Everyone knows skills are a part of a resume, but most don’t realize this section can make or break the chance of landing a dream job. Some push a list of skills for a resume to the bottom of the page, almost as an afterthought. Others develop the section once and leave it the same for every job application. Most applicants don’t know which skills are valuable and which have become outdated. If you fall under any of these categories, our guide to crafting a job-winning skills section is for you.
What Are The Best Skills for Resume?
Before we dive into the specifics, remember that not all skills are equally useful for your resume, and the right combination of professional and interpersonal qualities are the only chance to get noticed.
Hard Skills for Resume
These are professional skills you have gained throughout the years of school, by attending online courses or by practicing them during your previous employment. If you select particular hard skills for a resume, you can:
- Provide diplomas, certificates, badges, or other documented proof of your skills;
- Illustrate them by examples and achievements from your past jobs;
- Answer in-depth technical questions about your field of expertise;
- Demonstrate proficiency through a test task or during the probationary period.
If you feel uncertain about your ability to prove and demonstrate the hard skill, do not list in on your resume or specify the proficiency level. This way, you are honest, and you avoid wasting the employers’ time. Keep the certificates, diplomas, and badges at hand and provide links or numbers in your resume for preliminary checks.
The longer you work in the same sector, the more professional skills you will gain, but hard skills are non-transferable, meaning you are unlikely to make use of them if you change the career path. For instance, AutoCAD proficiency vital for your engineering job is not necessary for a marketing manager. Therefore, you need to eliminate all hard skills from your resume that do not meet the requirements of a particular job you want to get.
To help you make sense of hard skills, here’s a list of possible options:
- Tax accounting;
- Digital forensics;
- Fluent French;
- Hydraulic calculations;
- Email marketing;
- Medical imaging;
- Landscape design;
- Data warehousing;
- Psychological assessment;
- Materials science.
Computer Skills for Resume
If you are looking for a technical position in IT, programming and debugging should go on your hard skills list. However, most employees require basic computer knowledge and experience regardless of the position you seek. Teachers, accountant, analysts, and doctors, all rely on technology to perform everyday tasks. Therefore, your computer skills can include your proficiency with:
- Email and social media;
- Text and spreadsheet processors;
- Content management systems (CMS);
- Microsoft Outlook;
- Relational database management systems (RDBMS);
- Backup management;
- Web metrics;
- Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop;
- Open-source software (OSS);
Skip to the last section of this post to learn how to come up with solid professional skills for your resume. For now, let’s switch to soft skills that help balance your job application.
Soft Skills for Resume
You can’t take a class to gain soft (interpersonal or life) skills, but you can gain them through experience at your previous job, in college, or the drama club. While flexibility might not seem important to you, employers are paying attention to soft skills more than ever before. Companies want to make money, and unhappy employees make for low-quality products and dissatisfied customers.
Soft skills ensure you are a good fit for a company and vice versa. For example, if you are highly adaptable, you can work in a fast-paced environment juggling a half dozen projects at the same time. However, if you have been working from home, you might not possess the necessary teamwork skills to work on large-scale projects in tight quarters.
If you select specific soft skills for resume, you can:
- Remember several examples that show your ability at its best;
- Demonstrate how your interpersonal skills tie into your professional success;
- Provide recommendations from previous employers that prize the same skills.
Soft skills are transferable, and you can include them in any resume regardless of your work history and prior positions. However, it still pays to tweak the social skills section to meet the requirements listed in the job posting.
Good skills for resume that focus on your personality and character include:
- Team leadership;
- Conflict resolution;
- Adaptability or flexibility;
- Readiness to learn;
- Time management;
Communication Skills for Resume
Communication skills are irreplaceable for any job application. You should always put them on your resume and be able to prove yourself an avid conversationalist and polite email or IM correspondent. If the job requires constant communication, you can expand this section of your resume to include:
- Active listening;
- Nonverbal communication;
- Writing skills;
- Audience analysis;
- Presentation skills;
- Persuasive skills;
Leadership Skills for Resume
If you are seeking a management position or wish to move up the ranks, you’ll need to add leadership skills to your job application. If you have no formal experience of coordinating the team, you can spice up your resume by including:
- Verbal and nonverbal communication;
- Identifying measurable outcomes;
- Positive reinforcement;
- Cognitive flexibility;
- Project planning;
- Professional development;
- Open to feedback;
- Critical thinking.
How to Make the List of Skills for Resume
Why reinvent the wheel when there are dozens of great examples of skills for resume online? The trouble is, it’s hard to tell the difference between outstanding and mediocre if it’s your first job hunt in a while. We recommend using three neat tricks to solve the issue:
- Start with LinkedIn. If you haven’t been pestered into creating an account, do it now. A professional profile is a must for networking and getting more job offers. Focus on the Skills & Endorsements section. Once you start typing, you’ll see dozens of prompts related to your field. Choose the ones that you possess and use the skills for resume writing. The only downside to this method is a limited number of soft skills, as LinkedIn focuses on professional abilities that can be endorsed by your past and present coworkers and managers.
- Browse LinkedIn profiles with multiple followers and review resumes in your intended niche. Considering the variety of samples, focus on the resumes that have the same experience level and positions as you do. Do not copy the first resume you find verbatim, instead use it as a template to customize to your target position.
- Highlight keywords in the job posting and remove all skills from your list that do not reflect the requirements. If there are too many skills left, divide them into two parts. Use some in your work history section to describe and quantify achievements, demonstrate measurable outcomes of your work. List the skills you can’t illustrate concisely in a separate section. You can expand on them during an interview.
We’ve picked these fifty skills that will look good on your resume, but remember to be honest and only include those you possess. Otherwise, even if you get the job, you won’t be able to perform. You’ll feel stressed, the work outcomes will suffer, and your employment will end before you know it with no new experience and recommendations to your name.
If you still can’t identify the skills that need to go on your resume to get your dream job, reach out to Resume101.org. Our professional writers will tailor the resume to the target position and translate your talents and skills into HR-speak. After all, they have writing, communication, and organization skills in spades.