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You came to the right place to learn how to list skills on your resume for greatest impact. But first—
Meet Jane. Jane is the CEO of Jane’s Addictive Sweets. She makes cupcakes.
You like cupcakes, and you want to work for her.
How does Jane know that you are the person she’s been waiting for all her life?
Skills are your character traits and the abilities you learn that make you a good employee. They build your professional know-how and help you perform your job responsibilities well. You can have soft skills such as interpersonal skills or teamwork skills, and hard skills such as technical skills, etc.
A list of skills to put on a resume is as important as icing on a cupcake.
No one wants a cupcake without icing. No one.
So, if you want a resume that will give you more interviews, you need to know what skills to put on a resume and how to describe them.
This article will show you:
- Where to put work skills on a resume.
- What skills to put on a resume to get you MORE interviews.
- How to list work-related skills on a resume.
- 31 best examples of how to put your skills on a CV (right vs. wrong examples).
- INFOGRAPHIC that shows the most important resume skills.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know. To laser in on specific pain points, follow up with:
- Soft Skills & Hard Skills Employers Look for (+Lists)
- Computer Skills: Best Resume Computer Skills Employers Want in 2019
- Communication Skills for Resumes & Workplace Success [20+ Examples]
- Creative Thinking: Definition, Examples, and How to Boost Creativity
- Critical Thinking Skills: Definition, Examples, and How to Improve Them
- Decision-Making Skills for the Workplace and Job Search
- Management Skills List + Surprising Expert Advice for Your Job Search
- Marketing Skills to Put on a Resume: 40+ Examples
- Project Management Skills: Technical and Soft PM Skills Crucial in 2019
- Technical Skills List: Examples for Resumes Employers Want
- Time Management Skills: Examples and How to Improve Them
What to Put on a Resume to Make it Stand Out
Apart from experience and education, you should consider putting your achievements, a resume summary, and key skills on your resume to make it stand out.
This article will show you how to put key skills on your resume.
Here's an example of the wrong and the right way to put skills on a resume.
Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you'll get tips while writing your resume. See 20+ templates and create your resume here.
Sample resume template — See 20 other templates and create your resume here.
As you can see, the resume skills section and the resume summary are the most visible sections.
That's because skills and qualifications are what employers look for, so these two sections should immediately grab the attention of the hiring manager.
What are key skills for your resume?
Key skills are work-related skills that you need to do a job. Most often, you can find key skills in job descriptions.
Where do you put skills on a resume?
Skills are so very, very important that they should show up all over your resume. Not just in the resume skills section.
You do need a professional skills section, and it should be in a prominent place on a resume. You can also try putting your skills section in a side column.
An individual skill won’t land you this job. You need an entire skill set:
A skill set (also spelled skillset) is the job candidate's range of abilities, experience and knowledge essential to perform a particular job in a professional way. It is a combination of things the job applicant is good at and which are useful for a given position, e.g. leadership, research and planning, management, accounting, etc.
A good list of the most desired skills will make your resume better than 9 out of 10 others. Check out these proven job-winning skillsets recruiters seek in 2019. Get our handy FREE EBOOK: Six Desirable Skill Sets That Will Get You Any Job You Want.
Also, make sure that a couple of your key skills appear in your professional resume summary and cover letter. Several should show up in your work history section. Sprinkle a couple through your education section as well.
One of the reasons you will want to do this is something called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). More about that later.
What Skills to Put On a Resume - Hard and Soft Skills
First, you need work-related skills. Not bow hunting skills or nunchuck skills. Real career skills.
So, what are those skills?
Skill is an ability or a talent that lets you get things done. And getting things done is what matters to employers. There are two different types of skill sets: hard skills and soft skills.
What Are Hard Skills?
Hard skills are not “skills that are hard to learn.” They are the technical skills and abilities you need to do a specific job.
For example, say you are applying for the position of dump truck driver.
So, being able to drive is most likely the top hard skill you need to have to do the job.
Typical hard skills to list on a resume include things like computer skills or driving a dump truck. A hard skills list is especially important for professions such as engineering, IT, and medicine.
Here's a list of 10 typical hard skills to include on a resume:
- Data Analysis
- Foreign Languages
- Computer Languages
- Graphic Design
- Planning / Event Planning
- SEO / SEM Marketing
What Are Soft Skills?
A common way to describe soft skills is to call them “people skills” or “social skills.” Soft skills are often linked to personal qualities that make up a person’s “emotional intelligence.”
They are often harder to demonstrate, learn, and define than technical skills for a job.
List of 10 soft skills to include on a resume. See examples of how to describe them.
- Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Decision Making
- Time Management
- Conflict Resolution
The difficulty of teaching and defining soft skills for a job is the reason why a list of soft skills on a resume are valued.
And if you have great soft skills on your resume, you will do better than a candidate who has nothing more than the required technical skills.
For example, research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that the key resume skills employers favor in new college graduate applicants aren’t the technical types of skills for a resume.
So, what skills are the best to put on a resume?
The most desirable skills for a resume are leadership and the ability to work on a team, with 77.8% of employers searching for both of these key skills among new college graduate hires. Only 67.5% of employers will look for “technical skills.”
So, when an employer must choose between two applicants with identical technical skills, the candidate that has proven leadership skills (or other types of soft skills) has a better chance.
Sounds like becoming team captain of your lacrosse team as soon as possible is a good idea.
Still not sure what skills to put on your resume? Take a look at our list of sample resume guides for 150+ specific professions.
How to List Skills on a Resume?
First, you need to choose the best skills for your resume. This is the most daunting part of adding a resume skills section.
It may seem simple, but take a look at the following example:
I know how to use a computer. It’s a good hard skill. So I add “computer skills” to the bullet point list at the end of the resume. That’s great. Got it.
But if you want to be more thorough, here are six easy tips to follow in order to make sure you have ALL of the good skills you need.
So how do you decide which skills to put on your resume?
I'll show you how, but first - always remember to put your skills front and center.
Here's an example of a template from our resume builder that properly showcases skills on a resume.
Sample resume template - See 20 other templates and create your resume here.
1. How to Make Your List of Job Skills Relevant to the Job Offer
What skills are relevant for a resume?
Let’s put it this way.
- If you’re applying for a position as a Marketing Manager, your ability to tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue is irrelevant.
Proficient with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software (Salesforce).
Tying cherry stems into knots.
- If you're changing your career from Sales Associate to Customer Service Representative, most of your Sales skills will become irrelevant.
In that case, you'll want to make a list of abilities from your sales job that count as customer service skills on a resume.
|Proficient at Client Retention.|
|Bidding on Projects.|
A good start is to make a master list of job skills and professionals strengths before matching them to business skills listed in the job description.
Take a moment to think about all of the awesome things you can do.
Make sure most of them are things to put on a resume. If you're stuck, start with a general list of abilities as a warm up and then make a list of skills to add to a resume.
Which of these things could be your hard skills? Can you prove them?
Which of these could be your soft skills? Again, can you prove them?
Are you a good listener? That’s a great soft skill.
Can you use Microsoft Word? That’s a very basic hard skill.
Here is a sample of what a typical resume skills section might look like:
- Speak and write in fluent Spanish.
- Proficient in Microsoft Office including Excel and Powerpoint.
- Working knowledge of WordPress.
- Able to manage and implement Social Media campaigns.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Excellent editing skills.
- Able to translate complex text into easily readable material.
Maybe you have some of these key skills. Maybe your skill set is completely different. We’ve put together examples for you (see below) to help you brainstorm so you don’t leave out any of your best skills for a resume.
Next, match your list to the resume skills listed in the job description.
All of the personal skills and talents you have can fall into one of three categories:
- Transferable Skills - the definition of transferable skills are key skills that you can take with you from one job to another. Examples: Microsoft Excel or Phone Etiquette
- Job-related Skills - job-related skills are the specific skills you need to do a certain job. Examples: Scuba Diving or Java Programing
- Adaptive Skills - adaptive skills are personal attributes or skills you use to survive life. Examples: Persuasion or Confidence
Why is this important? Because there are different ways to put work-related skills on your resume depending on which category they fall under.
Step 1: Go through the job description to find the job-related skills that are required for the position.
Step 2: You should have most of these key skills. Otherwise, you won’t be able to do the job.
For this job, you need to be able to:
- Conduct webinars.
- Attend informal dinner meetings.
- Speak in front of large groups.
- Discuss and present software.
Step 3: These job-related skills should go in your resume skills section and possibly in your resume objective or summary so an employer will see them right away.
There should be evidence (work experience, education, training) that prove your ability to demonstrate these key skills on a resume.
Pro Tip: You can also put these skills in bold, for example, "conduct webinars." Using bold for resume keywords helps the draw the recruiter's eye while they are scanning, and will make you more memorable as well.
Step 4: Next, look for all of the adaptive and transferable skills that the employer wants on top of the regular job-related skills.
Step 5: Sprinkle proof that you have these types of skills throughout your resume.
Add a few with quantifiable proof to your professional skills list.
Adaptive Skills for a Resume
- Adaptable (work in changing environment)
- Quick Learner
- Able to Build Relationships
- Loyal and Discreet (maintain confidentiality)
- Able to Operate Under Pressure
Transferable Skills for a Resume
- Computer and Internet Skills
- Written and Verbal Communication
- Organizational Skills
- Time Management
If you want to get more interviews, tailor your resume to the job description. Here's how: "6 Proven Tips On How To Tailor Your Resume To The Job Description"
2. Research People Who Already Have the Job You Want
Once you’ve mined the job description for examples of professional skills to include on your resume, visit LinkedIn for a little bit of snooping.
Why do you want to peep on other professionals?
Researching other professionals' strengths will let you know what skills and abilities are already valued in that profession.
Add any duplicates of your skills to your resume skills section.
Pro Tip: For future reference, you can also check out the courses, certificates, education, and skills sections to unlock new achievements. Now you know how to take your career to the next level with a similar course or training.
Remember that employers will also check out your LinkedIn profile. Here's how to optimize it: "99 LinkedIn Profile Tips: Background Photo, Headline, Summary & More"
3. What Skills to Put on a Resume for Extra Value
Now ask yourself:
Are any of your transferable skills and qualifications missing?
Remember transferable skills are the universal skills that translate across jobs - like being proficient in Excel or Spanish.
Good skills like Excel and Spanish are always relevant.
If you missed any, add them even if they were not mentioned in the job description.
Feel like your skills are weak? Adding hobbies and interests can beef up your skill set. Here's how: "Best Examples Of Hobbies & Interests To Put On A Resume (5 Tips)"
4. Add the Universal Skills That All Employers Want
I know I’m getting repetitive:
Go back and check one more time to make sure you have EVERYTHING. Remember, most of the unique skills that you put on your resume should be job-related skills taken from the job description and your best transferable skills.
Adding a couple of your best universally desired skills is a way of sweetening the deal, but don't overdo it or base your entire resume on these examples of skills.
Have a look at our resume skills list. Do you have any of them?
Bonus: Download our list of the most desired career skills and examples of how to add them to your resume. "Examples of How to Put The Best Skills on Your Resume."
5. Numbers and Facts Will Make You Stand Out From the Crowd
Now, you're probably wondering how to put skills on a resume to convince the recruiter you’re the best fit?
Use facts and figures. Forget about superfluous adjectives. It’s as simple as that.
|Able to raise sales conversions by 45%.||Proficient at sales conversions.|
|MS Excel - advanced (macros, pivot tables).||Has a great command of MS Excel.|
Use proof to persuade to draw recruiter’s attention.
If you need more examples of achievements for a resume and tips read our guide: "Examples of Professional Achievements To Put On Your Resume [3 Proven Tips]"
6. Beat the Bots By Adding Keyword Skills
Today, a lot of resumes are read by robots before they ever fall into human hands.
That’s right. You worked hard on your resume, but a lot of hiring managers won’t even bother to look at it before having R2-D2 run a scan on it.
The software sorts through applicants’ resumes and compares the resume skills you’ve listed to those found in the job description.
Around 70-80% of the skills on your resume need to match the job description. Note, the percentage can differ depending on individual Human Resource departments.
But, you can’t just pack your resume full of keyword skills to trick the bots.
TheLadders say that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are now able to contextualize the content of your resume.
What does this mean?
The software can read your resume almost like a human.
That doesn’t mean that keywords aren’t important.
Keyword skills should appear throughout your resume.
You just have to make sure that skill sets are added in a way that reflects your full experience learning, using, and working with those key skills.
Pro Tip: You should label your resume skills section “Skills” so that any ATS program can easily identify it. Want more tips? Read our complete guide: "42 Amazing Resume Tips That You Can Use In 30 Minutes [Examples]"
The Technical Skills That Employers Desire the Most
The shift to a technology-based economy has made science, engineering, math, and IT skills some of the most in-demand skills for a resume among employers.
So, what are the best technical skills for a resume?
LinkedIn made a list of the 25 top hard skills for a resume, and it’s all tech skills. The number one skill was “Cloud and Distributed Computing.”
But that's not useful (unless you can spend a few years mastering cloud solutions.)
Other (more relatable) hard skills like driving are still important due to the growth in professions requiring such employability skills.
You don't have to be a PhD to be employable.
You simply need to put the right skills on you job application when replying to a specific job posting.
Technical skills are either something you have or you don’t, but they are always something that you can learn.
Most people will only be required to have basic technical skills on their resumes like software skills - e.g., the ability to use Microsoft Office and Excel.
Still unsure about what to put on a resume? Read our guide: "What To Put On A Resume To Make It Perfect [Tips & Examples]"
Professional skills on a resume are the one thing that will quickly communicate to an employer that you are the right fit for a job.
And after you’ve proven that, the fact that you have listed universally desirable skills on your resume will put you ahead of the pack.
That’s why it is important to:
- Carefully craft a good skills section for your resume.
- Place key skills throughout your resume.
And now you know how!
Bonus: Download our list of the most desired career skills and examples of how to add them to your resume. "Examples of How to Put The Best Skills on Your Resume."
INFOGRAPHIC - Everything You Need To Know About Your Resume's Skill Section
The infographic featured below will show you the most desirable skills to put on a resume and how to showcase them.
Still not sure what skills to list in your job application or how to do it? Reach out to us in the comments and we'll help!