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Most resumes recruiters receive on a daily basis end up on the one-way express to the shredder. With fierce competition and a ton of details to keep in mind, creating a resume that gets you hired can seem like mission impossible.
One major aspect of landing the job is including key resume skills. Your skills show what you know. A recruiter won't hire a graphic designer who can't do Photoshop. On top of that, the Applicant Tracking Systems won't let your resume through unless you've included the relevant skill set for the position.
Tailoring your resume skills you present to a particular job is a must. Doing a little bit of homework to include the appropriate skills on your resume will increase your chances landing a job exponentially.
Think of formatting as the “skeleton” of your resume. Each bullet point and skill will then be its “flesh.” One of the challenges that comes with crafting the perfect resume is to keep it short and to the point. All of the skills you include have to be powerful and match the job description.
Steer clear of fluff and include only the relevant resume skills. We are going to go through all the information you need to present the most important skills in the best way. If you don't have a resume to work with yet, have a look at these resume templates.
SKILLS TO MENTION ON A RESUME:
THE COMPLETE LIST
in this guide, we will teach you:
- How to select your strongest skills and use them strategically on your resume
- How to choose the keywords recruiters look for
- How to figure out what your transferable skills are
- What the commonalities are between different industries in order to create a versatile resume
- How to use strong, clear language and avoid vague terms
- Which action words to include
- What the benefits of your skill section are
When listing skills on your resume, remember always to be honest about your level of ability. Include the Skills section after Experience.
For example, if you're a beginner at Photoshop, tell the truth. You don't want to end up in an awkward situation and be fired for lying.
Use the descriptors:
when talking about your level of expertise.
Often times, we only take a glance at the job description and discard it. This is a big mistake. Job descriptions are incredibly valuable.
They list all the tasks that will be required of you. By examining each one, you can choose the most relevant skills to put on your resume.
For example, if a job description requires “developing front-end of a website,” skills such as “CSS, HTML, HAML” are going to get noticed.
If it calls for “team management,” you should delve into your past experience that demonstrates the results you have achieved working in a group and your mentor experience.
A good resume will mirror the job description and will be tailored in a way that hits all the important points. Feel free to use keywords from it as well.
VelvetJobs Expert Tip
Need help? Check out our resume builder.
THE NINE MAJOR CATEGORIES OF RESUME SKILLS
Not all skills are created equal. Some abilities, such as handling Big Data are hot right now. Others, such as leadership, are an all-time classic.
Here are the nine major groups of resume skills we will cover:
|Technical Skills||Design||Transferable Skills|
Be sure to cover these key categories on your resume. Combined, they will make your candidacy credible and desirable.
If you aren’t an expert in all of the categories yet, don’t worry. This guide will give you tips on how to improve and how to most accurately present your current level of expertise.
While many focus on a high level of IQ, they forget EQ. A lot of people might have a high IQ, but in a workplace environment, EQ is much more appreciated. Emotional intelligence is one of the most important, yet least understood categories of resume skills.
EQ determines how good of a team-player you will be - and everyone knows that teamwork is synonymous with success.
Have you ever met someone who is “book smart” but doesn’t know how to act in social situations? This is where EQ comes in.
So, what is emotional intelligence? Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own emotions and those of others. It entails the ability to influence those feelings as well.
Why do we need it?
Have you ever walked into a room and felt the soul-crushing tension in the air? I bet that you’ve been a part of an awkward conversation at the office at least once.
Emotional intelligence is the difference between being sucked into the vortex of emotional drama and skillfully resolving the issue in a sensitive and rational way. Emotional intelligence allows us to actively hear what others are saying.
Let’s say that you are applying for a manager-level positions. Being in charge of others is not like working on a computer all day.
Managing a team is a tough job due to the different personalities that comprise it. There is no one-fits-all way to manage your employees.
Some respond very well to constructive criticism, while others take it personally and get upset. It is emotional intelligence that helps us determine how to act according to the person and circumstances.
Use these descriptions to showcase your emotional intelligence:
|Mediator||Remains calm under pressure|
|Thinks before speaking||Provides constructive criticism|
Using any one of those keywords on your resume is a clear indicator of emotional intelligence and will be noticed right away.
This emphasis is essential for any people-focused industries like sales, teaching, customer success, hospitality, event planning, public relations.
How to Improve Your Level of EQ
Emotional intelligence will help you both at work and in life. This is why it is important to master it. Some are naturally inclined to be great listeners and empaths. Others require a bit more work. You can easily increase your level of emotional intelligence doing the following:
Journaling is a great way to identify emotions. Writing your thoughts and reactions down will serve as evidence to detangle your feelings.
Ever had a bad day at work? Write the experience in detail. Then go back to it and follow the course of events, analyze why you felt that way. The same applies to the moments when you felt great at work. Remember when you got promoted?
Write down how that felt and what your boss said to you. Could it be that you were promoted because you always listened to what they wanted you to do and did your job correctly?It’s really as simple as that. Analyze your actions and link them to emotions.
Trying to speak only 30% of the time in the conversation
Ask yourself: do you actually listen to others in a conversation? Here is a simple trick from the hospitality industry to help you become more attentive.
Any time you speak to someone, you have to walk away knowing three things about the other person. This is on top of their name, which is an absolute imperative.
Going into a conversation knowing that you’d be testing yourself on it later will help you pay attention. Make sure that the words the other person says actually make sense to you. You can repeat the last phrase they said in order to remember it.
for example, you can have a conversation like this:
"I was born in Minnesota and have been working in finance for the past 5 years."
"So, you were born in Minnesota, how long does it take you to fly home?"
The added benefit of being aware of the conversation is that people will like you a lot more than if you listen. The the best conversationalists are those who just listen. Listening to others will make them feel important. The golden ratio of listening to speaking is 3:1. If that’s too hard for a start, go 50/50 and build up from there.
If you have ever worked in customer service, you know that every now and then a very grumpy customer will come in.
Trying to feel what the other person is feeling.
While a normal first reaction is to think that you did something to provoke their bad mood, that is rarely the case. In fact, customer service employees have little to do with the initial mood of the customer when they first come in.
People get upset because of any number of reasons - hunger, lack of sleep, confusion. While it’s not your job to conduct a therapy session, your life will become immensely easier if you can pick up on these emotions and empathize.
The next time someone is giving you a tough time remember not to take it personally. Imagine that you were the one who had been waiting in line for an hour for help and let yourself feel their frustration. Then begin by telling them that you understand how they feel. Make sure to be genuine when you say this.
That way you will show that you care. Customers will be more willing to cooperate, and your employees will work harder to make you happy.
Your boss will appreciate that as well. In fact, bosses are some of the most misunderstood people simply because many employees feel intimidated by them and are afraid to approach.
If you empathize with your boss, you will prove that you can put yourself in their shoes. Guess what - that right there makes you management material.
You can use emotional intelligence very effectively to interact with the hiring manager during the interview.
- Feel out their mood and mirror their language.
- First impressions count, so doing this right off the bat is essential.
When it comes to emotional intelligence, showing your skills as opposed to telling the recruiter they exist is key.
Make sure to describe situations and include tasks from your experience that require EQ:
- Fostered new client relationships
- Resolved personnel issues
- Led a team
- Mentored and trained new employees
- Interviewed prospective candidates
If you have had any interview experience where you were the one asking the questions, this will score you major EQ points.
Don’t be shy to mention it. The person interviewing you might be interested in meeting you in order to evaluate these resume skills and see your approach.
Leadership is a key quality to have in any industry. If you don’t have what it takes to be in charge, chances are you will not get hired or promoted.
Why is it important to be a leader?
Because a managerial position pays a lot. Just look at the recent CEO salaries. Jokes aside, leadership and teams is what enables scale to any operation and it is very valuable and high in demand.
Key leadership skills to include on your resume:
Some are natural born leaders, while others require a bit of practice. We've got some advice on how to enhance and demonstrate your leadership skills.
How to Improve Your Leadership Skills
Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you have to deliver a speech in front of a crowded auditorium while you’re in your underwear? In real life, public speaking is not that scary.
It requires a bit of confidence. If you’re not confident at first, imagine that you are.
Create an alter ego for yourself who is confident and poised in front of a crowd. Then channel this character whenever you have to give a speech or a toast. Public speaking will make others see you as a leader.
It takes courage to stand up and speak your mind and others appreciate those who aren’t afraid to do so. If you don’t know where to start, just do a simple Facebook Live. Record yourself speaking to your friends and post the video.
See what feedback you get. This is a comfortable first step before going in front of an actual audience.
Interviewers love to see that you take the initiative and aren’t afraid of responsibility. You can demonstrate your leadership skills by including charities and volunteer organizations you’ve participated in.
Did you participate in a volunteer trip abroad? Helping communities is a great experience to have on your resume, as it shows initiative and adaptability.
Did you ever create a club at your school or lead a work-related activity with your co-workers at your old job? Don’t forget to mention these experiences.
Showing that you care about others is essential. It is very likely that the interviewer will ask you to talk about your relationship with your past team.
Beat them to it and mention your mentoring experience on your resume. What counts as mentoring experience?
If you’ve ever taken time from your day to show a colleague how to do something: write a report, do research, use software; it counts. Mentoring does not just end with demonstrating another person how to complete a task.
Whenever someone new joins the company, and your boss asks you to be their trainer, this effectively makes you a mentor. Mentoring can mean advising newbies regarding integrating themselves into the team.
Make sure to mention all of these experiences. Companies want to hire people who care.
Technical skills are always handy. It's very important to be honest about your level of expertise in this section, as you can easily be tested on your understanding and abilities.
|Big Data Analysis||Engineering|
|Compiling Statistics||Network Architecture|
Now let's have a little more detailed look at a few of these skills:
- Big Data Analysis - data is absolutely necessary these days and companies need employees who are able to interpret it. This skill will definitely come in handy.
- Coding and Programming - being able to understand various programming languages is a huge plus.
- Project Management - technical projects are challenging and they require not only hard skills like programming, but also leadership skills. These will elevate you above the competition.
- Technical Writing - technical writing is the link between different divisions in a company. It makes complicated procedures available to the non-tech side by explaining in a clear and simple way.
How do you acquire technical skills?
Learning technical skills will take a bit of dedication. There are, however, dozens of ways to get started. Plenty of courses like Coursera, Code Avengers, Code Academy and Lynda are available. You can find both paid and free alternatives.
You can watch Salesforce tutorials on YouTube. Universities like MIT and UC Berkeley provide top-notch online courses. All you need is motivation and time.
Though not absolutely essential, languages are a great component to have on your resume.
Here are the top languages in demand to list as skills on your resume:
Did you take French in college? Did you pick up some Spanish while traveling in South America? Don’t be shy and add these to your resume.
This is especially valuable to international candidates applying for positions at English-speaking companies. Today, a great number of people worldwide speak Spanish. Same goes for Mandarin.
What this means is that businesses will favor candidates who can reach this and other markets as well as the established English-speaking.
One important factor is to be honest about your level of proficiency. Don’t say that you have a high level of conversational Spanish when you don’t because chances are that you’ll get tested.
If you use your language skills to separate yourself from the competition, be ready to converse in that language at any given moment during the interview.
You never know what languages the interviewer speaks, so do not lie about your proficiency. Be honest about your language skills. If you’re just a beginner, that may work out in your favor.
Some companies out there offer language classes to employees, so your willingness to learn can be of help as that demonstrates your motivation to succeed and be of greater help.
What is a quick way to learn a new language?
Don’t be intimidated of foreign languages. Today, there are many ways to help you get started. The mobile app Duolingo is a great resource. It’s free and teaches all the core languages.
There’s also the Rosetta Stone software. It’s great for both beginners and intermediate level students. The most important aspect of learning a new language is to practice.
The easiest way to do so is to watch movies in the language you’re learning. If you have Netflix, you’d be able to switch your language to French, Spanish, German, etc.
Hang out in places where this language is spoken and don’t be shy to participate in conversations.
Gone are the days when we could just say that we’re masterminds at “Microsoft Office.” Today, knowing how to use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint is pretty much a given. This is why we have to take a deeper look at our software knowledge.
|Adobe Illustrator||Client Support|
|Adobe Photoshop||Content Management|
|Android||Final Cut Pro|
Adobe Illustrator - artists and graphic designers should be very familiar with this software. This is the best way to create logos and designs and knowing how to use it, especially in combination with Photoshop is a major plus.
Adobe Photoshop - there are hardly any photographers left who don't know how to use Photoshop. Having extensive knowledge of this software comes in very handy not only in photography but also in marketing and advertising.
Quickbooks - this accounting software is used to manage billing, process payments and execute payroll functions. Knowing how to use it will keep your work process organized and efficient.
Final Cut Pro - this software is an absolute must if you work in journalism. Video production is a huge part of the industry not only for the traditional newscast but also for various modern platforms like Instagram. Knowing how to edit well will be very helpful in the social media industry.
Having any one of those resume skills is a huge plus for virtually any career. Even if the job you are applying to requires no technical skills whatsoever, you should list at least one or two.
Employees who can master both people skills and technology are more valuable than their peers who possess only one of the two.
Having experience blogging with WordPress and CMS is a great beginning. Good content is a must for any company today, so if you are able to help out with writing as a side project, you can increase your chances of getting hired.
How do you learn to work with new software?
Go right for the open source libraries online. There are a ton of instructional material on how to do basic programming or use Photoshop.
YouTube is another great source of information. It breaks down complicated programs step by step to show you how to code, edit, design and much more.
In our increasingly visual world, having design resume skills can be a big plus. These are some of the major design skills recruiters look for:
|Adobe Illustrator||Adobe Photoshop||CSS|
Having proficiency in design is a clear indicator of creativity and thinking out of the box. Even if you haven’t mastered Photoshop yet, having created a basic WordPress website will look great on your resume. It is likely that the question of your web presence will come up.
Interviewers may ask you whether you have your own blog. Chances are that if you do, they have already seen it. This is a great addition to your experience, so make sure to keep your site professional and speak about it during the interview.
How do you improve your design skills?
Create PowerPoint presentations
Start small. Work on Powerpoint presentations with an emphasis on graphics and visual transitions. You can elaborate on animations and logo creation as the following step.
Make your own site
You can simply choose a theme you like and build design skills through arranging each section.
Need help with your resume design? Check out our resume builder.
You can also go for an online portfolio. Apart from your LinkedIn profile, create a website that will tell the recruiter everything they need to know about you. Make it interactive by having different sections dedicated to your skills and experience. You can add photos, video and any other visual stimulant that is relevant.
It’s great to be motivated and know how things work in theory. What you need to be, however, is results-driven. This applies especially to industries like sales, where you need data to show your efforts on a consistent basis.
Results-driven people are:
|Organized||Think on their feet|
Being results-driven will elevate you above the competition. Employers need to know that their team will work hard towards reaching the established goals. There are many ways to show your results-driven personality and skills on your resume.
Use definitive time frames
Explain how quickly you achieved results and how long it took to complete an important project. Add numerical data to your resume. Do not simply say “met and exceeded the goal.” Use numbers to demonstrate your achievements.
Show how you helped others on your team improve, so that you could help the company faster. Include your hobbies that demonstrate your competitive spirit.
Are you a part of an after work sports team? Do you run marathons? Have you worked on a fundraising campaign? Make these experiences work for you.
How do you become more results-driven?
Set clear deadlines for yourself
Set clear time frames for the things you’d like to accomplish. Instead of saying “I’d like to have some interviews this week,” say: “I’d like to have three interviews completed by Friday.”
Being vague is your worst enemy when trying to accomplish a goal. Are you someone who works better under pressure? Then setting clear time frames will be especially helpful to you.
Hold yourself accountable
Once you establish the goals you’d like to reach and the deadlines, you will be able to hold yourself accountable. Be strict and reasonable. Evaluate the projects you take on and the time you allocate to finish them.
Make sure to look at the situation objectively and set realistic expectations for yourself. Don’t set impossible goals saying: “I’d like to get a new career in a week.” This will most likely fail, because finding a job that is the right fit takes a bit longer.
Do not procrastinate either. It is completely reasonable to land three interviews in one month, so aim for it with confidence. If you fall short of your goal, evaluate why that happened at the end of the month.
Does your resume need more work? Did you not spend enough time talking to recruiters and applying? Figure out what it is that you did wrong and fix it. Then start again. If you do manage to accomplish the goal you set for a number of interviews in a month, see what worked well.
Then continue to do it and move on to the next part of the task. This will help you become more results-driven.
Social media has become extremely prevalent. Though some positions do not require social media expertise, having skills in the area is a big advantage.
Being good at social media demonstrates:
|Adaptability to new trends||Good level of communication|
|Quick thinking||Good judgement|
|Analytical skills||Customer-service mindset|
Being proficient in social media will soon become a must in most industries. A company’s online image is crucial, regardless of whether it’s in finance, engineering, fashion or food and beverage.
How do you gain social media skills?
Make sure to follow the company that you would like to work for on social media and engage with their posts. This especially applies to LinkedIn.
Endorse others and ask for endorsements yourself. Add links and photos relevant to your past work experiences.
The major social media channels you should be proficient in are:
If you don’t want to post personal content on social media, pick a cause you care about.
This could be anything from helping women in Ghana build businesses or support a local environmental group contribute to efforts against climate change. Either way, get involved with an online campaign and be active.
Let your passion show through, regardless if it’s a personal hobby you’d like to blog about or support an established organization.
Create a Personal Brand
Employers no longer look at you as a simple worker hired to use a particular skill. Now, you have to be a brand.
What does that mean?
Just like any good brand (think Forbes, Coca-Cola, Tesla), you have to have a mission and something that distinguishes you from the rest. Let’s say that you are applying for a job at an airline.
You would then have to exhibit the same values the airline does. If they care about safety, customer service and have a passion for travel, you have to mirror that.
How do you mirror company values?
Post relevant content on Twitter. Comment on new safety regulations and share your customer service experiences. Upload your travel photos to demonstrate a passion for the industry.
You can showcase different personality traits by uploading videos online. If you’re into adrenaline sports, grab a GoPro and film yourself skydiving.
Not only will you have something fun to share with friends, but hiring managers will also see the side of you that is not afraid of challenges. Social media can be a very powerful tool, so make sure to use it to your advantage.
Often times we think that we may not qualify for a certain industry because we haven’t had direct exposure to it. Some struggle to craft appropriate resumes when they switch industries, thinking that all the skills they have built would be irrelevant.
For example, how would concierge experience possibly apply to finance? As it turns out, industries that look completely opposite at first glance may have a lot in common.
identify your transferable skills
A transferable skill is your ability to do something that can be applied to various fields.
Here are some examples of transferrable skills:
Customer Service - being able to listen actively and demonstrate empathy is super important in any industry that has to do with people. If you've worked as a sales rep or have done cold calls, this will also be useful when applying for a job as a personal banker. While the two may not seem related at first, you will be using your ability to connect with others in both cases.
Design and illustration - knowing how to design logos and create images is a great skill you can transfer from your position as a graphic designer to a new one as a marketing executive. Since you'll already be familiar with the creative process, you will be one step ahead of those who only have the business idea in mind.
Hospitality - working in hospitality makes you very attentive to detail and teaches you to strive to fulfill customers' needs at all cost. This level of dedication translates into you being a very hard worker in general, regardless of the industry. You can directly apply your hospitality knowledge to positions that require teamwork and leadership, or have to do with sales.
You should not be intimidated by the fact that you are completely switching industries or functions. You can still use your existing resume. The only thing you need to do is rework it and tailor to the new industry or job function.
In order to present the most suitable skills for each position you apply to, you have to spend time on research. You can do so by analyzing the job description.
Make sure to tailor your resume and skills set to each position. Reading the job description can help you identify what you can bring to the table. Make sure to hit as many of the nine major skill groups as you can.
Although some skills may not look like they are directly applicable to the industry you are applying for, they can still be a plus.
Having technical skills and being able to work with different types of software is always a benefit, even if you are applying for a customer-oriented job. Be sure to have a great online presence and don’t be shy of social media.
Establish yourself as a brand. Mirror the ideology and values of the company you are applying for on social media. Sharing the same ideals will make you a good match.