Most often, employers look for specific hard skills in a candidate. Thus, highlighting the top hard skills can help you stand out. More importantly, a strong skill set can increase your chances of getting the job. To do this, you need to focus on the most sought-after skills in the job market right now. With that in mind, let us look at the top 10 hard skills employers look for and how to highlight them.
What Are Hard Skills?
Hard skills are industry-specific, measurable skills. You can gain them through training or education. And they are crucial to success in every position. So, an employer will always look for relevant hard skills when skimming your resume. Because hard skills are job-specific, possessing a good skill set can help you land a job quicker. But, if you don’t have all the job-relevant skills, don’t worry. Many employers also provide training and certifications to their employees.
Top Hard Skills for a Resume in 2021
1. Research & analysis skills
Data analysis is one of the most popular tools in the competitive market nowadays. Researching and analyzing data helps companies identify opportunities, and competitors, and create new products. Thus, analyzing big data and putting the results to practical use is valuable in any industry.
- Data collection
- Data analysis
- Summarizing & categorizing
2. Sales skills
Hard sales skills are formal and technical abilities learned in sales training, workplaces, seminars, and training courses. They include things like product knowledge, goal setting, CRM software management, business communication, sales presentations, and industry-specific skills.
- Product knowledge
- Product development
- Business communication
- Sales presentations & sales demos
3. Marketing skills
Marketing skills consist of both hard and soft skills. Because many companies are shifting their marketing online, digital marketing skills are also in demand. Among the hard skills vital for a good marketing skill set are SEO, SEM, and content management. Also, research and analysis skills are crucial for marketing.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media marketing
- Content management systems
4. Computer skills
Nowadays, the job market is more competitive than ever, and computer literacy is vital. Almost everyone has to have at least some computer skills to succeed in their job. This covers office suites, presentation software, and communication tools. On top of that, tech-forward positions need an in-depth knowledge of computer technology. For example, this may include HTML or CSS, social media, and Adobe Suite.
- Operating system (Windows, Mac OS X)
- Microsoft Office
- Word processing
- Skype, Zoom, Slack
5. Technology skills
Technology skills allow employees to succeed in tech-forward industries. Some of the most in-demand skills are systems administration and information security. Also, skills like drafting, quality assurance, and software development are valuable.
- Video conferencing
- IT optimization
6. Finance skills
The finance skill set involves hard skills that help companies succeed and make a profit. One of the most sought-after finance skills is understanding various financial software. Moreover, forecasting, budgeting, investment management, accounting, and bookkeeping are all invaluable financial skills.
- Financial modeling
- Financial systems
- Risk analysis
7. Art & design skills
Apart from creative positions, art, and design skills are valuable in most jobs. Industry trends often guide the skillset of professional designers. So, the hard skills essential for designers are always changing and evolving. But, some of the most valued design skills are UX design and Adobe Creative Suite.
- UX /UI design
- Responsive design
- Color theory
8. Accounting skills
Accountants and other financial professionals use a variety of software in their work. An understanding of these programs is critical in any accounting or financial position. For example, being proficient in Microsoft Excel or Hyperion will boost your efficiency. Other examples of accounting skills include big data analysis, QuickBooks, or ERP knowledge.
- Accounting principles
- Cash flow
- Cost analysis
9. Foreign language skills
With global companies on the rise, bilingual employees are more in demand than ever. In some cases, employers also look for knowledge of technical or industry-specific terms. When listing your language skills, mention your level of proficiency. Define this by certificates you obtained, or as beginner, intermediate, conversational, and fluent.
10. Project management skills
Project management skills are valuable across most industries. They allow employees to execute large-scale projects without any hiccups. Moreover, employees with project management skills can minimize risks and costs and meet all requirements and deadlines, making them valuable assets. Some of the key project management skills include agile methodology, scheduling, and deliverable management.
- Project planning
- Business analysis
- Project control
How to Highlight Hard Skills During the Job Search
When applying for a new job, highlight both job-specific and general skills. To present a strong, relevant skill set, focus on the required skills. Firstly, make a list of all your skills. Then, compare them to the job listing and choose the most relevant ones to highlight. Finally, explain why your unique skill set makes you the ideal candidate in your cover letter and interview.
Hard skills for resume and cover letter
On your resume, create a separate section for your skills. Define your experience in each skill. You can also include your skills in your work history. Then, in your cover letter, expand on two or three most relevant skills and explain how you used them in the past.
Hard skills for interview
During the interview, the hiring manager may test some of your hard skills. Or, they may ask you to explain how you use your skills. So, ensure that you have at least two examples of times you used your hard skills in the past. Focus on the positive effect your skills had on the department or company goals. Apart from that, you can also bring any certificates of skills to the interview.