The skills section of your resume demonstrates to employers that you have the skills needed to succeed in the role. Employers frequently pay close attention to the skills section of your resume to determine if you should proceed to the next stage of the hiring process. In this article, we will look at good skills to include on a resume, as well as tips on how to best craft your resume’s skills section.
The way you present your skills for a job in your resume can determine how far you advance in the hiring process. A carefully crafted resume tailored for a specific role stands a greater chance. If you want your resume to show that you have what it takes to get an interview, you should highlight your job skills.
The skills on your resume can set you apart from the competition and help you land the job you want. If a hiring panel does decide to offer you the job, the salary figure they settle on can be easily influenced by your resume skills section.
So, where do you begin? Start at the beginning of this article and work your way down for a comprehensive review of the job skills for a resume that any professional should consider.
What are your top skills?
Writing a good resume requires a delicate balancing act. It can be difficult to keep your resume short and sweet while also including enough quality information to leave a lasting impression. Hiring managers are very interested in the skill set you have. This means that when considering what skills to list on your resume, it is critical to understand what is relevant to the job. And, of course, any job skills listed on your resume should be skills you truly possess.
So, how do you decide which top skills to highlight on your resume? There are an infinite number of skills that can be included on a resume. These answer the question, “What skills do employers look for in a resume?” You must decide which ones will be the most effective. Every job necessitates both hard, industry-specific technical skills and soft skills.
Related: Knowledge, Skills and Abilities: Everything you need to know
Top soft skills for your resume
There are numerous soft skills that you can include in your resume. But how do you decide which ones to include? Here is a quick rundown of the top soft skills examples you should include on your resume. (Be sure to carefully read the job description and identify which soft skills you have that are most relevant to the job.)
Whatever job you have, something will go wrong at some point, and employers want to know that you can come up with a quick and effective solution. Some jobs are essentially nothing more than problem-solving for the company, the clients, or both. Problem-solving skills assist you in determining why an issue occurs and how to resolve it. Identifying the issue, developing solutions, implementing those solutions, and evaluating their effectiveness are the first steps in problem-solving.
Critical thinking skills
Critical thinking is founded on the propensity to think rationally and thoughtfully. Employers want employees who are quick thinkers when presented with a problem. They expect the employee to think through the problem and determine the best course of action. Critical thinkers make it an aim to come up with new and better ways of doing things. This makes it a valuable skill to have on your resume.
Related: Critical Thinking Practice Test
Many organisations and industries seek employees who are dynamic and adaptable to any situation, or who have a natural ability to use a variety of methods and approaches in a variety of situations to achieve the best result.
Being able to communicate with your boss, coworkers, and customers in all situations, whether written or verbal, is extremely valuable. The better you get at it, the better the results you will get. Verbal, writing, and presentation skills are becoming increasingly important in the workplace, regardless of industry or position. Employers are looking for candidates who can interact with a variety of audiences, from interns to the C-suite, without resorting to jargon and who can confidently present to an audience.
Nowadays it is imperative to collaborate with others. Employers also want to know if you can succeed in a team setting. Although this will vary by a job as others will place a higher value on this skill compared to the others. Your ability to collaborate with others, both as a team member and across departments, will be critical to your career success. Give examples from your work history — or, if you are a recent college graduate, examples from your labs, seminars, and coursework — of successful teamwork and partnerships.
This is more than just keeping your desk tidy. It is also about organising tasks and projects for your coworkers, management, and, of course, yourself! A well-structured resume is essential if you want to demonstrate your organisational skills. In many ways, today’s workplace is busier and more complicated than in the past. A strong resume should show your ability to manage multiple projects and competing priorities.
Thinking outside the box and coming up with creative solutions can be a real asset in any role. Perhaps you are good at thinking about something in a novel way. Creativity can be demonstrated on your resume through a problem you solved or a creative skill such as writing or design. Businesses thrive when new ideas and approaches to old problems are introduced. Hiring managers will pay close attention to someone whose resume skills demonstrate the ability to think creatively, challenge the status quo, and offer novel solutions.
Emotional intelligence underpins our professional relationships and interpersonal interactions. It is related to our ability to inspire others. If you have ever held back when you wanted to lash out, you are already familiar with how one-way emotional intelligence works.
“Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others,”
This means you are rational and even-keeled in the workplace. You can handle ups and downs without losing control. While this is important for everyone, it is a must-have skill to include on a management resume.
Attention to detail
To complete your work on the job, you must ensure that you follow all instructions. Paying attention to detail will be required in any position you hold. Consider times when your attention to detail enabled you to detect or correct a potential error. In terms of both time and money, mistakes are costly to businesses. Make sure you submit a tailored, proofread resume and cover letter with work history highlights that exemplify diligence and conscientiousness. This is important to demonstrate to prospective employers that you are careful and deliberate in everything you do.
Related: Attention to Detail Practice Test
Taking responsibility for your duties and even admitting mistakes is part of being a good employee. Most managers dislike having to check in on their employees to ensure that every aspect of their job is being completed. Taking responsibility entails doing what is necessary to complete your tasks.
Even when not hiring for a managerial position, employers seek candidates who can inspire and motivate team members, as well as act with integrity, fairness, and a strategic mindset. Wherever possible, highlight professional experience and skills on your resume that demonstrate your ability to lead.
Related: Adding leadership skills to your resume
A company’s success and an employee’s career prospects are inextricably linked. Employers want employees who are committed to exceeding the expectations of internal stakeholders as well as external clients.
Most savvy managers want to give their employees some autonomy so that leadership can focus on the big picture (they also know it can improve employee happiness and performance). That is why they value employees who can assess a situation and determine the next steps to take rather than asking for direction all the time.
Top hard skills for your resume
Hard skills are more technical. Each industry or type of job has its own set of required skills. Finding out what kind of hard skills you will be expected to have in your field may necessitate some investigation. Here are some examples of hard skills that are in high demand across many industries. (Be sure to carefully read the job description and identify which hard skills you have that are most relevant to the job.)
Understanding of computer software and applications
The list of professions that do not necessitate the use of computers and specific types of software are very short. You could probably divide “computer skills” into two or three specific technical abilities for your field. These skills are essential, especially in this fourth industrial revolution.
Aside from the obvious professions such as graphic or web design, there are jobs in marketing, advertising, branding, engineering, and construction that require some design skills. Even if it is just for drawing up presentations, you should add these skills to your resume.
Understanding data is very popular right now. There are many jobs available where you will be required to analyse metrics and extrapolate a practical use from them. This makes analytical skills extremely valuable to have on your resume.
Many jobs involve selling a product or service, purchasing stock or merchandise, brokering production or transportation deals, forming partnerships for advertising or investments, and so on. Negotiation is a dialogue in which two or more parties collaborate to reach an agreeable solution for all parties involved. You can add these skills to your resume to demonstrate that you are a good negotiator.
Finance, business, engineering, construction, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and operations all require some level of math proficiency. If your job requires a lot of math, consider segmenting it into a few more specific skill areas.
Many jobs will necessitate project management skills. Project management includes the ability to manage your task flow and complete assignments on time. Perhaps you have used project management software in the past or completed a project ahead of schedule. All of these demonstrate good project management and they should be added to your resume.
Related: The Characteristics that Can Make you a Good Project Manager
Marketing entails the sale and promotion of goods and services. Even if you are not a marketer in the traditional sense, many employers may value this hard skill. Knowing the highlights and benefits of your company’s products and services, as well as the ability to speak or write about them, can be useful in a variety of jobs. It is much better if you have specific marketing or social media experience.
Even if your job is not administrative, it is almost certainly a part of it. Administrative skills include things like organising, planning, scheduling, writing emails, managing files, and so on. Employers want to know that you can keep track of the details.
Many jobs require writing. Whether you are writing to clients or coworkers, having a basic writing ability is essential and an absolute skill to have on your resume. Emails with typos and grammatical errors will reflect poorly on you, and a poor tone can send the wrong message. Demonstrate this ability in your cover letter and emails to the recruiter, and include a list of any specific writing-intensive projects you have completed.
Employers are looking for job candidates who know how to use the right research tools and methodologies, whether for eDiscovery, competitor intelligence, or internal data collection. Experience interviewing, planning and scheduling, and analyzing and interpreting collected data to assist stakeholders in reaching a solution could all be listed as hard research skills on your resume. Your resume should also include your proficiency with relevant technologies.
How do I list my skills on a resume?
Now that you have learned about the various types of skills, let us talk about how to include them on your resume. To stand out, you should adhere to the following best practices:
It is critical to tailor your skills to the job’s requirements.
Always begin with the job description! Only include skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Scanning a job listing will help you determine which ones are relevant. Job advertisements typically list a set of requirements or skills that a good candidate should possess. Make certain that none of these is missing from your resume.
A cheat sheet of the types of skills they are looking for in a candidate can be found in the job description. Make a note of those keywords and incorporate them into your resume.
Pro Tip: If a keyword appears several times in the job description, make sure you prioritise it in your resume with real-life experience.
This will not only impress the recruiter who reads your resume, but it will also attract the attention of some robots. By repeating some of the keywords listed in the job description, you are also allowing applicant tracking systems to positively flag your resume. This is especially useful when applying for a job at a larger company and competing against a large number of applicants!
Match each skill to your level of proficiency
Scale up the competencies proficiency scale for each skill listed on your resume using the following scale:
- Beginner: You are just beginning to learn or have not had the opportunity to practice the skill through experience (usually fresh graduates that only understand concepts through theories or classroom experience).
- Intermediate: You have practised the skill and only need help with it on rare or special occasions. You still have room for development.
- Advanced: You know what you are talking about! You no longer require assistance with the skill. You can also show newcomers how to use it.
- Expert: You are a recognized authority on this skill, and you are the person to go to if anyone has any questions. You have consistently demonstrated that you are an expert in this area.
Other resume sections can help you support your skills
Modern resumes are designed to be value-oriented, which necessitates providing information that is more achievement-oriented rather than task-oriented. If you have held multiple roles with varying accomplishments, choose the top four that you are most proud of and include them in a Career Highlights section.
Try not to include more than four because this section is meant to highlight your accomplishments, and you do not want to create sections with long lists of bullets, which creates a very boring way to read the content.
For example, consider including your relevant skills in your work experience section when listing previous experience. This is a great way to bring your skills to life in your resume.
Use transferable skills when changing careers
Transferable skills are those that are not directly related to the job you are applying for but are still valuable. For example, if you are applying for a job in a field other than marketing big data analysis, you can still mention some of your previous experience in financial data analysis. It will demonstrate that you have a solid foundation and prior experience with the type of work.
Your big data analysis skills may include, for example, machine learning, data visualization, querying and analysis, and statistics. You can still include these in your financial data analyst resume, but without the marketing background.
If you are fresh out of college, you can mention writing, documentation, and research as already established skills because you have done a lot of them in university. These transferable skills can be useful when applying for office clerk or entry-level positions.
Mention at least two universal skills
These are primarily soft skills that are required in almost every job. They can be soft skills like problem-solving abilities, effective communication, and time management, or hard skills like speed typing, PowerPoint, or Excel.
Related: Microsoft Excel Quiz: Entry Level
Include any universal skills you have, even if they are not specifically required or mentioned in the job description. However, you should avoid stuffing your resume with these because they will appear generic. If you have the space and have run out of more advanced job-specific skills, mention them.
Make a “Living List” of your skills
Try a living list of skills instead of a bulleted skills section on your resume that is separate from everything else. A living list of skills provides a context for your work experience, technical skills, or accomplishments.
If you have space on your resume, list your best skills along with a line that describes who, what, when, where, why, and how. Here is an illustration of how they differ.
- Critical Thinking
The Living List:
- Design: Oversaw the re-design of the company website, from wireframe to launch.
- Teamwork + Critical Thinking: Established an interdepartmental task team comprised of Marketing and Design to share skills and create dynamic content.
This expansion of the skills list demonstrates to a recruiter or hiring manager why or how, in addition to what. Fill in the blanks on a resume with real-life examples whenever possible. This demonstrates your resourcefulness (which, incidentally, is one of our favourite soft skills).
Introduce your skills in your resume summary or headline
There are heated debates about what to include and exclude from a resume. For example, you have one page (or one and a half pages) to describe your qualifications, experience, and expertise. At best, a little editing will be required to pull this off without leaving huge gaps about who you are as an employee.
That is why we appreciate a resume headline, resume objective, or resume summary. It is almost like a sneak peeks at what is to come. Consider including some of your key skills in the headline or summary, which is often found at the top of your resume, just below your name and contact information.
Pro Tip: Choose one to three skills to highlight. A resume headline should be 15 words or less, according to best practices, so do not stuff every keyword in there. Be considerate.
Demonstrate your worth, clarity, and unique selling point.
- Value: What’s in it for them?
- Clarity: What do they get?
- Intrigue and unique selling point: What distinguishes you or makes you stand out?
Here are a few examples of resume headlines that demonstrate and describe the skills that a recruiter can expect from you:
- Digital Marketer who puts listening first to solve impossible problems
- Concierge with empathy and multilingualism with experience in 5* Resorts
- Dedicated Teacher with a communication-first approach to learning
- Experienced Project Manager using signature organizational techniques to increase ROI
Examples of must-have skills for every field
Are you not sure which skills you should include in your resume? We have got your back. Here is a compiled list of some of the most in-demand skills on the market, covering a wide range of industries! Continue reading to find out the most in-demand skills you should consider using in your resume! If you have some of these skills, make sure to include them in your resume. If not, it is never too late to pick up a new skill.
- Time management
- Effective communication
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict management
- Teamwork skills
- Stress management
- Productivity & organization
- Critical thinking
- Attention to detail
- Data analysis
- Web analytics
- HTML & CSS
- Email marketing
- Web scraping
- CRO and A/B Testing
- Data visualization & pattern-finding through critical thinking
- Search Engine and Keyword Optimization
- Project/campaign management
- Social media and mobile marketing
- Paid social media advertisements
- B2B Marketing
- The 4 P-s of Marketing
- Consumer Behavior Drivers
- Brand management
- CMS Tools
- Six Sigma techniques
- The McKinsey 7s Framework
- Porter’s Five Forces
- Emotional Intelligence
- Dealing with work-related stress
- Task delegation
- Technological savviness
- People management
- Business Development
- Strategic Management
- Proposal writing
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Public speaking
- Lead generation
- Buyer-Responsive selling
- Buyer engagement
- Product knowledge
- Effective communication and sociability
- Social media/digital communication
- Time management
- Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
- HTML & CSS
- Photo editing
- Typography: spacing, line height, layout, choosing fonts
- Targeting and marketing through visual communications
- Logo creation
- Digital printing
- Integration of visual communication in social media platforms
- Attention to detail & aesthetics
- Interactive media design
- Colour sense & theory
- Ad design
- Active listening
Basic Technical skills
- Microsoft Office Pack: Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, Outlook, PowerPoint
- Filing and paper management
- Data entry
- Bookkeeping through Excel or TurboTax
- Research and data analysis
- Basic knowledge of user interface communication
- Technical writing
- Cloud networking and file sharing
Accounting & Finance skills
- Microsoft Excel (Advanced)
- Enterprise Resource Planning
- Big Data Analysis & SQL
- Know Your Customers (KYC)
- Cognos Analytics (IBM)
- Visual Basic
- Accounting Software
- Revenue recognition
- Anti Money Laundering
- Clear communication
- General business knowledge
- Numerical competence
- Attention to detail
- Updated curriculum knowledge
- Research & Data analysis
- Educational platforms (software like Elearn)
- Stress management
- Technological & digital literacy
- Critical thinking
Web Development skills
- CSS preprocessors
- Graphic User Interfaces (GUI)
- Git/Version Control (Github, GitLab)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Application Programming Interface (API)
- Adobe Photoshop, InDesign
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Responsive design principles
- SQL (a must) and Hive (optional)
- Programming language (R, Python, Scala, Matlab)
- STATA, SPSS, SAS
- Data Mapping
- Entity Relationship Diagrams
- Big Data tools
- Microsoft Visio
- Agile Business Analysis
- Machine learning
- System Context Diagrams
- Business Process Modeling
- Technical and non-technical communication
Nursing & Healthcare skills
- Patient care and assistance
- Paperwork/record-keeping abilities
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
- Attention to detail
- Physical endurance
- Acute care
- Infection control
- Surgery preparation
Wrapping it up…
Let us summarize everything we have learned about good skills on a resume:
- You must include a section on your resume that is entirely dedicated to your skills. This allows you to get past applicant tracking systems and catch the attention of the hiring manager.
- The distinction between hard skills and soft skills is in how they are applied (directly vs. indirectly) and how they are acquired (through education and practice vs. personality traits and experience).
- List only skills that are relevant to the job on your resume. You should scan the job posting for must-have skills and list them (if you have them). Ensure you pair each skill with a responding proficiency level. Backup your skills with other resume sections e.g. experience section and mention transferable and universal skills.
- Make sure you capitalize on the compiled list with examples of the most-demanded skills now and in the future of work.