Skills for resume: How to use them effectively (+10 Examples)
One of the essential components of every resume are professional skills. Soft skills, hard skills, technical skills - they all inform the employer that a candidate is qualified for a position. However, incorporating skills in a resume may be tricky. You have to identify all your skills, prioritize the ones you plan on including, and then place them in the appropriate place on your resume. Today, we will guide you through this process and help present your key skills on a resume most effectively.
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Why list skills on your resume?
✔ To give the employer a grasp of your professional competencies. The recruiter can quickly scan through resume skills section and ensure that the candidate is competent. So, they are more likely to read the rest of the document to find proof of those hard and soft skills.
✔ To pass the ATS with ease. As the applicant software will scan the resume for keywords and specific skills, it will look for exact matches with the job posting. If you list relevant skills, you are more likely to get the high rating from the ATS and get more consideration from the employer.
How to list skills on a resume: The complete guide
1. Identify your skills
If you're not sure what skills to put on a resume, it's time to reconsider your experience. Think of the knowledge, technical skills and practical abilities that enable you to do your daily job. For instance, copywriters use such skills as research, search engine optimization, English language proficiency, and marketing. Skills are often divided into hard skills that can be learned, and soft skills that reflect our non-specialized ability to work with others.
Write down all job skills you can think of, no matter if you gained them at work, in the classroom or through volunteering.
2. Examine what the job posting requires
Read the job listing top to bottom to identify matches between what the company wants and your competencies. These skills you'll need to put on your resume. You needn't list everything you've done since the high school - if your career developed rapidly, the list will turn out pretty massive. Focus on what's relevant to the job. Ideally, you should stick to 8-16 options, depending on your experience, industry and career level.
Professionals on skill-based jobs (i.e. software developers, engineers) can have a much longer list of skills. In this case, it's important to differentiate between various types of skills.
3. Break down the list of skills by categories
If you're a recent graduate, you probably don't need categorizing skills. Experienced candidates with extensive lists of competencies, on the other hand, are strongly recommended to break them down by categories, for example, Foreign languages, Programming languages, Sales software, Management skills, Soft skills, etc.
The types of skills to put on a resume will depend on the desired position. If the job requires heavy interaction with overseas clients or vendors, be sure to focus on foreign languages and communication skills on a resume. And if it's a managerial role, focus on leadership skills, ability to resolve conflicts and organize work of others.
4. Locate the skills correctly on a resume
Both hard skills and soft need to be perfectly visible on the page. Most resume writers recommend that you put the skills section closer to the top and above the professional experience. But, in fact, it depends. If you're on a skill-based job (i.e. software developer, security engineer, manufacturing engineer, etc.) or have unique, in-demand skills (data analysis, machine learning), this is an ideal strategy.
If you have a plenty of impressive accomplishments related to the job description, put soft and hard skills after these accomplishments or even after professional experience. Everything depends on the extent to which having a particular skill influences your interview chances. If you have a hard time prioritizing and determining the right skills for your resume, consider consulting a professional resume writer.
5. Include universal skills that are valuable for most industries
Skills to include on your resume depend heavily on many factors: job description, your industry and specialization, and the country you live in. However, certain skills for a resume work positively for professionals of all levels and domains. They relate to the general ability to get job done, and therefore are welcomed by most employers. Below, you'll find a universal list of resume skills every job-seeker can include on a resume.
10 examples of skills that will boost your employability
If your resume skills section turns out too short and you lack ideas, check these skills examples:
✔ Project management - in its broad sense, project management stands for the ability to complete a certain task or project in line with the requirements and criteria. Even if you're not a PM or project coordinator by trade, the ability to lead small or larger project within a company is highly valued by employers.
✔ Problem solving - can you think of a situation when something didn't work and you fixed things or even improved? Troubleshooting the software or hardware, resolving a customer complaint and helping the student overcome their struggles in class can be considered as problem solving.
✔ Customer service skills - if you interact with clients in store, agency or online, this skill is pretty obvious. However, customer service has also a deeper meaning. It also assumes building relationshps with customer, promoting the employer's brand and anticipating their needs, which is something that not only salespeople can do.
✔ Attention to detail - this resume skills is essential for accountants, architects, executive assistants, pharmacists and lots of other professionals. It means completing each task thoroughly and with a great deal of concentration to minimize mistakes and shortcomings.
✔ Time management - although time management looks like an obvious skill for every good employee, if the job posting mentions it, be sure to add it to your resume skills list. You can use other expressions, for example, prioritizing, multitasking, scheduling, or delegation if they are more relevant to the position.
✔ Social media - be careful with this one as having an Instagram and Twitter account doesn't yet mean that you can use these platforms in commercial purposes. However, if you do know how to promote businesses and services in certain social media and have at least basic SEO SEM skills, list these skills in your resume.
✔ Interpersonal skills - interpersonal skills assume that you work well with others, i.e. colleagues, supervisors and clients. Other things being equal, the employer is more likely to hire a person who is more likeable and pleasant in their interactions with other people. This is one of the best skills to put on a skills section.
✔ Computer skills - proficiency in certain software and operating systems is an essential consideration for most positions. So, don't guess if you need to list hard skills vs soft, as it's recommended to use both. The examples of computer skills are Windows/MacOS operating systems, Google Drive, spreadsheets, presetnations software, Quickbooks, programming languages, and more.
✔ Leadership - this is one of the top soft skills sought by companies. Leadership stands for managing people and processes, taking initiative in challenging situations and being proactive in solving problems. Being a leaders also entails delegation, active listening, team building and the ability to take risks, so you can list these skills instead.
✔ Negotiation and persuasion - these job skills mean showing empathy to understand the point of view of the other person and take their interests into accout while being persistent about meeting your own goals. They are essential for managers, salespeople, consultants, and more.
Pro Tip: these skills are just empty claims unless supported by examples. Make sure the work experience, education or volunteering sections prove what you've listed in the skills section.
How to list skills on a cover letter?
Your hard skills, as well as soft ones, belong to the cover letter as well. Hiring managers scan letters to find out more about your competencies, so avoid keeping the letter generic and formal. When listing top skills, the best strategy is to lead with specific situations and examples. Cover letter space is limited, so choose 3-4 most crucial skills and expand on them. For example, to emphasize skills in web development, mention some of your most successful projects, no matter paid or unpaid. You can write "While working for XYZ team, I have contributed to the development of two ecommerce websites that serve 8M visitors per month. I have cooperated with the development and marketing team to increase user friendliness by 35%".
Every hiring manager is eager to read about your motivation and past successes, and how they relate to the job listing. Keep this formula in mind when describing skills.
Skill-based resume: What is it and do you need one?
Do not confuse simply listing relevant skills with writing a skill-based resume. Such resume focuses entirely on your competencies and skills, and the work history is only listed with job titles and dates. This type of resume is effective for people changing careers or someone with sparse work history, as it focuses on what a person can do, not the chronology of their career.
If you fall under one of these categories, you might want to write a functional resume. In this case, the Core Competencies section goes to the top, and you describe each skill in detail. If you trained new employees, you can write "Onboarded and trained 15 new team members, setting professional development goals and tracking success".
If you aren't changing careers, it's best not to use this type of resume and stick to the traditional chronological one. It is more conventional and preferred by most employers.
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