A refined and updated resume is one of the most important tools in the job-searching process. By representing a glimpse into your working life, your resume can make the difference between landing an interview and rejection. Your work experience is important, and interviewers want to see that you’ve gained value from it. The skills you’ve obtained from your experiences help employers determine whether you can handle the job you’re applying for. If you’re struggling to put together a relevant list of skills, a good place to start is to determine what employers want to see. Below are some of the top skills to put on your resume.
Hard and Soft Skills
Before you decide what you’re going to put on your resume, you need to know how employers view certain types of skills. In general, employers look for two different types of skills on a resume to determine if a candidate is a good match for a job.
The first type—hard skills—includes skills specific to the position or industry you’re applying for. These are often more technical skills that you would have learned through formal education. Some examples of hard skills include knowledge in machinery, mathematics, coding languages, and specific computer software. When you apply for a job, potential employers want to see your hard skills to get an idea of how much you already know about the industry. These skills will also help them determine what they’ll have to teach you themselves once they hire you.
Once a potential employer makes note of your hard skills, they’ll want to see the skills that define how you work. Soft skills aren’t directly related to the job you’re applying for, but they enhance your desirability by showing your capabilities, such as your ability to be a hard worker or a team player. Communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making skills are all examples of valuable soft skills that you can apply to any position. Since you don’t necessarily learn these in a classroom, it’s important to develop these traits as you grow within your experiences.
Ultimately, knowing the differences between these categories will help you balance the skills you list on your resume. Ideally, you’ll want to have enough hard skills to properly showcase your professional training while incorporating several soft skills to show that you can also handle the workplace environment. Be sure to consider each potential skill carefully to decide which ones would be the best fit for the specific position you’re applying to.
Top Skill Categories
The top skills to put on your resume cover a wide range of abilities and personality traits. Since soft skills have to do with how we manage our work as individuals, your skill set can make you stand out from the crowd. Several key skill sets for which employers are always on the lookout include:
Due to their versatility, analytical skills are a must for almost every job. Whether you’re looking to pursue a career in engineering or law, you need to be able to properly analyze situations or data to determine the best course of action. Among the skills in this category are research, troubleshooting, theorizing, brainstorming, and diagnostics. Depending on the job, this could mean identifying trends among strings of data or discovering different ways to approach problems.
Critical thinking and analytical skills are often used interchangeably because thinking critically about a problem typically involves analyzing the situation. However, what makes critical thinking different is that it works as a process. Though one step of the process may involve analysis, other steps might require you to deal with outside facts and arguments that aren’t directly a part of the internal data.
Employers also want to see that you can decide on a course of action and commit to making it happen. It’s important to note that decision-making skills change drastically based on the field you’re pursuing. For instance, medical decision-making tends to deal with how to best care for a patient, while ethical decision-making is about making the choice that best upholds ethical values. If you want to include this skill on your resume, you should list the most relevant type.
In this technology-driven age, computer skills are requirements for jobs in a variety of industries. Even if your job doesn’t deal with coding or web design, having a general understanding of computer systems and programs will automatically make you more appealing to potential employers. For this reason, it’s often beneficial to list skills in Microsoft Office, Google Drive, e-mail, and presentation programs.
Time management and organizational
During interviews, it’s common for potential employers to ask about your work process. Answering this question often involves explaining how good you are at completing tasks on time and prioritizing which projects require the most attention. Organizational skills also play a large role in this process, as effective organizational systems help workers find everything they need to complete projects. Including these skills on your resume is a great way to elude to your efficiency.
Having the ability to work independently is important, but many positions require you to work as part of a team to complete projects and solve company problems. For this reason, strong interpersonal skills are very valuable to employers. Be sure to let your interviewer know about any skills you may have in written and verbal communication, conflict resolution, leadership, teamwork, and relationship-building.
If you’re aiming for a higher-level position, demonstrating management skills and knowledge is important. While most employees only need to worry about managing themselves, managers need the ability to keep a whole team organized while solving any problems that arise. Effective managers often exhibit strong skills in delegating and planning, along with a solid knowledge of the field.
Choosing Which Skills to Highlight
When choosing which skills are important enough to include on your resume, remember that you don’t have to list one in every category. Your resume should reflect you and how your experiences relate to the job in question. If this only consists of a few relevant things, that’s acceptable, as long as you’re honest. A potential employer would rather see an honest yet sparse resume than a disingenuous synopsis of what you think they want to see.
With that in mind, you should also include the skills that directly pertain to the job you’re interested in. Completed resumes typically don’t have space to spare, so make sure to double-check that all your listed skills are relevant and necessary to convey. If you’re struggling with developing a list of skills, one way to get ideas is by researching some of the top job fields to see what they value. Be sure to pay attention to your field of expertise, as this is where you’ll find the most relevant information to you.
The resume creation process can be as stressful and difficult as an actual interview. If you need help deciding which skills would be the most effective in your job hunt, contact Burnett’s Staffing for advice. Our staffing company in Dallas, Texas, is dedicated to supplying you with the tools you need to land your dream job.