill has helped you achieve desired out

If you're not sure if you have listed your core comptencies the right way, upload your resume to the tool below – it'll scan your resume and give you detailed feedback and suggestions on how to improve your resume sections.

Killer Tips And Strategies To Include Core Competencies On Resume

If you want to craft an impressive core competencies section for your resume, consider the following tips:

Keep It Short But Descriptive

Use a few descriptive words (phrases) per word to keep your resume clear and organized. You can also use bullet points, numbers, or vertical lines to help you stay organized.

Using bullet points to list your core competencies on a resume can make it easier for employers to read and sift through.

When choosing descriptive language, ensure it aligns with the job requirements and duties listed in the job descriptions.

Customize The List To Fit The Job Requirements

To get your resume noticed, it's essential to tailor your language to match the job description and listing. Start by identifying keywords in the job posting, and use them to highlight your skills and abilities in your core competencies section.

This strategy helps your resume pass through ATS scans and shows the employer that you're an excellent match for the job. Remember, quality and selective word choice are key.

For example, Product Design can be a major skill for job positions like designers, artists, and writers; however, it's likely not as crucial for managerial positions.

I've included an example of a core competencies section on a senior executive's resume. It's worth also mentioning that on senior resumes, this section is often called an Areas of Expertise section.

Example of core competencies for sales executive roles
Example of core competencies for sales executive roles
Example showing how you can tailor core competencies as per the job
Example showing how you can tailor core competencies as per the job

Choose A Layout

Deciding where to place your core competencies section within your resume can significantly affect how potential employers perceive your skills.

There are various options available to you, and you can select the area that best showcases your competencies while maintaining a clear and concise format.

  • Below or above qualifications sections
  • Adjacent to an experience section
Sample resume with a core competencies section
Sample resume with a core competencies section

Identifying Your Core Competencies: 7 Killer Tips And Strategies

Identifying your core competencies is a crucial step towards personal and professional growth. Here are seven tips and strategies to help you identify your core competencies:

  • Start by making a list of your skills. We recommend focusing on hard skills only
  • Identify your strengths by highlighting the skills you excel at from your list
  • Evaluate your experiences and consider the skills you’ve used to overcome challenges and achieve goals
  • Seek feedback from colleagues, managers, or mentors to gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses
  • Look for patterns in your skills, strengths, experiences, and feedback
  • Focus on the skills and experiences that you enjoy and find fulfilling
  • Refine your list to include only the skills that are most valuable and relevant to your career goals

You can leverage your strengths to succeed and stand out in the workplace by identifying your core competencies.

List Of Core Competencies For a Resume In 2023

Let's explore common skills and qualifications often included in the core competencies section.

This can serve as a valuable resource to assist you in crafting a personalized list that perfectly aligns with your talents, personality traits, and professional certifications.

Like areas of expertise, the core competencies you list on a resume will depend on your experience and skills. Nevertheless, here are some core competencies for various industries/roles you can feature on your resume to get noticed:

Project Manager

  • MS Office
  • Project Management
  • Sprint Planning
  • Leadership techniques and tools

Freelance Writer

  • WordPress
  • SEO tools
  • Photoshop
  • Social Media Management


  • Social Selling
  • Retail Management
  • Customer Service


  • LodDAT
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Budget Management
  • Material needs analysis


  • Language arts
  • Writing IPEs
  • Special Education

Customer Service

  • Customer service
  • Social networking
  • Process improvement

One effective method to ensure that you've accurately identified your core competencies is using the tool below to search for the job you're interested in. This can help you determine if you've chosen the appropriate skills to showcase on your resume.

This tool analyzes job descriptions and helps you identify critical skills and keywords that might be missing from your resume.


By including core competencies in your resume or CV, you can swiftly demonstrate to employers the unique value you bring to their organization.

Remember to showcase your key competencies professionally and effectively at the top or in a separate section of your resume.

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