By Jeff Gillis
When you’re adding skills to a resume, you don’t just want to focus on what you’re good at. Instead, relevancy has to be part of the equation. After all, every job you’re trying to land requires a very specific skill set, one that you need to show that you have.
Choosing the skills to put on a resume when you’re applying to a role isn’t something you should do haphazardly. Instead, you want to use the job description, company mission, and company values as a guide, creating a sense of alignment.
Additionally, it never hurts to have a handy list of skills by your side, making it easier to explore your options. So, if you’re on the hunt for good skills to put on a resume, here’s what you need to know.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
There are two basic types of skillsets that a job seeker can have and include on their resume: hard skills or soft skills.
Hard skills are the skills or abilities for a resume that are easily quantifiable…that can be learned through classroom work, apprenticeships, or other forms of learning. These include things like operating tools, computer programming, speaking foreign languages, or different kinds of technical prowess.
Soft skills are more subjective and harder to quantify and are often grouped together by what we know as “people skills.” Some examples of soft skills include communication, relationship building, self-awareness, and patience.
Which Skills Are More Important?
The debate rages on about which of these two types of skills is more important.
According to executive consultant and Forbes contributor Naz Beheshti, “…There is an ongoing debate about the relative importance of soft and hard skills that imply a competition between the two. However, they are both necessary and complementary to one another.”
On the one hand, job seekers with proficiency in a specific hard skill may get hired more quickly. Many employers want to hire people that can deliver value with fewer resources (ex., the need for training, etc.), making hard skills their priority.
However, we are also seeing that many hiring managers are choosing to hire candidates with highly developed soft skills.
In the end, as Indeed puts it, “soft skills are necessary to create a positive and functional work environment.” Plus, hiring managers feel that they can always train the candidate in the hard skill that is required to complete the job, but soft skills are often skills that cannot necessarily be taught.
So, what does this mean for you? Mainly that you can’t simply just pick one or the other and cross your fingers. Instead, the best strategy is to take a balanced approach and make sure that your resume contains both hard and soft skills.
How Do You Choose the Skills to List on a Resume?
Here’s the deal; there’s a good chance you know what you’re good at in a professional sense. Often, you can use your experience, duties, training, and education as a guide, giving you a strong foundation. Then, it’s about diving a bit deeper, looking at traits that could help you stand out, and comparing it all to the job description.
By using a simple process, you can make progress faster. Here’s a quick way to get started.
1. Make a List of the Skills You Know You Have
As mentioned above, the easiest way to get a grip on your current skills is to reflect on your academic and professional experiences. Consider the tasks you’ve taken on, the training you’ve completed, and the courses you had in school. In most cases, that’ll give you some solid ideas about your hard skills.
After that, it’s time for soft skills. Here, you want to think of traits or capabilities that help you engage with others and navigate professional relationships. Often, these are reflections of your personality, so use that as a jumping-off point.
2. “Mine” the Job Descriptions for Must-Have Skills
The next step is to take a look at the job description for the position you are applying for and make a list of the required skills it includes. Then, compare it to your capabilities. Are any of the skills on both of the lists you just created? If so, these are must-haves for your resume.
Now, notice if there are any skills on the job description that you don’t have. If there aren’t any, great!
But if there are…don’t panic. There are things you can do, which we’ll dig into shortly.
If you’re dealing with a vague job description, you aren’t stuck either. Here is a link to a ton of job descriptions that can give you an idea of the skills needed.
3. Tailor Your Skills to the Company/Position
As you may have read in our other blog articles, it is always very important to “tailor” your resume to the company and position you want to land. For an in-depth look into how to make that happen, check out our Tailoring Method article.
If you want a quick overview, the idea is to focus on capabilities the company wants to find. Every job requires a unique skill set, and you want to show you have it. As a result, it is absolutely essential that skills from the job description make an appearance on your resume.
However, you also want to dig deeper. Spend some more time researching the company, including going through all of their various web properties, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages.
Why? Because they will leave clues about the types of people they hire. That gives you more ideas about the best skills to put on a resume to land a job there, particularly when it comes to soft skills you may not find in a job description.
100 Resume Skills Examples
If you’re struggling with coming up with a list of skills based on your past experience, it can be easier if you have existing resume skills lists to work with. You don’t have to think up every possible skill; you can simply review the list and find the matches.
Here is a list of resume skills examples, divided into hard skills and soft skills, that you can use when applying for a job.
Hard Skills for a Resume
- Advanced Bookkeeping
- Appointment Setting
- Automotive Repair
- Cold Calling
- Computer Programming
- Conversion Testing
- Customer Engagement
- Customer Service
- Data Analysis
- Digital Marketing
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Cleanup
- Forklift Operating
- Graphic Design
- Heavy Machinery Operation
- Medical Coding
- Paid Online Traffic
- Patient Care
- Photo Editing
- Picking and Packing
- Project Management
- Schedule Management
- Search Engine Optimization
- Server Maintenance
- Social Media
- Spanish Fluency
- Statistical Analysis
- Systems Analysis
- Technical Support
- Telecommunications Systems
- Travel Booking
- Video Editing
- Website Design
- Word Processing
Soft Skills for a Resume
- Active Listening
- Business Etiquette
- Conflict Resolution
- Critical Thinking
- Decision Making
- Emotional Intelligence
- Handling Pressure
- Problem Solving
- Relationship Building
- Resource Management
- Strategical Thinking
- Strong Work Ethic
- Time Management
What If I Don’t Have the Required Skill?
Whether you need to possess a specific skill depends on the job and the skill in question. Usually, here’s where you have to be honest with yourself. If the skills required are part of the core competencies of doing the job, you may want to reconsider your application.
For example, if a golf course posts a job posting for a golf pro, you probably shouldn’t apply if you’ve never swung a golf club.
However, you will come across situations where what you bring to the table is close. In this case, moving forward might be okay.
You need to be able to demonstrate, using examples from your past, that you are capable of doing the required skill, even if you haven’t specially done it. So, go over your work history with a fine-tooth comb and try to come up with a few examples of you doing something in the right ballpark.
They are going to ask about it in your interview, so don’t think you can just wing it, and everything will be fine.
JEFF'S TIP: If you can't think of a time when you clearly demonstrated the skill, try showing that you won't have a problem picking up the skill on the job. This can be done by showing examples from your past where you easily acquired other skills. This works especially well with hard skills. For example, you could say something like, "I don't have a lot of experience with Microsoft Excel, but in my last job, I had no experience with Adobe Photoshop and picked it up easily in a few days. I believe this shows my competency with regard to learning new computer programs."
Also, many job descriptions have “nice-to-have” skills on the list. If you happen to possess them, great. But if not, don’t assume you shouldn’t apply if you have the must-have skills. In the end, those capabilities aren’t outright requirements, so don’t screen yourself out based on them.
How To List Skills on a Resume
There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to deciding where to put (or how to list) the skills on your resume.
According to our friends over at online resume-builder Zety.com, “…skills are so very, very important that they should show up all over your resume. Not just in the resume skills section.” In other words, it is imperative that there are elements of your skills throughout your resume, including your resume objective/summary and experience sections.
In addition, there isn’t one right answer for where to include your skill section because that depends on the industry, company, and position you’re trying to land. For example, for a job where technical competencies are of the utmost importance, it is often beneficial to list the skills closer to the top of the resume, right underneath the resume objective or resume summary statement.
However, if through your research you determine that the hiring manager will put more weight into your experience, you may want to lead with your experience. Then, put the skills section further down your resume.
At the end of the day, the selection of the skills themselves is the most important thing. After all, most hiring managers will easily find your skill section regardless of where it is on your resume.
What About Skills for My Job Application?
When you’re looking for skills to put on a job application, you do have to treat it a little differently than skills for a resume. Usually, you’re working with a finite amount of space on an application, not just in an overall sense but in each applicable section.
Since that’s the case, you need to lean heavily on the job description. Look for any capabilities that are listed as must-haves or that are repeated through the job ad. Then, make sure those skills are featured prominently in several areas, including in work history descriptions and skills areas.
If you have to answer essay questions, discuss those skills there, too, whenever possible. Use any other relevant capability as a supplement, treating it as supporting information instead of the primary point you’re sharing.
However, if an essay question asks about a skill that’s not in the job description, feel free to dig in a bit. It’s a capability that’s clearly on the hiring manager’s mind, so touch on it occasionally to show you shine in that area.
Putting It All Together
If you were wondering, “What are some good skills to put on a resume?” you should now have a solid answer. The most important thing to remember is to select skills that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for and, more important than that, skills that your company puts a tremendous amount of value in.
Once you get your skills straightened out, you should make sure that the rest of your resume is congruent with the skills you just selected, namely, that your experience shows that you both used those skills in a work environment and developed the skill with on-the-job tasks.
Jeff Gillis( Co-Founder and CTO )
Co-founder and CTO of TheInterviewGuys.com. Jeff is a featured contributor delivering advice on job search, job interviews and career advancement, having published more than 50 pieces of unique content on the site, with his work being featured in top publications such as INC, ZDnet, MSN and more.
Learn more about The Interview Guys on our About Us page.
The 7 Ingredients of a Well-Written Entry-Level Résumé
- Font and point size. ...
- Contact information. ...
- Objective. ...
- Summary. ...
- Education. ...
- Experience. ...
Special skills are the traits and abilities you possess that make you particularly qualified for a position. Interviewers ask about your best skills because they want to gauge how you can contribute to their company's success.What are the top 5 skills that you have? ›
- Critical thinking and problem solving.
- Teamwork and collaboration.
- Professionalism and strong work ethic.
- Oral and written communications skills.
There are mainly four things that recruiters and hiring managers look for in the resume scanning stage: work experience, education, skill set, and personality.What are the 4 keys to a resume? ›
There are four main aspects you need to be aware of when writing your resume; Objective, Experience, Qualifications, and Skills. The key of a good resume is to give enough information to the hiring manager to make them wan to bring you in for an interview.What are the 5 golden rules of resume writing? ›
- Rule 1: Think Before You Type. ...
- Rule 2: Write Your Professional Profile Last. ...
- Rule 3: Summarise Your Responsibilities. ...
- Rule 4: Make Achievements Your Key Area of Focus. ...
- Rule 5: Write For Your Reader.
- Personal Information. Name Current and Permanent address (may be omitted from a resume posted on the web) ...
- Objective. In one short sentence summarize your goal for your job search. ...
- Education. ...
- Work and Related Experience. ...
- Awards and Honors. ...
- Activities/Hobbies. ...
- Skills. ...
- References (3-5 people)
You should list 4 to 10 skills on a resume. The number of hard and soft skills you include on your resume depends on the job you want, but 4 to 10 is enough for most candidates.What are personal skills? ›
Personal skills are recognised as soft skills which are not easy to teach (although not impossible). They are also known as interpersonal or even 'people' skills. Examples include dependability, adaptability, motivation, problem-solving, and analytical skills.What are unusual skills? ›
21 Weird, Easy-To-Learn Skills That'll Impress All Your Friends
- Moonwalk. ...
- Shuffle. ...
- Sharpen Knives. ...
- Chop Food Quickly. ...
- Whistle With Your Fingers. ...
- Twirl A Pen. ...
- Take Amazing Selfies.
Benefits of testing the four skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking) When we say that someone 'speaks' a language fluently, we usually mean that they have a high level in all four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing.What are the 7 skills? ›
The seven skills are Composure, Encouragement, Assertiveness, Choices, Empathy, Positive Intent and Consequences. The seven skills emerge from the foundation of the Seven Powers for Conscious Adults. As we become more conscious of our reactions to conflict, we can choose a different response.Which skill is most in demand in 2022? ›
- Time management.
- Project management.
- IT automation.
- Data analysis and statistics.
- 1 — Autodidacticism. ...
- 2 — Sales. ...
- 3 — Communication. ...
- 4 — Coding/Computer Science. ...
- 5 — Marketing. ...
- 6 — Design. ...
- 7 —Money. ...
- 8 — Psychology.
- Tell Them Why, Specifically, You're Interested in the Company. ...
- Outline What You Can Walk Through the Doors and Deliver. ...
- Tell a Story, One That's Not on Your Resume. ...
- Address the Letter to an Actual Person Within the Company.
- An organized layout is VERY important.
- Put format first.
- Triple-check spelling and grammar!
- List experience in chronological order.
- Identify your achievements: Challenge, actions, and results.
- Show leadership.
- Incorporate statistics.
- Use words such as achieved, created, and influenced.
1. Reverse-Chronological Resumes. The most widely used resume format among job seekers today, reverse-chronological resumes are also probably the easiest for recruiters and hiring managers to understand at a glance—which is itself an advantage.What are 3 items that should not go into a resume? ›
- Too much information. ...
- A solid wall of text. ...
- Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. ...
- Inaccuracies about your qualifications or experience. ...
- Unnecessary personal information. ...
- Your age. ...
- Negative comments about a former employer. ...
- Too many details about your hobbies and interests.
Include up-to-date, relevant information, experience, skills, and examples in all of your resume sections. Attach a meaningful cover letter that will sweep the recruiter off their feet. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Stick to the truth.Should you list all skills on resume? ›
Don't lie about your qualifications or stretch the truth to fit the job description. Avoid listing general skills. Emphasize specific technologies and abilities. Highlight your skills that match the requirements listed in the job advertisement.
- A degree (or other academic qualification)
- An industry specific certification.
- Coding ability.
- Foreign language skills.
- Typing speed.
- SEO marketing.
- Computer skills.
Please mention the year of finishing your 10 and 12 board with marks (in percentage) obtained. Also give your CGPA in all cases. You can mention your position in the class if it is 1st or 2nd or top 5% of the class. You can also write if you were in the state/ national merit list.What are the 3 most important things to look for in a resume? ›
Including the most important parts of a resume is crucial to providing potential employers with an in-depth outline of your qualifications, experience and education. Commonly suggested parts are your contact information, resume profile or summary, experience, education and skills.What is the first rule of thumb for resume writing? ›
Keep the text short and easy to read. In describing your experience and positions, always start with an action verb, and use present and past tense when possible. Each point you are making should be made using only one line.What do companies look for in a resume? ›
Metrics. A surefire answer to the question "What do employers look for in a resume?" Data, proof, success stories. However you put it, hiring managers love seeing quantifiable achievements.What are hard and soft skills? ›
Soft skills are those skills that come naturally and uniquely to everyone. Soft skills include leadership, effective communication, teamwork, time management, motivation and adaptability. On the other hand, hard skills are those that are gained through hands-on experience, training, or education.How do you list your skills? ›
On your resume, list only skills that are relevant to the job, scan the job listing for must-have skills and list those (if you have them), pair each skill with a responding proficiency level, back up your skills with other resume sections, mention transferable and universal skills.How do you list hard and soft skills on a resume? ›
For a chronological resume, you can separate your skills into hard and soft skills or list them all together. Use a bullet point for each skill. You can also put them side by side to save space, separating each skill with a comma or line.What are the skills companies are looking for in 2022? ›
- Agility, Flexibility And Adaptability. Agility, flexibility and adaptability are three skills in demand. ...
- Modern Communication. Modern communication is an essential skill. ...
- Emotional Intelligence. ...
- Creative Thinking. ...
- Networking Skills. ...
- Data Analysis. ...
- Objective Self-Recognition. ...
- Critical Thinking.
The Highlight Reel resume summary consists of 4 parts: 1A relevant section title that ties your experience to the role. 2An introductory bullet that summarizes your experience and high level value. 3A few supporting “Case Study” bullets that illustrate specific results, projects, and relevant experience.
- Teamwork. With effective teamwork, teams are more productive, deadlines are met, relationships with your team members are stronger and knowledge is shared. ...
- Problem solving. ...
- Communication. ...
- Adaptability. ...
- Critical thinking. ...
- Time management. ...
What are the skills required for high-paying jobs? They are Soft Skills, Algorithms Designer, Cloud Computing, UI Designer, Online Frameworks, Software Computing, and more.What is the most profitable skill to learn? ›
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
- Content marketing.
- Influencer marketing.
- Content automation.
- Campaign marketing.
- Data-driven marketing.
- E-commerce marketing.
- Keyword research. First and foremost, employers want to know if you're qualified for the job. ...
- Embellished skills. ...
- Overall career progression. ...
- Personal brand and online presence.
An effective resume summary typically follows the following structure: Your experience summary (how many years, doing what, etc.) Your general experience (more specific skills, what's your focus) Your top achievements (career highlights, include quantifiable change and data)How do you sell yourself on a resume? ›
- Use professional contact information. The first step toward standing out when submitting a resume for a job application is to ensure you're providing employers with accurate and professional contact information. ...
- Narrow down your credentials. ...
- Keep it brief. ...
- Emphasize your strengths. ...
- Be honest.