In addition to your work history, achievements, and education, it’s crucial to choose the proper skills to include in your resume. Having the right skills for the job and listing them accurately will leave a good lasting impression on the recruiter.
So, if you’re wondering what the best skills for a resume are, we’ve got you covered! We prepared a know-it-all guide that will answer all the questions you may have.
Let’s dive in!
You should list your skills either at the beginning or the side of your resume, while also describing your skill proficiency and highlighting related achievements.
Hard skills are highly specialized and industry-specific skills that enable you to do your job.
Soft skills are broader, highly transferable, and usable across various industries.
The top 5 resume skills for any job are problem-solving skills, leadership skills, teamwork skills, computer skills, and communication skills.
When listing resume skills, you should double-check for typing errors, ensure you’re staying relevant, and link your skills with related results.
How to List Skills on a Resume
Knowing how to list your skills on a resume is just as important as having them in the first place.
On average, hiring managers spend 6 to 7 seconds skimming new resumes, so your formatting must be on point for them to see all the relevant information. Proper resume design and skill placement will also help your document pass the ATS scan and prevent it from ending up in the recycle bin.
All that being said, let’s consider the following guidelines to learn how to achieve all this!
Where to Put Your Skills on a Resume
Based on extensive experience, there are two well-established ways to showcase skills on a resume.
The first way involves putting the strongest hard and soft skills at the beginning of the resume. Consider the following example:
A strong list of skills will grab the recruiter’s attention immediately. This way, they are much more likely to continue reading your resume.
Another impactful way to do it is to put the skills section at the side of your resume. Check out the next sample:
Notice how the whitespace and distinct formatting of a resume make the skills section clearly visible. This is the way to go if you have a solid work history that you want to present simultaneously with your skill list.
Proficiency is what separates juniors and entry-level job seekers from seniors and industry veterans. It quantifies hard skills and gives recruiters a better understanding of how good you are at them.
Make sure you mention your proficiency level for each hard skill on your resume. The same skills on a student's resume and the resume of a senior executive carry different weights.
There are many ways to rate your skills, but one of the most common ones includes choosing one of the following levels for each:
Add a Highlights Section
One of the most impactful ways to put your skills in the spotlight is to combine them with related achievements. Stating your proficiency level gives recruiters a general idea of what to expect from you, but relevant achievements truly prove your abilities.
When highlighting achievement-based skills, focus on the ones you’re most experienced in. When the hiring manager skims through your resume, their attention must be drawn to your most valuable abilities. It’s also important to focus on hard skills before listing soft skills on a resume.
The Difference Between Soft vs Hard Skills
It’s crucial to know the difference between soft and hard skills. That way, you’ll be able to tell the technical skills for a resume from the transferable ones. Knowing the difference is also important because you want to list the hard and soft skills for a resume separately.
Hard skills are usually obtained through formal education, credible sources, and courses. As a result, they are often industry-specific and rarely transferable between different careers. So, in other words, these skills enable you to do your job.
A good set of hard skills is one of the most valuable sections of your resume. It’s one of the first things hiring managers look for when skimming through resumes, as it tells them whether your competencies meet their requirements.
Soft skills complement your hard skills and increase your chances of landing a job. They are transferable, non-technical skills that impact your efficiency, and they involve communication, empathy, listening skills, and so on.
Top 5 Skills for Resume for Any Job
If you want to be on the safe side and choose several skills that recruiters always like seeing on a resume, keep reading to find out which ones work best.
#1. Problem-Solving Skills
Problem-solving skills are tightly connected to creativity, as both make you responsive and adaptable to unfamiliar circumstances. Since you’ll run into unpredictable situations no matter the job, it’s crucial you know how to overcome them. The better you are at solving problems, the faster you’ll respond, which makes you more productive.
#2. Leadership Skills
Leadership skills are invaluable when applying for any type of management role. However, you don't have to be a team lead or a high-level executive to benefit from them.
These skills are all about being able to set goals, solve problems, delegate tasks, make tough decisions, and more. These are all sought-after traits hiring managers look for, which makes leadership a must-have skill for any job resume.
#3. Teamwork Skills
Most positions require some collaboration or working in groups. That makes teamwork skills essential to the majority of jobs. It’s one of the first soft skills recruiters look for after being satisfied with the candidate’s hard skills.
There are even group interviews where hiring managers can put your teamwork skills to the test immediately. Having this in mind, make sure to include them in your resume only if you truly possess them.
#4. Computer Skills
Just a few decades ago, computer skills were industry-specific hard skills. Software engineers, for example, still need to have highly specialized computer skills to do their job properly.
Today, however, using the internet, answering emails, and using word processors is considered basic knowledge. Before you list these skills in your resume, you should ensure they are relevant to the position you’re applying for.
#5. Communication Skills
Good communicators can do everything—from communicating verbally and in writing to giving constructive feedback and being active listeners. These indispensable soft skills can make a significant difference.They’ll lead hiring managers to believe you can find common ground with your future teammates and solve any potential conflicts in a peaceful manner.
10 Most Desired Soft Skills to Include in Your Resume
There are many different transferable soft skills you can pick up in your professional career. Still, some of them are much more appreciated by recruiters than others. Let’s see which ones!
#1. Work Ethics
Work ethics represents a complex set of moral guidelines that employees follow in the workplace. They ensure you can build strong and healthy relationships with coworkers and customers while simultaneously creating a sense of security in the company.
Having a strong work ethic means you're a person of integrity that is also responsible, fair, loyal, and respectful.
#2. Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills (also known as people skills) describe the way you carry yourself around people and interact with them.
This is also another broad term for a collection of different traits and abilities, so make sure you’re using the ones relevant to the job position. Everything from humor and empathy to networking and diplomacy can be used to showcase this type of skill set.
#3. Critical Thinking Skills
Critical thinking allows you to look at a situation from every possible angle before making a decision. Critical thinking is vital when you want to thoroughly understand a problem and come up with the optimal solution. This skill is highly desired by recruiters since it’s just as essential for solving technical problems as it is for resolving conflict between people.
Flexibility displays a willingness to change or compromise, which makes it one of the crucial skills in any dynamic workplace. It tells recruiters that you can quickly adapt to new surroundings and overcome unexpected obstacles.
Highlighting this skill on your resume will also show them you can tackle demanding projects and go the extra mile for the team when necessary.
#5. Organizational Skills
Organizational skills affect your ability to work efficiently. Recruiters want someone who knows how to set goals, prioritize tasks, make decisions, and be highly productive during work hours.
Creativity is tightly connected to critical thinking and problem-solving. It helps you figure out the best approaches when tackling challenging projects and demanding tasks. To display creativity right off the bat, use impactful resume action verbs and power words when talking about your abilities.
#7. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive and manage emotions. People with a high EQ (emotional quotient) handle stress more easily, and they are also better at communicating, self-aware, and empathic. Recruiters want high-EQ employees, as they boost the workplace’s overall productivity and maintain harmony within the team.
#8. Time Management Skills
Time management falls into the same group as organizational skills on a resume. It shows that you can manage your time well and get things done in a timely manner,which is a skill that any hiring manager will find very useful.
#9. Willingness to Learn
Willingness to learn is a multifaceted soft skill. It shows recruiters that you’ll always be eager to improve and master new skills. On the flip side, it also displays humbleness, flexibility, and work ethic at the same time.
#10. Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is what can separate you from the other candidates. Anyone can be productive, but maintaining the quality of work while making sure your output doesn’t drop is something employers love to see.
10 Must Have Hard Skills to Include in Your Resume
The list of desired hard skills is heavily influenced by the current economic climate. Depending on the popularity of careers and the prevalence of some lines of work over others, certain hard skills are much more sought-after by recruiters.
#1. Mathematical Skills
Mathematical skills go far beyond pure mathematics. They show that you can think critically, identify complex problems, use deductive reasoning, arrange information into useful patterns, and much more. It’s a combination of multiple abilities that can make you a highly valued employee.
#2. Computer Skills
While general computer skills—typing, internet browsing, or email correspodence—are today's soft skills, there are much more demanding and highly specific hard computer skills.
If you’re in the IT industry, you are probably familiar with using complex programming languages, software, and tools. The information about them is a must-have on resumes if you’re applying for jobs in this field.
#3. Design Skills
Design skills can vary from graphic or logo design to fashion design and architecture. Hence, don’t forget to list your top technical and software skills relevant to the position on your resume.
Also, start displaying your proficiency right from the start by coming up with an interesting design for your resume. Make an aesthetically pleasing document and stand out from the competition.
With the popularization of the internet, language skills became more important than ever. It’s now incredibly easy for businesses to expand into international markets with them, as they give bilingual and multilingual employers an edge over other candidates.
Having this type of skill set is particularly valuable when applying for language-specific positions that involve translation, interpretation, writing, and similar.
Many employees negotiate on a daily basis without even realizing it. Negotiation skills are highly wanted in leading and managing positions, but everyone uses them to a degree. They represent your ability to reach a compromise, come to an agreement, and provide further value to the company.
As a result, these skills include everything—from active listening and communication to strategic vision and persuasive speaking. So, in other words, every resume could benefit from leveraging such skills.
#6. Administrative Skills
Administration is a broad term, and administrative skills are relevant in a myriad of professions. Anything from accounting and customer service skills to recordkeeping and data entry falls under this umbrella.
Administrative skills help you increase personal and office productivity by compiling multiple similar tasks into one assignment. They are highly sought-after in office assistant and administrator roles.
Marketing can make or break a business. Even the best products or services won’t be seen unless they are properly presented to a target audience. For this reason, marketing skills can be a core necessity for many businesses.
Keep in mind that there are many different channels and marketing techniques. To grab the recruiter’s attention, you should focus on the technical and software marketing skills that the company could benefit from the most.
There are numerous hard writing skills used in various professions.
For example, copywriters are highly specialized content creators who utilize writing to attract attention, persuade, and sell products or services. On the other hand, technical writers do research, analysis, and planning before preparing specialized documentation.
Needless to say, submitting examples of your written work alongside your resume can give recruiters insight into its quality and style.
#9. Video Production
With more and more businesses leveraging video content to increase their reach and gain more customers, video production is becoming increasingly popular. It's a highly specialized field that encompasses everything from filming content to editing and preparing it for various online platforms.
So, whether you plan to work on premium, high-end commercials or clips for social networks, video production hard skills are a must-have for many positions related to media.
#10. Machinery Skills
Your machinery skills illustrate your ability to operate machines. When listing them, you want to showcase your experience as an operator, as well as your knowledge of procedures, blueprints, and schematics.
A strong set of machinery skills also tells recruiters that you're great at multitasking and problem-solving. They may also showcase your physical stamina, strength, and ability to handle heavy equipment.
What are Transferable Skills?
Transferable skills are those you can use in multiple settings. These are mostly soft skills that you can pick up in one position and continue using throughout your career. This means you can keep learning, improving, and perfecting them during your future employment.
Most transferable skills aren’t industry-specific, and they remain useful even when you completely change careers. Another thing that makes these skills perfect for a resume is the fact that you can pick them up without any work experience. They can be learned in school or college or obtained from real-life experience.
However, don’t let that trick you into thinking that transferable skills are less important than specialized, hard skills. In fact, hiring managers look into soft skills to differentiate candidates with similar hard skill proficiency and experience. For this reason, you should primarily consider them an addition to some already developed hard skills you possess.
Here are some compelling transferable skills you may want to list on your resume:
Trasferrable Skills To Put On Your Resume
Written and verbal communication
Research and planning
How to Tailor the Skills on Your Resume for Any Job
Knowing the difference between hard and soft skills and having a list of unique skills for a resume is not enough. When applying for a specific job position, you need to know which of these skills to list on your resume and in what order.
The best way to do it is to study the job posting you’re interested in and only showcase the skills that are relevant to the position and the company you’re applying to.
Marketing is an all-encompassing profession. Marketers benefit from various skills, and it can sometimes be challenging to list them all while staying relevant.
When it comes to soft skills, there are several core ones you need to showcase if you’re looking for a job in this field:
Marketing Soft Skills Examples
Attention to detail
If you manage to quantify those soft skills by connecting them with relevant accomplishments, you’ll score bonus points with the recruiters.
On the other hand, hard skills depend on the type of marketing you’ll be doing. Some marketers focus heavily on email marketing, while others go for SEO, social media, website management, etc. Even then, some broad hard skills—such as writing and research—are imperative no matter the job position in marketing.
The job of a data analyst is to analyze data in order to communicate information and solve problems. Data analysis means using your skills and knowledge to transform raw data into suitable information that others can use to conduct business.
Data analysts use various tools and software to clean, interpret, and display data. As a result, they have to possess plenty of relevant skills. Since this is a large field, your list of required skills will vary depending on the specific job you’re applying for.
The following are some of the crucial soft skills for a data analyst:
Data Analysis Soft Skills Examples
Attention to detail
Some of the most wanted data analysis hard skills are:
Data Analysis Hard Skills Skills Examples
Logic and analysis
Project managers make project plans, oversee their development, and make sure everything is working as intended. To manage teams and resources, evaluate performance, make changes on the fly, and write reports on progress and results, you need both hard and soft skills.
As a result, here are some soft skills to list on your project management resume:
Project Management Soft Skills Examples
On the other hand, the relevant hard skills for this field include:
Project Management Hard Skills Examples
Project management methodology (e.g. PMI, Waterfall, Agile)
Relevant software proficiency
Excellent customer service alone can elevate a business since keeping an existing customer costs much less than gaining a new one. That's why many consider customer service the holy grail of business.
Customer service represents a combination of many hard and soft skills, including persuasive skills, empathy, patience, flexibility, and so on.
Some of the key soft skills for a customer service job are:
Customer Service Soft Skills Examples
Willingness to learn
Hard skills, however, are extremely industry-dependent. They vary depending on the customers, products you’re selling, software and platforms used, and more. Some of them include:
Customer Service Hard Skills Examples
Mistakes to Avoid When Listing Your Skills on a Resume
There are so many useful tips and helpful guidelines on how to select and list skills for a resume. However, it’s just as important to be familiar with the most common mistakes candidates make, including:
What To Avoid
Typing errors. It goes without saying that your resume must be impeccably written. Make sure to thoroughly check everything before sending the resume to the recruiter. Use apps like Grammarly to ensure that no errors are missed.
Not staying relevant. If you’re applying for a software developer job, the recruiter will be more interested in the programming languages you know than the design software course you took. Since your resume should be one page long, every bit of information must be relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Mixing hard and soft skills. Another seemingly harmless mistake would be to mix your hard and soft skills together. That could reduce your chances of passing the ATS scan. When a hiring manager skims through a resume, they want to see distinct sections for each type of skill.
Not linking your skills with related results. If your skills yielded tangible results, don’t forget to mention that on your resume. That way, you’re not simply describing your abilities, but you’re showing them in action. You can also use numbers to quantify your achievements for an even better effect.
To make a great job application, you need to make a good list of skills for your resume. Start by figuring out a number of relevant, highly-specific hard skills that make you qualified for the job. Then sweeten the deal with various transferable soft skills.
Once the list is done, follow our instructions on how to tailor those skills to suit the position you’re applying for and list them in your resume. Finally, make sure to avoid the most common mistakes, and that’s it. You’ve mastered the art of listing resume skills, and you’re one step closer to getting that dream job!