Are you confident that you have what it takes to land your dream job? Do you know which skill set will help you get hired? Do you know how hard skills differ from skills? Besides listing your work history, effective resume writing also includes choosing the right skills to put on resume for your target job.
Did you know that the right set of skills and their strategic placement can increase your hiring chances tenfold? Read on and we’ll show you how to do that with the help of this resume guide.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
For every job ad, employers and hiring managers look for two kinds of skills: soft skills and hard skills. They want both, but which is which? Which matters more? Check out this hard and soft skills definition.
What are hard skills?
Hard skills are technical abilities that can be specific to a job or field. These are skills you can learn in school, through books, certification programs, training materials, or on the job. Hard skills include expertise in software, fluency in foreign languages, or mastery over tools and equipment.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are innate abilities that can be applied in any job or field. Also known as people skills or social skills, these traits pertain to the way a job seeker relates and interacts with other people. Soft skills include proficiency in communication, customer service, problem solving, leadership, or time management.
Most hard skills are learnable while soft skills are personality traits that are much harder to develop. Hence, most hirers value these skills more.
You can also define skills as either transferable of specific to the job requirements. The job-specific skills are those that vary based on the position and allow you to excel in a particular job. Transferable skills, on the other hand, are those that you use and need in almost every job.
Top Skills to Put on Resume
If you have yet to decide on the job post to pursue, here’s a list of the top hard and soft skills from Indeed you can use to boost your marketability and hiring chances.
Active listening Skills
- Asking questions
- Verbal/nonverbal communication
- Active listening
- Constructive criticism
- Interpersonal communication
- Public speaking
- Verbal and written communication
- Typing and word processing
- Fluency in coding languages
- Systems administration
- Email management
Customer Service Skills
- Active listening
- Interpersonal skills
- Ability to teach and mentor
- Team building
- Time management
- Project planning
- Task delegation
- Team communication
- Team leadership
Problem Solving Skills
- Attention to detail
Time Management Skills
- Delegating tasks
- Goal setting
Identifying Your Best Job Skills
As a job seeker, it’s crucial to highlight your best traits to position yourself as the most ideal candidate. If you’re unsure which of your skills you should include, try these steps from Indeed and Monster on how to determine good skills to put on a resume.
Step 1: Review your job description.
Start by listing the skills mentioned on the job posting of your current position. You might find hard skills such as expertise in MS Office or fluency in a foreign language. But as you create your list, make sure to break it down to specifics. For instance, instead of saying you’re proficient with MS Excel, detail the commands you’ve mastered such as creating pivot tables, building macros, and writing formulas.
Step 2: Think back on your awards and triumphs.
Have you ever received recognition for reaching your set goals or excelling in a specific area? If yes, then most likely your skills helped you attain that milestone. Make a list by thinking which of your personal traits helped you achieve those feats.
Step 3: Ask your former coworkers and peers.
More often than not, people close to you recognize your strengths you don’t know you have. Ask your former manager or colleagues. You can also ask your peers and friends to name some of your skills.
Step 4: Talk to field professionals.
To have an idea of what skills a certain post needs, talk to field insiders. Look for those who are already working in your target firm or in the same position that you want. Discover which set of skills is vital for your dream job and spot those that align with your own.
Step 5: Focus on your soft skills.
As we’ve said earlier, most firms value soft skills more for they are harder to develop. These traits include communication skills, leadership, and analytical thinking. Make a list of your soft skills, too, and focus on how you were able to put them to use.
How to Include Skills on a Resume
Following the steps above, you probably now have a long list of skills you’re ready to stuff into your resume. Though you’ve gone through the hoops just to unearth your skills, you will most likely need to discard some of them. Hiring managers have a limited time reviewing resumes so you need to maximize the time given to you. Include only your skills that are relevant to your target job, firm, or field.
Start by reviewing the job ad and jotting down the required skills and abilities that match your own. You can also check out the company description and its culture for some hints about the skills they need.
Your next step is to choose a skills section format. Here are your options in deciding where you should place the skills on your resume.
1. Skills within a separate skills section.
If you’re a job seeker with extensive professional experience, it is best to create a separate skills section with keywords from the job ad. This way, you’ll highlight both your work history and skills required by or relevant to your future boss. List first your experiences followed by the skills section at or near the bottom of your resume.
2. Skills in a functional resume.
If you are changing careers or have no professional experience, this format suits you. To add in your skills in a functional resume, craft a separate skills section at the top of your application. List here your successes with key skills relevant to your target job and your professional experiences below.
3. Skills within a professional experience section.
Aside from creating a separate skills section, you should also include your skills into the descriptions of your previous jobs. This will give you a chance to strengthen your work history by adding context and concrete examples for each entry.
Tips for Highlighting Your Skills
Besides adding your skills into your resume, you can also showcase them by putting some in your cover letter or directly sharing them during job interviews.
Adding Relevant Skills in Your Cover Letter
Your cover letter is also an opportunity to flaunt your skill set. However, simply saying you possess the right skills carries no weight. The best way to prove you have the qualities they covet is by sharing examples of times when you used it.
Mentioning Your Skills During Job Interviews
Job interviews also give you a chance to mention and elaborate on the skills you listed on your resume and cover letter. When asked, try to answer behavioral interview questions using the Situation, Task, Action, Result or STAR format. Try to mention your skills when you recount a work-related challenge. Describe the role you played, what methods you used, and the positive results of these tactics.
In a Nutshell
To write an effective application, you must also know what skills to put on resume. Start by differentiating your hard skills from your soft skills and your job specific skills from transferable skills. Research the top skills your target job or field needs and identify your relevant best job skills. Learn how to put them in your resume and apply the tips on how you can flaunt them effectively.
The right skills to put on your resume should depend on your target job type, career level, and, educational background. Before you send your resume, don’t forget to check what skills the job requires. Make sure your application includes only the skills that fall within their requirements.
For visual examples on what and how to put skills on resume, feel free to browse our resume examples and resume resources. If you don’t have the time to create your own or just want a resume expert to write your resume for higher hiring chances, try our resume builder or resume services. Resume4Dummies provides exemplary resume services for all job types and levels. Contact us at 1-510-7400-4155 to know more about us and our services. Our customer reps are more than happy to answer your inquiries.
Sources: The Balance Careers | Business News Daily | Indeed | LinkedIn | Monster | Forbes | The Muse