Ways to Craft Skills for Your Resume

Putting the right skills in your resume is the best way to stand out from the competition during your job search. Here’s the most effective way to list and explain your skills.

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Table of Contents

  1. Showcasing Your Best Skills to a Hiring Manager
  2. Top 20 Skills for Your Resume
  3. 5 Steps to Make Your Skills Stand Out on Your Resume
  4. List Specific Skills That Will Boost Your Resume
  5. Get More Skill Suggestions and Tips with Our Resume Builder
  6. FAQ: Professional Resume Skills

Showcasing Your Best Skills to a Hiring Manager

Acquired through experience or education, skills profoundly enhance your value to an employer because of the time and effort they take to develop. To help you create a list of top skills for your resume that help you get the job you want, we’ll be giving you these insights:

  • Skills for specific jobs and industries
  • Examples from a variety of job opportunities
  • An understanding of top skills you should present to a recruiter
  • Skill suggestions from job experts
  • Skills that differentiate you from the competition

Most hiring managers will only scan your resume for fewer than 10 seconds before they decide what they want to do with your application, so your skills list must hit the bull’s eye. Focus on assembling skills list that presents the right information with our tips below. And remember, if you use our Resume Builder, we’ll help you populate your resume with the right skills from scratch.

Top 20 Skills for Your Resume

Communication: Effective communication involves excellent verbal communication, written communication and nonverbal communication such as body language. Through communication, professionals can clearly convey their message, ideas, intentions and goals to others in a way that reaches the best results. 

Problem solving: Knowing how to find solutions using the skills, experiences and resources you already have is an invaluable skill, especially in jobs that require clear thinking and the ability to solve problems and means that you can share a unique perspective with others.

Leadership: Thoughtful decision making and the ability to adapt and take charge in difficult situations is always in demand, especially now with unpredictable changes happening in several industries, and new companies that need new leaders.

Time management: Always being on time and reliable is one of the most valuable and attractive skills for any income level or profession. Time management is crucial for building trust and meaningful connections with coworkers and clients.

Flexibility: When you're flexible, you're versatile, resilient and responsive to change. You can adapt to unexpected demands in the workplace — sudden surges in work, urgent problems or an unpredictable event.

Attention to detail: Having the ability to complete a task while demonstrating a thorough concern for all the areas involved, no matter how small. Attention to detail includes monitoring and reviewing work or information for accuracy, while organizing time and resources efficiently.

Specific software and computer knowledge: Many companies rely on specific software or computer knowledge to get things done, so any experience or certifications you have in these areas can be crucial.

Project management: Overseeing projects, working effectively with multiple teams and active listening are more integral than ever, especially as more people re-enter the workforce.

Collaboration: Working with others professionally and productively is part of every industry. Being a great communicator who knows how to deal with others and be a “team player” is an asset to any group.

Conflict resolution: Displaying honesty, compassion and respect to customers, peers and management is how effective solutions form and workplace conflicts decrease.

Language skills: Refer to your language skills as Basiс, Conversational, Fluent or Proficient.

  • Basic: You can communicate on simple topics or know some phrases in this language.
  • Conversational: You can communicate on everyday topics with minor grammar or vocabulary mistakes but you can't write in this language.
  • Fluent: Fluently communicating means you have the ability to express any idea without hesitation, with good vocabulary and grammar; people understand you easily. Both your spoken and written skills are good.
  • Proficient: Being proficient differs from fluent in the way that you now understand the structure of the language and you can explain how this language works to other people. You also can use idiomatic language and understand local accents.

Customer service: Knowing how to answer customers' questions and care for their needs is vital across many industries.

Organizational skills: Effective organizational thinking increases productivity and decreases confusion in the workplace, whether it’s keeping accurate records or being able to arrange information for easy reference.

Strong work ethic: Keeping motivated and focused while learning new skills or during difficult times can help you overcome obstacles that other job seekers may be unable to. The enthusiasm and drive to excel is a crucial skill for maintaining your career momentum.

Critical thinking: Someone with critical thinking abilities can think clearly and rationally when the situation demands it, allowing them to be more effective at problem-solving and decision-making.

Planning: Thorough planning and strategy execution are essential for success and help deal with unexpected problems.

Creative thinking: Creative thinking leads to innovative problem solving, and includes skills such as the ability to approach challenges in unusual ways, and brainstorming.

Patience: This extremely useful trait means that you'll be able to maintain a calm and rational demeanor when waiting for long periods of time or dealing with stressful situations. This skill makes working with others much easier.

Stress management: The ability to maintain a calm demeanor when expectations change or things don't go as planned is a skill in high demand. Defusing stressful situations helps people stay focused on what needs to be done, and keep sights set on end goals.

Mentorship: The benefit of including this skill is showing that you can provide guidance, advice, feedback and support to your mentee. Being seen as sponsor, advocate and ally, depending on the specific goals and objectives of your mentee shows leadership and commitment to the organization.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

It’s important to have a variety of skills on you resume, but what does that mean exactly? Well, most skills for resume can generally fall into two categories: hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills are skills that you train in so you can apply them to a specific field (e.g., software skills, or accounting knowledge). Soft skills are general life and job skills you can apply to any field. For example, here are a few soft skills you can consider for your resume:

  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Active listening
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Critical thinking
  • Customer service skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Leadership skills
  • People skills

These resume skills are all transferable skills that you can take from one job to another. They can help you assist team members, maintain relationships with coworkers and contribute to a productive, professional work environment.

Remember: only list skills if you’re fairly confident that you excel in these areas.

Hard Skills: Examples

  • Language Skills
  • Programming
  • Sales
  • UX Design
  • Business Analysis

Soft Skills: Examples

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Time Management
  • Organization
  • Team Work

5 Steps to Make Your Skills Stand Out on Your Resume

1. Decide on all the relevant skills for your resume

The first thing you need to do is come up with a “master list” of relevant skills you can use for your resume. The skills you actually end up listing in your resume will depending on your field and each specific job opportunity.

2. Determine the skills and work experience you should showcase

Next, you need to determine which of your skills you should really showcase.R ecruiters will be scanning your resume for skills that are most important for the job, so read the job posting carefully and take note of skills you should feature first and foremost. Remember, your resume only has have so much space, so limit yourself to truly crucial skills.

3. Include both hard skills and soft skills

Provide a mix of hard skills and solf skills in your resume. Soft skills are typically skills that are more personality driven and are helpful in all professions, like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, a strong work ethic and leadership. Hard skills are skills that you learn for a specific field, such as knowledge of specific software. Including both hard skills and soft skills on a resume can give employers a more well-rounded picture of how you’ll do on the job, not just what you can do but how you do it.

4. Determine whether new skills may improve your job search

It’s always a good thing to improve your resume every chance you have. If you start popular skills in your job field, in job listings, or on other resumes but you don’t have that skill, it’s a good idea to brush up on that skill and fill out your resume a little bit more.

5. Learn ways to organize your key skills more effectively

How you present you skills will depend on the format you use for your resume. Once you pick the right format — chronological, functional or combination — you’ll know how to organize your skills. For example, a functional resume will present a more comprehensive list of your top skills, organized in categories. Check out our resume examples to see how others have organized their skills.

List Specific Skills That Will Boost Your Resume

In general, you want to make it as easy as possible for a hiring manager to scan your resume and determine if you’d be a great fit for a team. This means utilizing bullet points for readability, describing your skills in ways that match the job description and featuring both soft and hard skills. You want to make sure that a hiring manager understands who you are and what you can bring to the table.

One of the best ways to manage your resume is to take inspiration from resume skills examples. Use our resume examples, which cover hundreds of jobs and industries. Just remember that if you find you’re not getting a lot of views on job applications, upgrading your skills section is one of the best ways to improve your chances.

Get More Skill Suggestions and Tips with Our Resume Builder

The ResumeHelp Resume Builder is a great tool if you’re trying to create any resume, regardless of your format. With our Builder, you can find the right resume template, add your information, save as many different versions of your resume as you need, and proceed with your job search as quickly as possible.

FAQ: Professional Resume Skills

Q: What counts as important skills?

Important skills are the ones that you can use across several different industries. They are sometimes referred to as transferable skills and are great to highlight early in your resume, especially if you are applying for a job in a new field or have a break in your work history. 
Here are a few transferable skills that you might want to add to your skills section if you have them:

  • Skills for which you have received certifications
  • Experience in programming languages like CSS and JavaScript
  • Adobe software 
  • Microsoft Suite (including outlook, excel and powerpoint; not just word processing)
  • Google Suite (Gmail, Sheets, etc.)
  • Graphic design experience and knowledge
  • Advanced SEM and SEO experience
  • Foreign languages, as well as your level of proficiency

These are all important job skills but also if you have soft skills and can elaborate on them those would be an excellent addition to your resume as well. Being a respectful leader, great communicator and excellent problem solver are assets that have a high value across almost every job field. Resume examples can come into play here as well so that you can have a template for the industries you’re interested in. Utilize the resume examples ResumeHelp has curated to check the resume skills sections on samples for specific jobs to see what kinds of skills are being listed.

Q: Are accreditations considered relevant skills?

Accreditations should have their own section on your resume, along with certifications or honors. You can also discuss accreditations and qualifications in a‘Summary of Qualifications” section to explain and draw attention to these top skills.
Different resume formats may offer you the space to include accreditations or you may find that it will go in your general list of skills. This will depend on which resume format you choose.

Q: How do I find out what technical skills are valued in my line of work?

The best way for you to figure out what technical skills are valued in a specific line of work is just to look at other resume examples and job postings for the same line of work. The more you look at these resume examples, the more you’ll be able to see what employers are looking for and what employees are putting front and center. Make sure you look at resumes in both your general industry and, if you can find them, the specific job you’re applying for.

Different places will value different skills and if you don’t have some of the skills on the list, prioritize showing off the skills you do have rather than stressing out about the skills you don’t. As you continue to polish your resume, you can start learning those important skills and add them to your resume as you become more confident in them.

Q: What skills do I put on a resume?

Your resume should be a record of your most significant skills and accomplishments, so only highlight the skills you possess that are relevant to the position. You may want to include everything the employer highlighted in their job description but if you don’t actually have the qualifications they need, they’ll know. You also consider adding personal accomplishments like being a high school basketball champion, and while finding familiarity with a recruiter is important, save space on your resume and stay on track by having a statement in your cover letter that reflects specific details of the company and why you’re interested.

Q: What are the best job skills to put on a resume?

The best job skills to highlight in your resume are the ones noted most frequently in the job description, but as noted above, make sure you actually possess those skills. Hiring managers also want to see a good balance of hard, technical and soft skills as there is more to a role than just being familiar with a specific tool or program. Companies value candidates who can cooperate and communicate well with others especially since there is so much communication performed outside of a traditional office setting.

Q: What should my resume say?

Your resume should ‘say’ to the employer what skills and qualifications you would bring to the role and how you would fit into their company culture. You can achieve this by using a resume format best suited to your level of skills and experience, that way the hiring manager will see your ideal qualities at first glance. Resumehelp has great resources regarding the construction of chronological resumes: the best type for applicants with a long work history, combination or hybrid: great for candidates who want to showcase a variety of different skills and functional resumes: which are ideal for those who are entry-level candidates or career changers.

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