Picture this: you find yourself in a room filled with potential employers, armed with nothing but your competence, resume, and ambition. How do you stand out from the crowd of other applicants with similar qualifications? The answer is: with your presentation skills.
But what are presentation skills exactly? Why are they so important that you should add them to your resume in the first place? And, while we’re at it, how do you even showcase them on a piece of paper?
Fret not, for we’re about to delve deep into the specifics with this article. Before you know it, you’ll be owning the stage, taking the spotlight away from other candidates, and impressing recruiters with your impeccable presentation skills!
Up to 70% of successful professionals have strong presentation skills, meaning these abilities are one of the key ingredients to a good resume.
Presentation skills refer to a set of abilities to help you communicate concepts and ideas and persuade others.
Knowing different types of presentations and methods of delivery can help you understand which skills are important for specific presentations.
Notable presentation skills you can add to your resume include research, software knowledge, verbal communication, body language, writing skills, and more.
There are many ways to improve your presentation skills, including practicing, taking courses, working on understanding your audience, paying attention to body language, and using storytelling techniques.
What Are Presentation Skills & Why Are They Important?
A survey conducted on presentation skills found that 20% of respondents would avoid giving presentations at all costs. At the same time, 70% of those who give presentations say that these abilities are vital for their professional success. This alone speaks volumes about the importance of presentation skills.
By definition, presentation skills represent a range of talents and qualifications that allow individuals to effectively communicate ideas, persuade others, and leave a lasting impression on the audience.
In the business world, first impressions can often make or break valuable opportunities. In those situations, delivering information in a compelling and engaging manner is of utmost importance for professionals across various industries.
Whether you’re attending a critical boardroom meeting or having a business lunch with colleagues or clients, you’ll likely use one or more presentation skills. The person who can articulate their ideas with finesse and engage with the audience can present information in a memorable manner.
These skills can easily set you apart from the competition in a highly competitive business environment. Individuals with presentation skills can drive change, secure funds, ignite enthusiasm within their team, and more. Not only that, but you likely use some of the presentation skills in daily communication as well.
On the flip side, being able to give great presentations means that you have strong control over the subject and are confident in your knowledge. As a result, adding presentation skills to your resume can transform an otherwise ordinary document into a professional attention-grabber.
How to Showcase Presentation Skills on Your Resume
The content of a presentation is only important when the presenter knows how to deliver it properly. The same principle applies when you’re adding presentation skills to your resume. It’s not enough that you’re skilled in the art of presenting; you also need to know how to demonstrate that on your resume.
Firstly, it’s important to determine which presentation skills recruiters are looking for. For instance, if the role that you’re applying for requires you to do live presentations, you’ll likely want to emphasize body language and active listening. However, if you’re doing pre-recorded presentations, you might want to put more focus on your research and writing skills.
To remove all guesswork from the process of showcasing presentation skills on your resume, you can simply read the job ad and research the company to find out the requirements. That way, you’ll have a strong collection of relevant presentation skills to add to the skills section of your resume in no time.
The final step involves proving your abilities and separating yourself from other candidates who merely wrote them down. The best way to do it is to connect the most important skill with relevant achievements in your resume summary and work experience section.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Here’s how you can demonstrate your verbal communication skills:
Delivered persuasive presentations to clients, resulting in a 33% increase in customer acquisition.
Let’s see an example of a candidate highlighting proficiency in relevant software:
Utilized Microsoft PowerPoint to create engaging and visually compelling presentations for diverse audiences.
Lastly, here’s an example involving writing skills:
Authored sales pitches and proposals, resulting in a 45% increase in lead conversion rates.
Types of Presentations and Delivery Methods
Not every presentation is the same. Different types of presentations and delivery methods require different sets of skills, which is why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most prevalent ones, which include:
Informative presentations have the goal of providing information regarding a specific topic or educating the audience. The focus of these presentations should be on facts and data, and they should be clear and concise.
Demonstration presentations are similar to informative ones, except their focus is on showcasing how a product or a service works. These presentations often involve the use of multimedia elements and various visual aids to enhance the audience’s understanding.
Instructional (training) presentations are designed to teach or train the audience on a particular skill or procedure. They often include interactive elements, demonstrations, or step-by-step instructions.
Persuasive presentations influence the audience and convince them to adopt a specific viewpoint or take certain actions. This is best done through the use of compelling arguments and reasoning or emotional appeals.
Inspirational (motivational) presentations are similar to persuasive presentations, except their goal is to inspire or motivate the audience. These presentations often feature personal stories and experiences or tales of success.
As for delivery methods, you can deliver presentations with or without preparation.
Delivery methods that don’t involve preparation are:
Impromptu presentations, delivered on the spot without prior planning.
Extemporaneous presentations are also given without rehearsing, though they are outlined beforehand.
On the flip side, there are:
Manuscript presentations, for which you’ll have written scripts.
Memorized presentations, which you should know by heart. They are usually the hardest to pull off, but they are also the most impactful.
Top 9 Presentation Skills to Highlight on Your Resume
Let’s examine some of the most prominent presentation skills you can add to your resume.
#1. Research Skills
The ability to do research is crucial for ensuring that the information in the presentations you give is accurate and credible. Effective presentations rely on well-researched content that is backed up by relevant sources and data.
By doing research before giving a presentation, you’ll be able to substantiate each claim with evidence. Moreover, you’ll be able to provide detailed examples or statistics, further increasing the trustworthiness of the information that you’re conveying.
Lastly, research skills help you prepare for possible questions and counter arguments brought up by the audience. You’ll be able to answer their concerns professionally, increase their engagement, or persuade them.
#2. Proficiency in Relevant Software
In today’s digital age, many presentations rely on software and applications that can be used to create engaging slideshows and various multimedia elements. Being adept at using these software programs means being able to boost the visual appeal of your presentation. That can increase its interactivity, immersiveness, and overall effectiveness.
Knowledge of presentation software such as Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint allows you to harness the full power of these solutions. They allow you to use ready-made templates, stunning graphics, appealing multimedia options, and many other features. Smart usage of those elements can reinforce the message that you’re trying to convey.
#3. Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is the main method of expressing yourself and engaging with the audience while giving a presentation. It’s an essential presentation skill that ensures you can give clear and impactful speeches.
Individuals with strong verbal communication skills can efficiently organize their thoughts to articulate their messages with precision and clarity. That way, they can help the audience understand the key points, especially if the topic is complex.
Furthermore, effective communicators can maintain the audience’s attention and leave them with a memorable experience. They can also effortlessly respond to any questions or concerns, allowing for fluid, real-time interaction.
#4. Body Language
Body language plays a significant role in enhancing the impact and effectiveness of a presentation. It refers to various non-verbal cues, such as eye contact, posture, and facial expression, that send subliminal messages to the audience.
Through effective use of body language, you can show confidence and enthusiasm while also boosting your credibility. Simply maintaining an upright posture, establishing eye contact, and using purposeful gestures is enough to project determination and portray you as a professional.
Body language can also help you illustrate certain points and enhance visual interest. It can be a handy tool for clarifying particular ideas, establishing rapport with the audience, and overall facilitating effective communication.
#5. Writing Skills
While the majority of presentations involve verbal communication, a lot of them require preparation in the form of writing. Writing skills allow you to craft a solid foundation in the form of scripts or outlines that can guide you (or someone else) while delivering a presentation.
Strong writing skills allow presenters to structure the presentation beforehand and organize their thoughts in a logical manner. That can help deliver messages concisely and impactfully. Finally, writing skills play a role in creating the visuals for presentations through the formatting of text and graphics to create engaging elements.
Storytelling refers to an individual’s ability to keep everyone engaged and interested through an enticing narrative. That involves going beyond just presenting facts and data; it’s about using real-life examples and anecdotes to turn complex ideas into understandable points. Introducing human elements to the presentation makes it more personal and relatable.
#7. Active Listening
The benefits of active listening skills for presenters are twofold:
Before delivering a presentation, the presenter can utilize active listening to gain more information and understand the concerns of the audience.
During and after delivering a presentation, active listening helps individuals measure the audience’s interest and better respond to their questions and inquiries.
Adaptability allows individuals to optimally respond to unexpected circumstances. For instance, adaptable presenters can quickly identify and solve potential problems or technical difficulties. They can adjust their presentation to cater to diverse audiences, taking into account their preferences, interests, and knowledge levels of the topic.
This skill is also vital when it comes to giving impromptu presentations. It helps individuals give unplanned speeches, hold conferences, perform at unrehearsed interviews, and more.
#9. Language Skills
Language barriers can hinder communication between the presenter and the audience. As a result, having a strong command of a specific language can help you bridge that gap and deliver impactful presentations.
Having a comprehensive knowledge of a particular language also enhances your cultural understanding and helps you connect with the audience. Lastly, if the job ad asks for proficiency in a specific language, highlighting language skills on your resume will likely be mandatory to be able to apply in the first place.
5 Tips to Help You Improve Your Presentation Skills
Here’s a list of five tips that can help you start improving your presentation skills right now:
Prepare your presentation in advance by thoroughly researching the topic and creating an outline. Then, practice to gain confidence and improve your delivery.
Try to understand the needs of your audience to find the best way to approach them and address their concerns.
There are plenty of courses on presentation skills and public speaking that you can take both online and in person.
Pay attention to your body language. Work on maintaining good posture with eye contact and modest gestures. You can record yourself or practice in front of a mirror to spot areas where you can improve.
Use storytelling techniques by incorporating anecdotes, personal experiences, and stories from real life to connect with the audience.
And just like that, we reach the final act of our presentation skills spectacle. With all the secrets uncovered and wisdom shared, you now possess the knowledge to put your abilities into action and make your resume reach new heights.
As you work on your resume, keep in mind that presentation skills aren’t just words on paper or bullet points on a list. They represent illustrations of your prowess and the tools under your belt that help you take center stage.
Instead of merely listing them in your document, prove them through your experience. Lastly, remember that interviews are also forms of presentation, so keep these guidelines in mind when you talk with recruiters, and the results will come!