Listing Your Best Skills on Your Resume This Year

Putting your best skills on your resume can make the difference in getting you a job. How can you make sure you list the best skills on your resume?

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What Skills To Put on a Resume

The skills section on a resume can be one of the most difficult sections to fill out. After all, you probably have a lot of skills, and understanding which skills are right for the job isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone. Your resume skills section needs to show how you meet all the requirements in the job ad, often using just a few bullet points. What are the best skills to add? What skills are most in demand in your industry? How do you stand out from other job seekers vying for the same job? Here’s what you need to know about deciding on the best skills for a resume.
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How to Decide on the Best Skills for Your Resume

The first thing you need to do is narrow down the skills you’re going to list. Typically, you’re going to list about five to six key skills in the skills section of your resume, with some resumes going up to about 10 skills maximum. How do you make sure you’re listing your best skills? Prioritize skills that fit these criteria:

  • Skills you’ve received awards for
  • Skills you’ve used to benefit past companies
  • Relevant skills to the job
  • Skills listed in the job description
  • Skills you have certifications for
  • Transferable skills

One of the best ways to narrow down your skill list is to go through your work experience. Your experience section will showcase all the relevant jobs you’ve had. Try to think of two to three specific skills you used and honed as part of each job. Those are probably the job skills you’ll want to list.

Skills To Include on Your Resume

Compiling a list of skills can help you brainstorm skills you’ve used in the past. The following is a partial list of prime skills employers are looking for and depending on the job you’re working, they’re skills you should consider listing:

  • Adaptability
  • Teamwork
  • People skills
  • Project management
  • Active listening
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Decision making
  • Time management skills
  • Data analysis skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • General management skills
  • Leadership skills

Some of these skills can be considered to be interpersonal in nature they have to do with how you interact with other people. Others are intangible skills that describe how you approach work (such as adaptability, or teamwork), You should also come up with technical skills, or skills that you learn through training that are important in your industry, which may include:

  • Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Programming languages (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python)
  • Graphic design expertise (Adobe Suite, Maya, Blender)
  • Web development
  • Writing skills
  • Advanced computer skills
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Marketing (SEM, content marketing, digital marketing)

These are all skills that may help you in your job search depending on the competencies hiring managers are looking for.

Tips for Deciding on Resume Skills

It’s not practical to just list all the resume skills above. Chances are you’re not equally proficient at all of them, and it would also take up too much space on your resume. This is the time to narrow down your list to anywhere between 5 to 12 skills that will fit the specific job you’re applying for. One exception to this limit: a functional resume, which stresses skills and breaks them out into several categories.

To narrow down your skills, look at resume examples for the types of jobs you’re looking into. It’s also a good idea to look at the job posting and pick out skills that match your own. Often, recruiters will incorporate keywords from the job description in an applicant tracking system (ATS) that will scan incoming resumes. That means employers will be specifically looking for important skills based on the job description.

FAQ: Listing Skills on a Resume

Q: Do I need to determine my absolute best skills?

It’s typically best to determine your top two to three skills while you’re going through the resume writing process. It’s common for job interviewers to ask what your top skills are in the actual interview, and having an answer available for that question will help you answer it more easily. In your resume, highlight those skills first and foremost in your skills section so they catch the recruiter’s eye.

Q: Should I list more hard skills or soft skills?

Soft skills and hard skills are both important for most jobs. Your mixture of hard skills and soft skills will inevitably depend on what job you’re applying for. A customer service job will probably lean towards as much as 80% soft skills, whereas a software engineer may lean towards 70% to 80% hard skills. Again, looking at other resume examples in your industry will help you see the types of skills that companies value, allowing you to build a skill set for your resume that stands out.

Q: What skills should I list for an entry-level job?

Entry-level jobs need the same number of skills as higher-level jobs. The only thing that’s different is that you probably don’t have as many skills from previous experiences. Check for any required skills in the job posting, then go through the same process of determining the right skills depending on your past experiences, certifications and knowledge.

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