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Creating a good skill section on your resume is necessary to convince recruiters you’re the perfect fit for the job. You might have a lot of different talents, but how to choose the right skills for a resume? You might also (wrongly!) think that you have only a few, and in this case, what skills would you put on a resume to show you’re a great hire?
Learn how to select and list resume skills to give the recruiters their aha moments.
This guide will show you:
- Types of skills to put on a resume for all jobs
- What soft and hard skills to include on a resume to get noticed
- How to list skills on your resume to confirm your qualifications and get interviewed for your dream job
You’ve been tinkering with that skills list for hours, even though you didn’t need to. Instead, you could use the Zety resume builder and simply drag & drop the skills onto your resume template. So go ahead. Pick one and create a resume that’ll get you the job you actually want.
Sample resume made with our builder— See more examples and create your resume here.
Skip to the following parts of the guide:
- Types of Skills for a Resume (So That You Know What Employers Look For)
- A List of the Best Skills to Put on a Resume (Divided Into Categories)
- How to List Skills on a Resume (Step-By-Step Instructions Based on an Example)
What Types of Skills Do Employers Look For on Resumes
A skill is the ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practiced it. And there are various types of skills that employers want to see on your job application. The most popular distinction is between soft and hard skills.
Soft and Hard Skills
- Soft skills are your character traits that characterize relationships with other people, such as active listening or adaptability.
- Hard skills are learnable abilities that enable you to perform certain job-related tasks, for instance, data analysis or product knowledge.
A mix of both is a must when writing a successful resume. In the next chapters, you'll learn how to pick the most relevant to the position you’re after.
According to the study, employability is one of the most researched areas when it comes to workers. It also works as an umbrella term for a set of skills that make you a highly-desirable candidate for any recruiter. These are called employability skills. They refer to a group of soft and hard skills and character traits that your employers want and make a person a highly attractive candidate.
Different studies list different employability skills. Having them all on your resume and then proving them to your employer is rather impossible. That’s why, when creating a list of skills, you should distinguish three different types of skills:
Also referred to as portable or functional skills, these skills are the abilities you can transfer from one job to another. They are based on ability and aptitude and describe actions needed to perform a task, transferable to various positions and industries. Transferable skills can be both hard and soft skills, and due to their versatility, those skills are attractive to any recruiters, regardless of the industry.
They are traits or characteristics that can contribute to performance at work. They are based on what you have learned throughout your life. These are soft skills, such as patience, independence, or active listening.
These are the results of your education, training, experience, and understanding of specific topics, procedures, dos and don'ts, and information required to perform certain tasks properly. These are hard skills, such as language, computer, or technical.
Why should you determine these three types of skills for your resume? Because combining them gives you a higher chance for your resume to pass the screening and land on your recruiter’s desk. Position yourself as a specialist and someone who’s kept learning and improving throughout your life, gaining abilities from different sources. This leads to the thought that you will only keep improving once hired!
Now see some of the best skills to put on a resume.
What Are Good Skills to Put on a Resume
The best skills to list on a resume are a mix of soft and hard skills. You’ll see the top 10 soft and 5 hard skills in a moment. Why the different approach? According to the research, soft skills are requested four times more than hard skills.
Top 10 Soft Skills for a Resume
The soft skills listed below are very much transferable skills. Such abilities are universal and not associated with a particular job or industry—they’ll make fantastic employment skills no matter the job title. However, they are necessary for certain workplaces, hence a short list of jobs underneath each entry.
You should add a few of your most relevant soft skills to a resume, whatever job you’re applying for. That’s especially important if you’re a recent graduate writing an entry-level resume.
- problem-solving (83% of employers)
- teamwork (83%)
- written communication (80%)
- and leadership (72%)
Communication skills are used for receiving, understanding, and giving all kinds of information. But these skills also include respecting others' points of view, explaining thoughts and ideas, and listening to others. Being able to communicate with your superiors, colleagues, and customers, whether verbally, nonverbally, in writing, or via visuals, is essential in any workplace.
What resumes require great communication skills?
- Sales Representatives Resume
- Customer Service Resume
- Education & Teaching Resume
- Human Resources Resume
- Public Relations Resume
Having great organizational skills means you can remain focused during the execution of different tasks. You're also able to juggle multiple tasks at once and organize work not only for yourself but also for other people. Being organized sends a simple message to the recruiter: you are efficient and effective. And that's something valuable for every job.
What resumes require great organizational skills?
- Project Manager Resume
- Personal Assistant Resume
- Management Jobs Resume
- Housekeeper Resume
- Event Planner Resume
Sometimes called interpersonal skills, these skills are about interacting with others in an effective and friendly way. People skills include mediating disputes, tolerating differences, trusting, and persuading others to your ideas. According to the survey, 81% of recruiters identify interpersonal skills as necessary, so showing them on your resume is always good.
What resumes require great people skills?
Problem-solving helps you identify and address the problem, think about possible solutions, select the one that will work best, and successfully implement it. Solving unexpected issues on time is vital for recruiters, as it shows you are someone the company can rely on in case of any unforeseen difficulties.
What resumes require great problem-solving skills?
According to the research, creativity is among the most desirable skills an employee can possess. Creative thinking allows you to see things from a new perspective. This can lead to surprising conclusions and completely new approaches to successfully completing old tasks.
What resumes require great creativity skills?
- Writer Resume
- Graphic Designer Resume
- UX Designer Resume
- Social Media Coordinator Resume
- Brand Ambassador Resume
Being able to work as a group helps you build strong relationships, both between you and your work colleagues and between you and your customers. No wonder why teamwork skills are so valuable. According to the study, over 70% of organizations focused on building and supporting teams improved in service quality, productivity, and profitability. Having strong collaboration skills is something that can impress every recruiter.
What resumes require great teamwork skills?
Listening and responding to what other people say in a manner that helps you move forward with your tasks, find solutions to problems, and improve your work is what you call active listening. Giving your full attention to what other people say and reacting to it is helpful in many situations, and proving that during a job interview is a great way to show that you care. And that’s what makes a great hire.
What resumes require great active listening skills?
Being able to choose between two or more alternatives to reach the best outcome in the shortest time is a valuable quality. If you have good decision-making skills, you'd be able to assess the facts, see the current situation and select the best action for the company based on facts, numbers, consultations, and rational thinking.
What resumes require great decision-making skills?
Did you know that, according to the study, 89% of workers admitted to wasting time at work every day? That’s one of the reasons why having good time management skills is something that every employer values in their employees. Being able to focus on work and not getting distracted is a perfect way of showing you’re the right person for the job.
What resumes require great time management skills?
- Production Manager Resume
- Entrepreneur Resume
- Business Owner Resume
- Freelance Writer Resume
- Scrum Master Resume
Adjusting to unexpected changes without too much stress involved can be tricky. But having adaptability skills will allow you to be flexible, no matter how many changes you need to take. Adapting to a new situation is very useful in the workplace and everyday life, whether it's a project schedule, objectives, or sudden obstacles.
What resumes require great adaptability skills?
See more examples of soft skills and step-by-step instructions for how to list them on a resume: The Best Soft Skills to Put on a Resume
Top 5 Hard Skills for a Resume
Hard skills are abilities you learn on the job through formal education or additional training. They are teachable, measurable, and related to a specific job. For instance, if you work in customer service, your hard skills include Zendesk, data entry, and product knowledge.
On resumes, hard skills show what you can do. Soft skills indicate how you’ll perform your duties.
This year’s research conducted by LinkedIn marks management skills as the most desirable by employers. Every leader needs these leadership skills to relate with co-workers, take care of their well-being, and understand how to deal with subordinates while also ensuring the company progresses and operates efficiently.
What resumes require great management skills?
- Sales Manager Resume
- Stage Manager Resume
- IT Director Resume
- Program Coordinator Resume
- Production Supervisor Resume
Collecting, organizing, visualizing, and assimilating data are all connected to analytical skills. Having them in your skill set allows you to see patterns, draw conclusions, and find solutions to different problems. It’s a valuable skill for many positions, as you can work with data, and in the modern world, it’s something irreplaceable.
What resumes require great analytical skills?
- Analyst Resume
- Software Engineer Resume
- Network Administrator Resume
- Coaching Resume
- Data Scientist Resume
Technical skills are required to perform specific, job-related tasks and are learned through on-the-job experience and structured learning. Those skills are many different types because they all depend on the job. Technical skills often require the use of certain tools and the technologies required to use those tools.
What resumes require great technical skills?
- Java Developer Resume
- Automotive Technician Resume
- Mechanic Resume
- Plumber Resume
- Computer Technician Resume
Different computer skills are extremely important in the modern world, primarily since everything you do is somehow related to computers. These skills combine knowledge and ability that allow you to use computers efficiently and effectively. Different things can go under the umbrella term of computer skills, such as MS Office, Google Drive, Spreadsheets, Web, Software, Hardware, etc.
What resumes require great computer skills?
Being able to communicate properly is good to have. But being able to communicate in different languages is something impressive. Language skills are useful in many different scenarios, so if you have a knack for them, you should definitely include that in your resume. Having someone who speaks more than one language on board can be helpful when the company grows.
What resumes require great language skills?
- Translator Resume
- Event Coordinator Resume
- Flight Attendant Resume
- Hotel Front Desk Resume
- Hostess Resume
See more examples of hard skills and step-by-step instructions for how to list them on a resume: The Best Hard Skills to Put on a Resume
When making a resume in our builder, drag & drop bullet points, skills, and auto-fill the boring stuff. Spell check? Check. Start building a professional resume template here for free.
How to List Skills on a Resume
Having a great list of skills is one thing. But putting them neatly on your resume is also important! And now that you know pretty well what skills are valuable for your future employer, it’s time to find out how to impress them with your talents!
1. Tailor Your Resume Skills to the Job Description You’re Targeting
If there’s one takeaway here, it’s this:
Customize the skills list on every resume you send to match the job offer requirements.
You’ll show recruiters that you’re made for this job specifically and beat resume-screening bots that scan resumes for relevant keywords.
How to make a resume skills list tailored to the job ad?
- Start with a master list of all your professional skills. List everything that makes you good at your job, both hard and soft skills.
- Read the job description carefully. Pay attention to the “Requirements” or “Key Skills” section of the job ad.
- Look for skills-related words and phrases such as “meticulous time-management,” “knowledge of XYZ software,” “proficient in Lean management,” and so on. Jot them down.
- Compare your master list of skills with those you see in the job ad. All those that match have to go on your resume.
- Don’t stop there! If the job ad calls for other skills you think you have but forgot to enter on your master list, mention those on a resume, too.
- Tell the truth, though. If you exaggerate your qualifications on a resume, recruiters will find out at some point.
Let’s see how that works in practice. Below is a sample job ad for a customer service representative.
See those keywords marked in yellow? Those are the key skills and qualifications successful candidates will have to list and prove on their resumes.
- Present a professional image with a positive demeanor daily
- Initiate customer interactions and engage with prospects
- Educate customers about our clients and the value of their products
- Provide support and resources that solidify the interest of customers
- Establish rapport to pinpoint customer preferences and adapt accordingly
- Become an expert in the characteristics of the products and services offered
- Collaborate with the Customer Service Team to complete objectives
- You’re able to make decisions and solve problems
- You are able to empathize with customers in a genuine way that lets them know you care about their issues
- You’re a team player that can follow and lead as situations dictate
- 2-5 years of experience working with customers in a technical role
- Excellent written and verbal communication
- Experience with JIRA, Zendesk, Salesforce, or other support tools
Now that you know what’s expected of you, show you have the skills they need.
2. Include Relevant Skills in a Separate Skills Section
This way, you’ll help recruiters spot strengths on your resume in a flash.
Use a standalone skills section where you put your most important qualifications. Make sure to:
- Be precise (“Written and verbal communication,” instead of “good communicator”).
- Divide the skills into “Hard Skills” and “Soft Skills.”
- Use no more than 10 skills in total.
See how it should look in an example below:
- Providing customer support
- Product knowledge
- Written and verbal communication
- Teamwork and collaboration
You can also indicate how advanced your abilities are using descriptive words, such as “Advanced,” “Intermediate,” or “Basic.”
3. Add Your Work-Related Skills to the Experience Section
That’s right, your work history section with descriptions of past jobs is evidence of the skills you’ve just listed. That is where you must prove you can apply your skillset in real-life professional situations.
The following sample work history section responds to the customer service job ad’s requirements that you read a moment ago:
Customer Service Representative
XYZ Corp Long Island, NY
- Displayed expertise in the characteristics and features of 100+ flagship products.
- Provided support to clients in highly technical roles.
- Worked with a team of 20+ CSRs and Sales Reps, applying Agile frameworks to solving unexpected problems such as new complaint types.
- Trained new hires to use JIRA, Zendesk, and Salesforce support tools.
- Commanded by supervisors for quick and efficient decision-making.
To learn more about how to include skills and abilities in a resume work experience, see: Work Experience on a Resume: Duties, Skills, Achievements
4. Weave the Most Relevant Skills Into Your Resume Profile
Yes, you guessed it—for the best resume, you need to mention a few of your most relevant skills in the profile, too. After all, you don’t just tell recruiters about your skills. You show them.
Let’s stick with our example of a customer service job. The job ad calls for skills in:
- Supporting customers in technical positions
- Support tools and software
See how this candidate shows their skills in the below resume summary:
Customer service specialist with 2+ years of experience working with clients in highly technical roles (1) seeking a Customer Service Associate position with ABC Company. Applied Agile frameworks to facilitate problem-solving procedures (2) for new complaints, slashing ticket resolution time by 40%. A power user of JIRA, Zendesk, and Salesforce (3).
What makes it so great?
Upon reading a 50-word-long paragraph, the recruiter already knows the candidate is skilled in everything that counts for this job.
Plus, a great cover letter that matches your resume will give you an advantage over other candidates. You can write it in our cover letter builder here. Here's what it may look like:
Here’s how to list skills on a resume for a job:
- Be relevant to the position you’re after: pay attention to the required skills mentioned in the job ad and list those on your resume.
- Create a legible, separate skills section: list up to ten key job skills, optionally adding descriptions of your proficiency level.
- Refer to your top skills in your work experience: show how you put your abilities to use.
- Add 2–3 most relevant skills to your resume summary or objective: prove you’ve got what it takes in the first seconds of reading your application.
Thanks for reading my article!
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What are the biggest challenges when putting skills on resumes? What skills do you think are the most crucial? Do you need further assistance with your resume skills list?
Drop me a line in the comments. Let’s chat!
Frequently Asked Questions about What Skills to Put on a Resume
What are the top skills employers are looking for?
- Technical skills: computer skills, programming languages, social media, and enterprise software
- Problem-solving skills: creativity, critical thinking, and analytical skills
- Customer-service skills: active listening, time management, and prioritization
- Interpersonal skills: communication, teamwork, and empathy
- Leadership skills: decision making, stress management, and organization
What are good skills to add to a resume?
There’s no definitive answer to this question because there are no universally good skills. It depends on what you know and can do and what skills employers are looking for. To hit the nail on the head, read the job description and mark the keywords you’ll later match with your resume.
If you’re writing a resume to change your career, go for transferable skills that are equally relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you’re writing your first resume without much work experience, do the same but with a mix of top-notch employability skills.
What kind of skills to put on a resume?
Include soft and hard skills to respond to every aspect of the job description—desired qualities AND competencies. You need to have both soft skills and hard skills to succeed in virtually every profession, no matter how technical. For example, even for a typical technician job, engineering knowledge is not enough: you also need good communication skills to explain the problem and present viable solutions.
How do I list my skills on a resume for 2023?
Give yourself more credit and weave the skills in your resume in a number of ways:
- Make sure to include your best skills in a resume summary or objective. It’s the most important and first section of your resume. Recruiters pay attention to every detail there, so do yourself a favor and be explicit.
- When you write your work experience section, use the PAR formula to build your accomplishment statements. That way, you’ll mention how you brought the results, which gives away your skillset.
- Create a skills list in resume bullet points tailored to the job description.
Where to put skills on a resume?
It depends on the resume format you choose when making your resume:
- Chronological resume: write your skills list under the work experience section.
- Functional resume: make room right under the career objective to write a skills sum-up. Give a short description of each skill to explain how you used it at a job.
- Combination resume: group your skills right under the header and list several achievements underneath to showcase your qualifications.