What are the best skills for a resume? Which skills do employers expect from great applicants? There is a constant growth of skilled professionals in the job market. So, it is crucial to make your resume stand out. The skills you put on your resume are likely to be one of the key factors in the hiring manager’s decision. It is thus important that you include the best, most sought-after skills for a resume.
The skills you highlight will show your potential employer if you have what it takes to succeed. If you are wondering how to show off your great skill set and get invited to interviews, keep reading! Below is an example of skills that will help you in the job hunt.
Hard skills vs. soft skills: What’s the difference?
The difference between soft skills and hard skills is quite easily defined. Hard skills are those abilities that are easy to measure. Often job-specific, you can learn them through schooling or training. On the other hand, soft skills are not specific to just one job and are almost impossible to measure effectively.
What are hard skills?
Hard skills are those talents and abilities you can easily quantify. These are skills that an employer can test, such as coding or foreign language knowledge. You were likely trained for these skills at some point, whether at school, in courses, or during job training. Hard skills serve as the foundation of every job and ensure that employees are equipped to perform their daily tasks.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are much harder to define, measure, or test. They are typically interpersonal skills that allow people to work well with others. While not impossible, it’s much harder to gain these skills through training. One’s character and personality determine them primarily. However, they are just as important, if not more important, than hard skills. While hard skills can get your foot in the door, your soft skills will determine your long-term success in the job.
Top Skills for a Resume in 2021
Top soft skills for a resume
Especially if working in sales, negotiation is one of the crucial skills for a resume. Nowadays, almost all jobs involve selling in some form, so negotiation is an irreplaceable skill.
Also referred to as management skills, these encompass many strong characteristics. For example, strategic thinking and the ability to motivate make a great leader. This is one of the most sought-after skills for a resume.
- Time management
Hand in hand with discipline, those with this skill focus and deliver results on time. In other words, they make the most of their day and deliver a high standard of timely work.
Overcoming conflicts through effective communication is a crucial skill. In other words, being able to tackle problems improves the quality of work results.
Employees who can adapt to new approaches and are dynamic are always sought-after. This includes being open to new solutions, new challenges, and changes in the workload.
Without a doubt, communicating is critical in the workplace. This includes speaking about problems, listening to others, and presenting ideas or solutions.
When working with a team of any size, having interpersonal skills can help your team succeed. With this in mind, employers often seek applicants who know how to work with others and empathize.
New approaches, ideas, and solutions help businesses grow. It is thus important to show off your creative side on your resume.
A proactive, positive approach to problems and challenges is a huge plus in the workplace. It will put you in a can-do mindset. Additionally, it can also motivate others to do the same and tackle problems head-on.
Without a doubt, holding yourself accountable for your successes and mistakes is crucial. It shows that you are aware of your duties and how you must complete them.
- Decision making
It is beneficial to be able to make well-informed decisions on the spot. At times, your supervisors will leave this task up to you. With this in mind, you should be able to make a decision and be ready to justify it.
Every employer is grateful for workers who take the initiative without reminders. When thinking about your skills for a resume, make sure to highlight a time when you took the initiative. Give details on what you did and how you overcame a challenge.
Technology and processes are changing. Hence, employers appreciate applicants who adapt to new environments and continue to learn.
- Emotional intelligence
Especially for management, this is one of the most important skills for a resume. It refers to being able to understand and address your and others’ emotions.
- Active listening skills
Active listening lies in focusing on and understanding the speaker. In general, active listeners engage with the speaker and show interest in what is being said.
Organization and dedication to excellence are crucial to a good work ethic. Adhering to these will not only make your work better but also make you more likable to employers.
Top hard skills for a resume
- Research skills
Nowadays, information on almost anything can be found online. So, knowing the most efficient ways to extract this information is a great skill.
- Network structure and security
One of the most in-demand hard skills is being the data shield of an organization.
- Data analysis
Being able to interpret large sets of data helps businesses understand their opportunities. Thus, data analysis is one of the most valuable skills for a resume.
- Writing and editing
While crucial for creatives, writing is an invaluable skill in almost any job. In particular, it ensures clear and concise communication and understanding.
- UX design
Being able to combine a visual concept and user-friendliness is a unique skill. It is hence vital for both product- and service-offering businesses.
- Human resources
The quality of employees can make or break a business. For this reason, HR specialists have always been sought after. This skill includes selecting and hiring new employees as well as retaining them.
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
SEO is a skill especially sought after in marketing and creative roles. After all, the online presence of any business relies on its SEO.
- Typing skills
Whether in administrative or transcription positions, keyboard skills are always useful. In general, employees with typing skills save time and work with more efficiency.
Tasks such as organizing or scheduling are, inevitably, a part of almost every job. Undoubtedly, your employer will be happy to see that you can pay attention to the details and manage your role.
- Foreign language skills
In the global era, knowing foreign languages is a great benefit. In particular, employers seek globally spoken languages such as Spanish or Chinese. For this reason, adding languages among your skills for a resume is a great idea.
- Resource planning
Many employers rely on enterprise resource planning systems to help them automate and manage their business operations. These include software like SAP or Oracle and require strong coding and project management skills.
Math is not useful only for accounting or sales. In various positions, you might come across mathematics-focused tasks that involve data, surveys, and more. Additionally, some business roles require an extensive background in mathematics.
- Process automation
AI and software can help businesses save time and resources, but it’s still necessary for humans to select the best ones and set them up. Especially nowadays, getting a certification in this skill can open the doors to a world of new opportunities.
- Project management
Completing or spearheading a project from beginning to end is a valuable experience demonstrating many hard and soft skills. Apart from highlighting this achievement in your resume, you can also get a project management certification to impress the employer further.
- Technology proficiency
Whether it’s hardware or software, most jobs nowadays require a basic level of tech proficiency. This spans from G Suite and presentation software to working a printer or connecting a keyboard to your computer. Of course, some jobs require a deeper understanding of the matter, but having a baseline proficiency in modern technologies is invaluable.
How can you choose the best skills for your resume?
If you’re unsure of the skills that you should include, think of your past experiences. Your strongest skills are the ones you’ve been doing since you can remember, the ones you excel at, or the ones you have a passion for. This is a good foundation for your list of professional skills. Next, take these steps:
- Make a list of all your skills
Think of any abilities you have that are above average. Also, remember that these don’t have to be only hard skills. If you’re a natural leader or can resolve any conflict, include those, too! You should end up with a list of all the skills that you have.
- Find all the skills required for the job
Take a look at the job listing for the position you’re applying to. What are the must-have skills that are listed? Make a list of these as well. Now, find the skills that appear on both of the lists, and highlight these. These are the skills to include and stress on your resume. Also, be prepared to explain how you’ve successfully used these skills in the past using examples.
- Tailor your list to the particular job
Whatever skills are mentioned in the job description should appear on your resume as well. If there’s a skill that you don’t think you have, you have two options. Either think back and see whether you’ve really never used it, or demonstrate that you are a fast learner and can pick up the skill without a problem. Apart from the skills in the job description, also research the company to understand what character and soft skills they look for in employees. These can help you stand out and convince the interviewer you’ll be a good fit for the company culture.
How to list skills on a resume?
While having a skills section is imperative, it’s not the only place for your skills to appear. In fact, your most relevant skills should be included in the resume summary as well as your past job descriptions. However, the positioning of your skills section depends on the position and industry you’re interviewing for. If the job listing is looking primarily for experience, place the experience section near the top and list your skills further down. However, if you’re applying for a job where skills are the most important aspect, make sure to place them right under your resume summary. However, the position of your skills section is not nearly as important as the skills you include, so don’t overthink it too much.