Writing your resume can feel like a monumental task. Selling yourself and your abilities in a single document is a lot of pressure. Finding just the right words to describe yourself and your career experience takes time.
In order to create a resume that will impress hiring managers, you should highlight the skills you have that they are most likely to be looking for. This ensures that you stand out from the pack when they’re reviewing who to call in for interviews.
To help you narrow down what’s most important to include, we’ve rounded up the ten crucial skills to include on your resume that really matter most. Which ones do you have?
Understanding Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
Job-related skills fall into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. In any job description, you will likely see qualities from both of these skill categories listed as prerequisites. So, on your resume, you definitely want to highlight a combination of these two types of skills.
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First, you want to show that you are capable of the job you’re applying for by listing your hard skills, or the skills that are specific to the industry or the position. Hard skills are the ones you learned in school, through previous job experience and in training courses. These are the must-have qualities in order to do the actual job in question.
Soft skills, also known as people skills or social skills are the qualities you’ve learned over time from your experience in working with others and becoming more proficient at being in an office setting. These are the skills that managers look for to ensure that you will fit in with the office culture and be an asset to the team.
Considering these two types of skills, here are the 10 specific ones you should be sure to highlight on your resume:
1. Languages you’re fluent in
Definitely mention any additional languages you know, from foreign languages or programming languages, especially if the job requires you to know particular ones. Even if the job doesn’t require additional languages, you can include your knowledge to show that you have completed additional training or to set you apart from other candidates. Learning another language shows perseverance and dedication, which are also important skills.
2. Operating certain equipment or machinery
If you are applying for a hands-on job—for instance in carpentry or occupational positions—you want to show your knowledge of being able to operate any necessary equipment.
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If you have completed additional safety training or other related courses, be sure to mention those, too. Also, if you have trained others or lead teams, those are important details to include to show your expert knowledge of the machinery.
3. Knowledge of specific programs or web tools
If the job you’re applying for is web-based, you may need to use certain programs or tools daily in order to succeed in the position. Be sure to include any of these programs or tools that you are proficient in, including the Adobe suite, content management systems, social media, WordPress and photo editing software. It should go without saying but be careful with listing out programs or tools that you aren’t very familiar with in order to pad your resume. It’s better to list a few that you are very skilled in than trying to impress hiring managers with sub-optimal knowledge, especially if they ask you to show off these skills during an interview.
4. Certifications you’ve completed
Be sure to list and explain any relevant certifications, courses and trainings on your resume to show not only your knowledge but also your dedication to your continued education. Hiring managers like to see that you are passionate enough about your career to keep learning new skills and bettering yourself by spending your free time expanding your knowledge. If you have taught courses, this would also be a good skill to include to show that you are also dedicated to helping the next generation of workers in your industry.
5. Problem solving skills
No matter the job, you’re bound to encounter hiccups and roadblocks in the workplace. Being able to strategize on how to solve inevitable issues is important to hiring managers. They want to know that when problems come up you can handle them efficiently and proactively in order to get back on course.
If your industry is collaborative—like a sales team, for instance—you want to highlight your ability to come together with other people to work toward a common goal. Being a team player means knowing how to actively listen, how to respond to feedback and how to give other people a chance to shine without micromanaging or overshadowing. Even if your job function is primarily working solo, it’s important for managers to know that you can work with others when the occasion calls for it.
7. Written communication
Given that many people’s jobs rely on email communication as a primary form of connecting with others, it’s essential that you’re able to clearly convey your messages to other people. You can show this skill by listing it on your resume but you can also highlight this skill by being extra certain that the document is free of errors and grammatically correct. (This goes for your cover letter as well.) Ask a trusted friend or colleague to read over both your resume and your cover letter before sending you to ensure that you’ve communicated exactly what you’ve meant to. This allows you to really put your best foot forward.
Even if you’re not applying for a leadership position, hiring managers want to know if you’re able to lead a team or at least possess the skills necessary to do so. You may be entry level today but you might be considered for a leadership position in the next two years.
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Typically, companies would prefer to hire from within instead of having to widen their net to find new talent. If you have the skill of guiding other people, whether through serving as a mentor or teacher or even leading a small team at a previous job, it’s smart to mention that.
9. Time management
Time is money, as the saying goes. Showcasing your ability to work smarter by managing your tasks efficiently is a necessary skill. Managers want to see that you can get the job done, and well, by meeting deliverables and deadlines. Having a proven track record of this shows that you will continue to succeed in your next position.
Finally, you should highlight your creative abilities on your resume, particularly if you work in a field that requires this skill. However, even if your job function doesn’t necessarily require creativity, this quality isn’t just about having artistic skills or an eye for the aesthetic. Creativity can also be connected to problem solving and team building when you’re able to think of new ideas for getting around roadblocks or bringing people together in unexpected ways. Coming to the table with fresh ideas and free thinking is an asset in any workplace.
Identifying your Skills
Now you know what skills you should highlight. But how do you know if you even have all of these ten crucial skills? If you’re feeling stumped, you can talk to a mentor, friend or colleague to help you identify and highlight the skills you have. Getting outside input is a great way to kickstart writing (or revising) your resume so you can show off your best self when you apply for a new job.