The University of Victoria describes professional competencies as the skills, attributes and knowledge that “are specifically valued by the professional associations and bodies connected to your future profession”. Others also define it as your expertise and knowledge in a given area, which, in this case, refers to your job duties and responsibilities.

Adding a list of core competencies on your resume will get you noticed. But it would only work when done the right way. Apart from choosing where to add a core competencies section on your resume, you should also list down professional competencies that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Examples of Core Competencies

Analytical Thinking
This refers to your ability to apply logic to solve problems and to get the job done.

Computer Competency
As the name suggests, computer competency refers to your skills in operating a computer and the applications needed in your work.

Client Service
This is your ability to anticipate a client’s needs and respond to them in a timely and courteous manner. This is especially useful when applying for a customer service position.

Creative Thinking
This shows your ability to develop new strategies and to think outside the box in order to get the job done.

Forward Thinking
This refers to your ability to anticipate consequences of situations or implications of certain actions, and then to respond appropriately.

Conceptual Thinking
Finding effective solutions to problems by taking an abstract, holistic or theoretical approach.

Conflict Resolution
Works to resolve all sorts of differences, especially among employees in order to maintain a good working relationship.

Decision Making
This not only refers to your ability to make decisions, but also the way you take responsibility for every decision made.

Empowers Others
You not only boost employee confidence, but also give them the freedom to complete their tasks.

This shows your ability to evaluate according to standard methodologies and policies.

Excellent Communication
This is less to do with talking and more on using language effectively in order to gather information and facilitate exchange of ideas that would yield results.

This shows your ability to adapt to whatever changes that happen in a company without losing focus on your goals. This also includes your ability to apply your knowledge to your new circumstances.

Interpersonal Awareness
This refers to a show of empathy, where you listen well and respond to others in a non-threatening way.

Interpersonal Relations
Exhibits understanding and respect of others to achieve and maintain a harmonious working relationship.

In addition to leading a team, this core competency also refers to your ability to establish a team and promote strategies to achieve a common goal.

Persuasive Communication
You not only have the skills in oral and written communication, but also the ability to convey your message and influence others.

Project Management
The ability and knowledge to bring together all aspects of a project that are essential to its timely and efficient completion.

Risk Management and Assessment
A process of taking action to evaluate health and safety risks in order to minimize threats to the company and its employees.

Writing Skills
This refers to your ability to write clearly, concisely, logically and free of grammar errors.

Depending on your career, there are also core competencies specific to your industry. These often use jargons that mostly industry professionals and leaders would understand.

How to Write Core Competencies in Your Resume

1. Choose professional competencies that comes with industry keywords or buzzwords.
For example, when applying for a jobs in logistics, you should include the following core competencies:

  • 3PL Management
  • Team Leadership
  • Warehousing
  • Global Distribution
  • External / Internal Communication
  • 6 Sigma Certified

If you don’t know what the industry buzzwords are, check out job descriptions and get ideas from there. A job description for Business Analyst, for example, would list responsibilities, such as business analysis, planning and monitoring, manage conflicts, and identifying stakeholders. This should tell you what core competencies are required.

2. Keep the list short and concise.
Even if you match 37 core competencies, it is best to choose the top 9 or 10. Overwhelming a recruiter or employer with such hard skills can have an adverse effect. Instead of making an impression, they might lose interest. Also, make sure that the skills you add are the most relevant to your career goals and the strongest.

3. Present it neatly and properly.
There are several layouts to choose from:

  • Below the Summary of Qualifications
  • Above the Summary of Qualifications
  • To the Side of the Summary of Qualifications

Whichever style you choose, use only bullets or tables and not columns or text boxes, as these are not friendly to online job boards. If you are applying online, your CV must pass job boards, so they can be viewed by a human being.
The list must be clear and easy on the eyes as well. When it’s too dense, it would be painful to read, which would result in your resume being overlooked or, worse, thrown into the bin.


Writing a resume should be treated like writing a sales pitch. You are selling yourself, after all. But because your market is recruiters and employers who are looking for the best, you must present yourself in the best light. One of the best ways to do this is to list down your core competencies in a way that gets their attention and gets you the job.

Follow the tips listed above and your chances of taking one foot through the door would be higher. Now all you need to work on is the interview part.