Top 12 Skills to Put on Your Resume This Year
Explore what of mixture of relevant hard skills and soft skills featured on your resume will help you stand out among the competition.Learn what skills employers and recruiters are looking for in potential new hires. We'll help you build a list of your best skills and achievements.
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What Skills to Put on a Resume
The skills section on a resume is important because it shows the hiring manager or recruiter that you have the required skills to perform the job role effectively.
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? Find answers to these questions, plus other tips on deciding on the best skills for a resume, including:
- Top skills every job seeker should strive to have
- A breakdown of how to put skills in your resume
- The difference between hard and soft skills
Top 12 Skills to Put on a Resume
Take a few moments to think about your work experience and compile a list of your skills. Your skills may include your best technical skills in addition to your best non-technical qualities as an employee. When considering what kind of skills to put on resume, here are some prime skills that hiring managers and employers are typically looking for on resumes from job applicants:
1. Active listening
Active listening skills give you the ability to focus your attention on anyone speaking to you. A good active listener will interpret what’s being said and respond appropriately.
A customer service representative uses active listening skills to evaluate customer needs and offer a solution.
A nurse uses active listening skills to diagnose a patient’s issue and create a remedy/treatment plan.
Adaptability is your ability to effectively adjust to a continually changing work environment. This skill shows how you rebound from a situation to maintain movement on work responsibilities, projects and tasks.
A marketing manager uses adaptability skills to notice an unexpected customer engagement outcome and react quickly and accordingly with a marketing plan to fix the issue.
A police officer uses adaptability skills when faced with unpredictable situations in order to maintain peace or quickly resolve issues.
Communication is how you handle expressing your thoughts and holding a dialogue in your work environment. Communication skills may include verbal, non verbal, written, visual and listening.
A journalist uses communication skills to report a news event or tell a story to readers of a periodical.
A teacher uses communication skills to present a lesson plan to students.
4. Critical thinking
Critical thinking in the workplace may be how you solved a difficult problem, when you had to use logic to make a critical plan, treatment or decision.
An emergency medical technician (EMT) uses critical thinking skills to treat patients requiring immediate, often lifesaving treatments.
A lawyer uses critical thinking skills to evaluate a legal issue through facts and evidence and come up with a court argument, plea or conclusion.
5. Data analysis
Data analysis is your ability to collect, organize and interpret work-related data to share with key stakeholders in your organization.
A data scientist uses data analysis skills to work with a multi-functional Agile team to develop and analytic solutions.
A business analyst uses data analysis skills by working with various software and tools including Tableau, Excel, and Python to interpret and analyze data for driving effective solutions.
Decision-making in the workplace is the process of making the best possible choice based on your assessment of a situation in a timely manner,
A pilot uses decision-making skills to fly an airplane and maintain flight schedules, whether it’s in perfect conditions, or facing a storm, heavy winds or even mechanical failure.
A surgical technician uses critical decision-making skills prior, during and after performing delicate surgical procedures.
7. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are performed with every interaction you have with a coworker, client or customer. These skills show how you react emotionally when engaging or communicating with others.
A dentist uses interpersonal skills to read a patient’s comfort level and make the person feel at ease during a dental procedure.
A sales representative uses interpersonal skills to understand what a customer’s needs and wants are in relation to the sales process.
Leadership skills show that you can successfully and effectively lead a team by motivating, giving direction, mentoring, training and disciplining when necessary.
A CEO (Chief Executive Officer) uses leadership skills to manage the overall operations of a company with the goal of reaching financial success.
A hotel manager uses leadership skills to monitor services provided to hotel guests from each department of the hotel, including front desk operations, housekeeping, concierge services and maintenance.
Problem-solving skills allow an individual to objectively analyze the task/problem at hand, understand what is at stake and devise an effective plan to rectify the situation.
A staff accountant uses problem-solving skills to analyze a financial situation to find errors, inconsistencies and red flags, and create a solution plan.
An automotive technician uses problem-solving skills to explore, diagnose and repair autos, restoring them to reliable working condition.
10. Project management
Project management skills are used in an organization to see to it that a project is worked on efficiently from start to finish including meeting assigned budgets and project deadlines.
A retail store manager uses project management skills to supervise and assist employees, provide customer service, maintain inventory, store maintenance and safety, maintain profitability and execute product sales promotions.
A project engineer uses project management skills to plan, coordinate and execute engineering projects to meet compliance regulations, budget and time constraints.
Teamwork skills show a candidate’s ability to work efficiently with a team to complete job tasks cohesively, efficiently, productively and successfully.
A construction manager uses teamwork skills to coordinate all team members to safely work together to complete all aspects of construction projects from planning to completion.
Culinary workers use teamwork skills when collaborating to produce mass amounts of quality food in a fast paced environment.
12. Time management skills
Time management skills show that you can perform all of the job responsibilities effectively, productively, efficiently, profitably and successfully.
A pharmacist uses time management skills to fill prescriptions in a timely manner while at the same time meeting strict efficiency protocols.
An event planner uses time management skills to ensure all elements of a social event meet strict deadlines from set up to clean up.
Bonus: Technical Skills
While the skills mentioned above show how you interact with people and how you approach work, you should also feature technical skills, or skills that you learn through training that are important in your industry.
Technical skills may include:
- Microsoft Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
- Graphic design expertise (Adobe Suite, Maya, Blender)
- Web development
- Writing skills
- Advanced computer skills
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Marketing (SEM, content marketing, digital marketing)
5 Tips for Placing Skills in Your Resume
Rather than just list every single skill that you have on your resume, narrow down your list to between 5 to 12 skills that will fit the specific job you’re applying for. Follow these expert tips for placing skills on your resume.
1. Research the job posting for key skills
Each job ad in your job search includes specific keywords describing required skills and experience for that job role. You need to mirror those related skills on your resume to show you are qualified. Using those keywords also gives you the best chance to get past applicant tracking systems (ATS). Busy hiring managers and recruiters rely on an ATS to scan incoming resumes for qualified candidates. That means, employers will be specifically looking for important skills based on the keywords listed in the job description.
Example of skills featured in a job posting
- Proficient knowledge of social media platforms including Facebook ,Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram
- Excellent verbal and written communication
- Experience editing website content
- Strong organizational and time management skills
- Strong attention to detail
- Ability to multitask, prioritize and meet deadlines
2. Organize your skills section with top hard and soft skills
Hard skills are technical skills, your professional know-how, that you have learned through education or on-the-job training for your specific industry. Hard skills include graphic design, data analysis, HTML, database management and Excel. Soft skills are your personality and character traits like empathy, flexibility, dependability and active listening. These people skills show how you will perform in a job role and work with others.
Skill section example from a chronological resume
- Grammar and punctuation
- Typesetting standards
- Page layout
- Good communication
- Microsoft Word
- Google Drive
- Ability to multitask
- Time management
Skill section example from a functional resume
- Covered local entertainment events and human-interest stories.
- Delivered accurate information based on thorough research and credible sources.
- Pitched over 20 stories relevant to Eagleville and local surrounding areas.
- Positive attitude with experience in team leadership.
- Collaborated with a production team of five to stay ahead of deadlines.
- Demonstrated good interpersonal skills toward the public to uphold company reputation and professionalism.
- Provided editing skills to review all newspaper articles and make necessary errors in content, grammar and punctuation.
- Verified facts cited in material for publication, catching 97% of errors.
- Made suggestions on space for text, photos and illustrations for ease of reading.
For more on determining your best skills, see ResumeHelp’s guide on what to put under skills on a resume.
3. Showcase skills in your work history section
In the work history section of your resume, highlight specific accomplishments that make use of important hard skills performed in relevant jobs you’ve had. List two to three specific skills that you mastered as part of each job. Even transferable skills from a previous non-relevant job can help you stand out from the competition. A hiring manager will want to see that your experience matches the job requirements.
Example of skills in a resume work history section
Hardware Department Supervisor, Dec 2021 – Current
Smith Home Improvement Store, Daytona Beach, FL
- Managed operations by leading the 14 person hardware team, handling project management and using critical thinking analysis to improve sales.
- Exceeded production targets consistently by 22%, coordinating schedules and budgeting resources to adapt to changing demands.
- Increased departmental sales by 10% monthly, through customer engagement and creative promotional strategies.
- Organized more efficient workflow, delegated tasks through cross-training initiatives and monitored performance to achieve goals.
4. Resume summary or objective
A resume summary or resume objective is a 2-3 sentence paragraph summarizing your background and top qualifications. Use a resume summary if you have ample work experience in your industry. Use a resume objective, focused on goals rather than experience, if you are entry level or changing careers. In your summary or objective, you should lead off by mentioning an important hard skill or two.
Example of skills in a resume summary
Methodical data entry operator with meticulous attention to detail and high efficiency record of exceeding quality expectations. Types 60+WPM and expertly uses both 10-key and automated entry methods. Skilled with scanning, sorting and organizing documents.
Example of skills in a resume objective
Creative, dedicated culinary student with a passion for desserts seeking to gain an entry level baker internship leading to the goal of a full-fledged pastry chef. Interested in incorporating a growing knowledge of dessert preparation with on-the-job training in a bakery, hotel or restaurant environment. Great adaptability, multitasking and time management skills to lend a helping hand to a busy culinary staff.
5. Show off your proficiency
For some major required job skills, hiring managers will be looking for certifications and training in order to qualify candidates. This is a good opportunity for you to also highlight any honors or awards that show you’ve mastered those specific hard skills.
Example of certifications in a skills section of a resume
- Early Childhood Certified
- CPR Certified
- First Aid Certified
- Completed training courses in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
- Language Studies
- Reading Development
- Creative Writing
- Individualized Lesson Plans
- Classroom Management
Top Skills for Popular Industries
The skills you highlight on your resume will depend on your chosen industry. Here are some examples of industry-specific skills:
- Equipment operation
- Safety protocols
- Technology training
- Trade certifications
- Basic math skills
- Physical strength
- Attention to detail
- Critical thinking
- Team player
- Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite
- Excellent oral and written communication skills;
- Data analysis
- Preparation of financial reports
- Strong accuracy
- Organizational skills
- Professional attitude
- Time management
- Attention to detail
- Active listening
- Problem solving
- CPR certification
- Handle fast paced environment
- Calm demeanor
- Customer service
- Verbal communication
- Interpersonal skills
- Math skills
- Team player
- IT solution support
- Diagnosis skills of technical issues
- Problem solving
- Professional IT certifications
FAQ: Listing Skills on a Resume
Q: What are your top 3 skills?
Make a list of your skill set. From that list you can determine your top 3 skills, tailoring those skills to the job that you are applying to. For example, if you are applying for a customer service role, you would explain how your problem solving, communication and adaptability skills can be used to effectively resolve customer issues. If you are working as a computer programmer, consider what computer skills to put on your resume to help you stand out among the competition.
Q: What skills should I put on a resume?
The skills that you put on your resume must be relevant to the job you are applying for. Matching skills to the requirement in the job posting is the only way you will convince the employer that you are the right candidate for the job. The skills you feature in your experience section on the best resume are you can create are skills that you are proficient with performing. Be ready to back up your skill claims by saying how you demonstrated those relevant skills and competencies in current or previous jobs. If you need help with resume writing or formatting your resume, ResumeHelp resume templates give you a great starting point.
Q: Do I need to determine my absolute best skills?
Yes, you should determine your absolute best skills and highlight those skills to catch the recruiter’s eye on your resume and your cover letter. We suggest you feature two to three skills in the skills section of your resume and be prepared to explain how you performed those skills in past work experiences when asked during a job interview. Just be sure your absolute best skills are relevant to the job you are applying to.
Q: Should I list more hard skills or soft skills?
Your soft skills and hard skills are what convince hiring managers and recruiters that you are qualified for the job role so they’re equally important when applying for jobs. A mixture of relevant hard skills and soft skills featured as bullet points on your resume will help you stand out among the competition. Take a few moments to read the job description carefully to see if your skills match the required skills. Then, look at ResumeHelp resume examples in your industry. You will 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?
All jobs require some sort of required skills regardless of job level. Read the job posting carefully and take note of the required skills in the job posting. Then cross reference that list with your list of skills to determine if you have the right skills from your past experiences, certifications and knowledge to get the job done. Based on the job description, you will see what good skills to put on a resume. If you need help creating a professional entry level resume, you can build a resume in minutes with our ResumeHelp resume builder.