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  • Writing a Skills-First Job Description: The Top 25 Job Skills to List in Job Descriptions

Writing a Skills-First Job Description: The Top 25 Job Skills to List in Job Descriptions

A job skills list is one of the key parts of a job description, as it provides candidates with a way to self-screen for your positions before they apply and gives you criteria to help you assess candidates. Knowing what skills to list will help ensure that your descriptions are accurate reflections of the positions at your organization.

This article introduces you to some of the most commonly used job description skills examples to get you thinking about what to include when writing and revising your job descriptions.

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Benefits of including a job skills list

Including a job skills list in your job descriptions is one of the first steps toward transitioning to a skills-first hiring process, which is one that prioritizes candidates’ skills over education and experience.

Skills-first hiring, also known as skills-based hiring, offers many benefits for employers, such as expanding the candidate pool, expediting the hiring process, increasing employee retention and improving morale. When you clearly identify what job skills are required for success in positions, you’ll find it much easier to identify relevant strengths and areas of improvement in candidates so that you can evaluate them fairly.

Top 25 job description skills examples

Although beneficial skills vary widely from job to job, some skills are generally more in demand than others.

According to Indeed data for 2023, here are the top 25 skills that were most commonly listed in job descriptions on Indeed.¹

1. Communication skills

Included in 26.63% of job postings

Communication skills are the ability to express yourself and convey ideas clearly. A job may require oral and/or written communication skills.

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2. Customer service skills

Included in 14.35% of job postings

Customer service skills are abilities that enable employees to interact positively with customers to satisfy their needs and resolve their problems in a pleasant and professional manner.

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3. English skills

Included in 8.26% of job postings

English skills is the term for using correct grammar and appropriate vocabulary when speaking or writing the English language.

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4. Management skills

Included in 8.02% of job postings

Management skills are abilities that allow candidates to give direction, delegate responsibilities, enforce policies and perform other tasks while overseeing the work of other employees.

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5. Microsoft Office

Included in 7.12% of job postings

Microsoft Office is a suite of software, including spreadsheet, presentation, email and word processing programs. Someone skilled in Microsoft Office is usually proficient with all these programs.

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6. Computer skills

Included in 7.08% of job postings

Computer skills generally refer to an in-depth understanding of operating systems, programming languages, software programs, networks and other technologies.

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7. Microsoft Excel

Included in 6.72% of job postings

Microsoft Excel is a commonly used spreadsheet program used to store, organize, analyze and generate reports on large data sets.

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8. Organizational skills

Included in 4.20% of job postings

Organizational skills are the ability to develop systems and processes that allow you to complete multiple tasks correctly and in a timely manner.

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9. Restaurant experience

Included in 4.14% of job postings

Restaurant experience is the term for having previously worked at a food service business. It implies that candidates have knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of front-of-house and kitchen staff.

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10. Leadership skills

Included in 4.11% of job postings

Leadership skills are abilities that allow employees to motivate others, direct their activities and aid in their professional development.

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11. Microsoft Word

Included in 4.06% of job postings

Microsoft Word is a word processing software program used to create, format and edit written documents.

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12. Time management

Included in 4.01% of job postings

Time management is the term for being able to allocate your time so that you can complete tasks within established deadlines.

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13. Analysis skills

Included in 3.89% of job postings

Analysis skills are a set of abilities that enable candidates to interpret data and use it to solve problems and gain new insights.

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14. Supervising experience

Included in 3.82% of job postings

Supervising experience is the term for previously serving in a role that involved directly overseeing the work of other people.

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15. Computer literacy

Included in 3.42% of job postings

Computer literacy is the term for understanding how to use a computer and peripherals, such as a mouse.

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16. Writing skills

Included in 3.24% of job postings

Writing skills are abilities that permit employees to create succinct written documents that accomplish established goals, such as explaining a concept or making a persuasive argument.

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17. Sales skills

Included in 3.23% of job postings

Sales skills are abilities that enable candidates to recommend products and services to customers based on their needs and to encourage them to make purchases.

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18. Bilingual

Included in 3.10% of job postings

Bilingual is the term for being able to communicate effectively in two or more languages.

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19. Spanish

Included in 2.75% of job postings

As a skill, Spanish is the ability to communicate in the Spanish language using correct grammar and vocabulary.

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20. Microsoft PowerPoint

Included in 2.57% of job postings

Microsoft PowerPoint is a software program for creating and giving presentations.

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21. Nursing

Included in 2.08% of job postings

Nursing skills are the ability to deliver direct care to patients, monitor their conditions and respond to their needs.

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22. Driving

Included in 2.02% of job postings

Driving as a skill is the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely in accordance with traffic laws.

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23. Microsoft Outlook

Included in 1.94% of job postings

Microsoft Outlook is a software program used to send and receive emails, manage a personal calendar and schedule meetings and appointments.

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24. Commercial driving

Included in 1.91% of job postings

Commercial driving is the ability to legally operate commercial vehicles, such as trucks, buses or delivery vans.

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25. Basic math

Included in 1.89% of job postings

Having basic math skills typically means that you can add, subtract, multiply and divide whole numbers and fractions.

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How to choose which job skills to list

As you can see, there are many job description skills examples that you might consider using when you write job descriptions. To be useful to candidates and your organization, a job skills list in a description should only include the most important qualifications. Following these tips will help you determine which job skills to list and which to leave out.

1. Identify essential skills

Begin by brainstorming points to include in your job skills list. Once you’ve compiled your list, review it skill by skill. Think critically about each one and determine which skills are the most essential for success in the position.

2. Consider your training program

Once you have a list of essential job skills to list, consider your new employee training process. Determine which skills new hires will develop during training to decide whether they’ll need to possess those vital qualifications before the onboarding process. For example, being able to use a POS system may be essential for a retail salesperson, but if your new hire training includes a course on how to use yours, you may not need to include it in your list of job description skills examples.

3. Seek input from your team

To get a different perspective on what job skills to list, consult your team through a position-specific employee survey. Ask your employees to rate how important the items on your job skills list are to their success on a scale of 1 to 5. When you review the answers, you may find that certain skills aren’t as relevant as you believed, while others may be more important than you anticipated.

¹Indeed data (US), Dec 2022 – Dec 2023

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*Indeed provides this information as a courtesy to users of this site. Please note that we are not your recruiting or legal advisor, we are not responsible for the content of your job descriptions, and none of the information provided herein guarantees performance.

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