The Best Job Skills To Make Your Resume Stand Out
Employers use the work skills section in a resume to broadly examine your areas of strength. Skills can entail a variety of acquired or natural abilities. While the experience section of your resume displays the impact you have made throughout your career, the skills section explains how you made that impact. For example, your past efforts in successfully leading a team of 10 engineers are a result of your skills in technical management and team building.
In this article, we discuss how to display your strongest skills on your resume with example skill categories, resume formatting and development tips.
Hard vs. soft skills
Many people separate skills into two categories: soft and hard. Most employers expect applicants to possess a mix of both, so it is important to understand your areas of strength in each category.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Bilingual or multilingual
Adobe software suite
User interface design
Marketing campaign management
Storage systems and management
Programming languages (such as Perl, Python, Java and Ruby)
Hard skills are technical knowledge or training that you have gained through any life experience, including in your career or education.
Willingness to learn
Soft skills are personal habits and traits that shape how you work, on your own and with others.
Hard skills, also called “technical skills” are learned, measurable and often specific to a job or task. For example, coding, foreign language proficiency and machine operation are all hard skills.
While also somewhat teachable, soft skills primarily relate to one’s personal qualities and characteristics. Soft skills are transferable, equipping you to succeed in any workplace. For example, leadership, time management and creativity are soft skills.
There are a few skills that many employers expect candidates to have. These skills can be left off of your resume. A few examples of expected skills include proficiency with word processors, spreadsheets, reading and basic math.
Read more: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Categories of skills
General skills are important if you need to be flexible when applying to a different position or changing industries. This is also especially true for recent graduates or other people newly entering the workforce. However, developing skills specific to a position or an industry can help you qualify for mid- or high-level positions. Here are some examples of specific skill categories.
Administrative, business and finance
Administrative, business and finance skills help keep operations running efficiently. These skills include:
Communication and interpersonal
Communication is vital for growth in your career. Employers tend to seek out applicants with strong communication skills for a wide array of positions and industries. These skills include:
Copywriting and copyediting
Presentation media (Powerpoint, etc.)
Social media fluency
Leadership and management
Leadership and management skills are necessary in many contexts. Even if you aren’t interested in management, these skills can help propel you toward success, especially when working in group contexts. These skills include:
Read more: Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples
Sales and marketing
Sales roles do require plenty of communication skills, however, some positions benefit from technical skills as well. Most great salespeople or marketers have a mix of both. These skills include:
Most businesses use a variety of technological tools in daily operations, so even people in non-technical positions can benefit from some technical skills. These skills include:
Read more: Computer Skills: Definitions and Examples
Tailoring your resume with keywords
Large companies often use automated systems to select applicants for interviews. These systems analyze a variety of factors, including skill and experience “keywords.” By tailoring your skills with information in the job posting, you can increase the likelihood of passing this automated pre-selection process.
How to format skills on your resume
Once you decide on the skills for your resume, it’s important to properly format them:
1. Place your skills section in the right location
The format of your resume will determine the location of your skills section. For example, if you have selected a functional resume because you have a gap in your employment or are changing careers, you should place your skills section near the top of your resume.
Functional Resume Format
Name and contact information
Skills grouped by theme
Any relevant professional experience
If you have extensive professional experience on a chronological resume, you should place your skills section under the work history section.
2. Show how you’ve demonstrated skills in your experience section
For example, a retail manager might say he “Increased credit card sales 20% by implementing a rewards program for top-performing employees.” This demonstrates initiative, creativity and problem-solving skills.
3. Integrate key skills into your achievements section
For example, you may exemplify your leadership abilities by discussing your role in pioneering a successful team project.
Ways to develop your job skills
You might notice there are skills listed on the job description that you do not yet have. There are many ways to develop skills over the course of your career. For example, you can gain skills through:
A mentor can give you career advice and may allow you to shadow them on the job. Through your interactions, you can learn what skills are necessary to succeed in your position or industry.
Online and offline resources
A variety of online resources exist to help you develop skills. Large universities, online classes and other programs offer programs for professionals.
Many employers are interested in facilitating their professional growth. Consider asking your colleagues about helpful courses or speaking to your manager about your interest in developing a certain skill.
It is worth noting that many people acquire skills informally through time and experience on the job. If you are interested in developing a certain skill set, consider researching about advancement in your industry and popular tools for success. With the correct identification, development and display of skills, you can help potential employers understand the value you have to offer.