15 Essential Skills for Your Resume

building a resume with job skills

It can be hard to pick skills for your resume. This comprehensive list of job skills will help you pick resume skills that will interest an employer.

Explore this Guide:

 

It’s important to have a list of job skills on your resume. This will help employers know what qualifications and talents you can bring to the job.

 

The key to having a good list of skills on a resume is to have a short story in mind for each skill that provides a perfect and easy to remember example of how you have used each of these skills in the past.

 

What are Soft Skills?

 

Soft skills are intangible skills that can cross over between any job. They include skills that help employees get along with and work well with one another.

 

Soft skills include things like the ability to work well with others, communicate effectively, or resolve conflict.

 

When an employer asks about soft skills, they want to know what you will be like to work with as a person and whether you’ll be a good fit for their work environment.

 

What are Hard Skills?

 

Hard skills are tangible skills that are specific to a job. They include required skills that an employee will need in order to perform their job. Hard skills are also sometimes referred to as technical skills.

 

Hard skills are knowledge, skills, and abilities that a job requires an employee to have. This can be anything from knowing how to use Microsoft Excel to knowing how to operate heavy machinery. It all depends on what that job will require you to do.

 

How to Include Skills on a Resume

 

On your resume, it’s a good idea to have a skills section outlining all of the hard and soft skills you have. After all your prior experience and qualifications are listed in the experience section, it can be hard to find room for job skills on a resume.

 

Many resumes include this section at the bottom or in a small section on the right-hand side of the resume page.

 

Read, “How to Write a Resume” to learn even more about how to create the perfect resume.

 

Job skills on a resume in a section at the bottom of the page might look something like this:

 

Technical Skills:

Microsoft Excel, Word, Adobe, InDesign

 

Soft Skills:

Team player, adaptable, organized, excellent time management

 

Skills for resume can also be found on the side of a resume page might favor bullet points in order to help the section fit neatly on the side of the page.

 

Technical Skills:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Adobe
  • InDesign

 

Soft Skills:

  • Team player
  • Adaptable
  • Organized
  • Excellent time management

 

Now there is the question of what order should hard and soft skills for a resume come in?

 

Since an employer will want to see if you can successfully perform the job or not first, it’s a good idea to list your technical, hard skills first.

 

These are also often the required skills found in the job description meaning that they are the exact skill sets the hiring manager is looking for.

 

*Resume Tip: print out a copy of your resume for yourself to take to interviews. Somewhere on your personal copy write a note for each skill to help you remember a short story or example that shows you have this skill.

 

Read more about Job Interview Tips, how to answer common Job Interview Questions to brush up on your job interviewing skills, and tips on Writing a Cover Letter.

 

During the interview, you can use these notes to help illustrate your skills to the employer, help them remember you easier with short, memorable stories, and prove to them that you do indeed have the skills you’ve listed. You can also include mentions of these examples and anecdotes in your cover letters.

 

Giving concrete examples of your key skills will help the interview process go smoothly and help the hiring decision lean in your favor.

 

Skill #1: Technical Skills

 

The resume skills employers are going to be the most interested in are the ones that mean you can do the job.

 

Being able to work well with others is really important, but if the job position relies heavily on being able to use a specific program that you’ve never heard of before, then your teamwork skills won’t help you.

 

Technical skills for a resume might include knowing how to use certain software, knowing how to code, or project management.

 

Technical skills for a resume could also include knowing how to operate machinery you would be expected to handle at a job. This could be anything from printers and copiers to forklifts and backhoes.

 

Other jobs might require knowledge of how to gather and interpret data. This could also then require some mathematical skills. If a job requires you have an in-depth knowledge of a specific field or topic, that could also be listed under your technical qualifications and skills on a resume.

 

Skill #2: Analytical Skills

 

Analytical skills fall along the same lines as critical thinking and problem-solving. Many jobs require the ability to think critically, analyze information, and make decisions based on this information.

 

As a soft skill, analytical skills can also demonstrate that you know how to find patterns, brainstorm, investigate, find solutions, recognize problems, and be observant.

 

Skill #3: Interpersonal Skills

 

What are interpersonal skills? Interpersonal skills refer to your people skills or your skills in successfully, peacefully, and productively interacting and working with others.

 

Some important building blocks to interpersonal skills are communication, emotional intelligence, maturity, listening, patience, tact, conflict resolution, and persuasion, just to name a few.

 

Too many interpersonal skills to count go into being an amiable coworker that your fellow employees and employer will enjoy working with.

 

When brainstorming what interpersonal skills you have, think about what makes you a great person to work with. Maybe you’re a really good listener or maybe you can easily resolve conflicts.

 

Skill #4: Leadership Skills

 

There are many different ideas about what it means to be a leader. There are also different leadership styles to consider.

 

Democratic Leaders seek input from each team member before making a decision.

 

Autocratic Leaders do not seek input from team members, but instead make their decisions alone.

 

Laissez-Faire Leaders allow their team members to make their own decisions instead of making decisions for them.

 

Strategic Leaders try to keep many variables in mind when making decisions. They strategize for the best outcomes while considering employees, executives, and the company’s best interest.

 

Transformational Leaders like to push the company and employees outside of their comfort zones. They like to incorporate new, transformational ideas to help the company and its employees grow and succeed through innovation.

 

Transactional Leaders reward their employees for the work they do. They like to use incentives to help employees feel motivated to do their jobs well.

 

Coach-Style Leaders see all of their team members as individuals with individual strengths and weaknesses to consider. They like to focus on each member of a team one at a time in order to nurture each team member’s individual strengths.

 

Bureaucratic Leaders like to do everything by the book. They always adhere to company policy and traditional practices. They greatly emphasize the rules, guidelines, and tradition.

 

There are pros and cons to each leadership style and different industries and companies will have their own leadership style preferences.

 

Regardless of your leadership style, be confident. Your sense of confidence will have a profound effect on your coworkers. When you appear confident, your coworkers and managers are more likely to trust and follow your lead.

 

Skill #5: Communication Skills

 

Be a communicator. When you communicate well, you create a sense of harmony and competence in your team and in your office.

 

Good communication is a valuable job skill that should be developed no matter where you are on your career path. It’s also a resume skill that virtually any employer will be glad to see you have.

 

Don’t forget to work on both nonverbal and verbal forms of communication in the workplace.

 

Nonverbal Communication

 

Includes things like your body language and demeanor. You can practice good nonverbal communication with good posture and being an engaged listener.

 

Nonverbal communication can also include things like corresponding via email or messaging platforms. There is a form of workplace etiquette and professionalism for each type of nonverbal communication that you want to have.

 

Verbal Communication

 

Verbal communication includes things like talking person-to-person, talking on the phone, or talking via virtual video calls.

 

Each industry and workplace will have an etiquette code to follow for verbal forms of communication. Here are a few tips on how to be a good communicator:

  • Be respectful
  • Be relevant
  • Be specific
  • Be focused

 

Skill #6: Problem Solving Skills

 

Be a problem solver. Employers look for workers who can work to solve all kinds of problems across job lines and be an active participant in the running of the business.

 

When you are willing to learn new expertise and solve problems that arise, you increase your level of knowledge and your value to the company.

 

The easiest way to solve almost any problem is to take the following steps:

 

Step 1: Understand the Problem

 

You can do this by defining the problem, listing all the obstacles and related variables, and defining the root cause of the problem.

 

Understand the whole picture so you aren’t missing any important details that may be the key to the solution.

 

Step 2: Reverse Engineer the Problem

 

Sometimes deconstructing the problem will help you find the root cause, which may be the key to the solution.

 

Also, thinking about things backward can give the new perspective necessary to see the solution.

 

Step 3: Communicate with the Team

 

There will probably be people and other departments that you’ll need to communicate with in order to understand the problem completely.

 

The knowledge these other people have could be the missing link you need to formulate the entire solution.

 

Skill #7: Teamwork

 

Be a team player! In almost every work environment you will have to work with others to some degree.

 

Being good at teamwork doesn’t necessarily come naturally either. That’s why it’s a skill for your resume that you can work on developing with practice and patience.

 

Employers want to create a productive and peaceful work environment where coworkers not only get along, but work well together. So when you demonstrate your ability to work with a team, you increase your attractiveness as an employee.

 

Working well with others also creates a sense of unity and helps productivity in the workplace.

 

Skill #8: Pressure and Stress Management

 

Work well under pressure. Today’s workplace can be full of stressors. When you develop a sense of calm amongst the chaos, you exponentially increase your ability to rise in the workplace.

 

There are some other basic stress-reducing practices you can use to handle the pressure and destress each day:

 

Get More Sleep

 

At the very least you need to be getting a full eight hours of sleep each night, maybe a little more. When you’re stressed you also need more sleep than normal to recuperate.

 

You’ll want to also make sure you are getting quality sleep by using the following tips:

  • Make your room cold.
  • Have plenty of blankets.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time.
  • Give yourself an extra half hour of falling asleep and waking up time.
  • Unwind before bed, relax, meditate, or drink some cold water.

 

Eat Healthy

 

Make sure you are eating healthy. Sometimes when you’re stressed you can lose your appetite, while other people’s response to stress is an increase in appetite.

 

You have to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to keep up and keep running during times of sickness or stress. You have to give your insides a fighting chance by providing the right fuels.

 

Exercise

 

Exercise is a good natural medicine for stress that can help increase happy hormones and release tension after a stressful day.

 

The average person needs about 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Use those 30 minutes to spend some time on yourself doing physical activities you love.

 

Prevent Burnout

 

What is job burnout? Job burnout is when the stress from a job becomes overpowering and causes extreme mental and physical fatigue.

 

Getting job burnout can greatly impact your ability to do your job well. It can also adversely impact your personal life and happiness.

 

Read more about what job burnout is and How to Prevent Job Burnout.

 

There are a lot of things you can do to prevent and treat burnout, but one thing that helps is to change things up. Changing your routines or taking a much needed vacation can be just the medicine you need to reach full capacity again.

 

Skill #9: How to Give Feedback

 

Sometimes your job will require you to give feedback to others. Knowing how to give and receive feedback effectively is an essential skill for your resume.

 

The whole point of giving feedback is that you want to see something improve. Whether it’s actions, an individual employee, or a project, you are simply invested in making something the best it can be. So your feedback needs to be helpful, effective, and clear.

 

Here are 4 quick steps to make sure you don’t leave someone more confused by your feedback, rather than giving them the insight and direction you intended.

 

What IS Working

 

First, acknowledge what is working. This isn’t just to make people feel good about what they are doing, or soften the blow of what you don’t like, though it can do these things too and that’s an added bonus.

 

But if people don’t know what is working then they might end up changing things they shouldn’t. Make sure they also know what is working.

 

What’s NOT Working

 

Then, talk about what isn’t working. This part of giving feedback is rather obvious. But remember to not let yourself make the interaction overly emotional or personal while giving feedback about what isn’t working.

 

Be Clear and Specific

 

Vague criticism is not helpful criticism. A subordinate or team member can’t improve if you are too ambiguous in an attempt to not hurt feelings.

 

For example, if a team member is working on a design, don’t just say, “It could be better.” Instead, figure out what specifically about it isn’t working. Is it the color? Is it the image they chose? Is it the font style? Be as specific as you can about what is and isn’t working.

 

Help Implement Your Feedback

 

Once you’ve figured out what exactly isn’t working you can become even more specific by suggesting solutions to their problem. So don’t stop at “the color isn’t working,” but help think of what could work.

 

Maybe the color needs to be lighter, or darker, or a different color altogether. In any case, don’t leave them to brainstorm solutions all alone. Giving suggestions can also help further solidify their understanding of what insights your criticism is trying to give.

 

Skill #10: How to Receive Feedback

 

In any workplace, you are going to receive feedback about your work and performance. Here are a few steps to follow anytime you are receiving criticism:

 

Listen

 

A lot of times, when receiving criticism about something we’ve worked on, our initial gut reaction is to talk, to explain ourselves, to help them see what we were seeing, or to defend our work and therefore ourselves.

 

But when you are talking you are missing out on the feedback the other person could be giving if you let them have the floor.

 

It may help to look at your work not as YOUR work, but as THE work. Separate your work from yourself and allow it to be its own entity that you and the critic are both just working on together.

 

Wait Until the End to Ask Questions

 

Waiting until you know they are finished to ask questions is the best way to make sure you don’t miss anything.

 

Asking questions will also help you understand their feedback more. Feedback is only helpful if you have a clear understanding of it, so don’t be afraid to ask questions at the appropriate time.

 

Turn Negatives to Positives!

 

Sometimes criticism isn’t so constructive. Other times even constructive criticism can just come with a lot of negatives.

 

If the feedback is poorly given or includes a lot of negatives, focus on what good you can take from it to be better.

 

Thank the Critic

 

Make a habit of thanking your critics for their feedback. Even if it was poorly given, thanking them can help them relax and realize they don’t need to be hostile to get through to you.

 

Implement the Feedback

 

Make a plan going forward of how you will implement the feedback. It was meant for your benefit so take full advantage! This is where you take the wheel back again and start driving forward.

 

Skill #11: Time Management

 

Manage your time well. You can be the best employee in the world, but if you constantly miss deadlines due to poor time management, you undercut yourself.

 

Learn how to allocate your time for each task wisely to increase your marketability. Time management skills will not only help you be more productive, but it will also help you take care of yourself better.

 

If you need a starting point for learning to better manage your time, start with assigning a “planning day” each week. On your designated planning day, lay out the following plans:

  • plan your month
  • plan your week
  • plan your weekend
  • plan your day

 

There are also lots of time management tools available that can help you have what you need to easily and effectively manage your time and your work.

 

Popular Time Management Tools:

  • Monday.com is great for managing team jobs.
  • Toggl is great for keeping track of how you use your time.
  • Google or Microsoft Tasks are great for making and organizing your to-do lists.
  • Bullet journals are a great agenda for the creative spirit or if you want to organize a lot of different things in one place.
  • Trello is a great app if you like to organize with post-it notes.
  • Mind Meister is a great tool if you like to organize in a map or thought-web form.
  • Hard copy calendars are great for a big picture visual.
  • White boards are also great for a big picture visual.

 

Skill #12: Organization

 

Effective organization gives you more control of your work and your life. If your tasks are all planned out in doable chunks then you can tackle your workload better and stress about it less.

 

For instance, you’ll know you don’t need to worry about task B today because you have plenty of time allotted on Thursday to tackle that item.

 

Also, try keeping a list of all the things you’ve finished so you can have an accumulating list of accomplishments to remind you of how productive you’ve been.

 

Skill #13: Adaptability

 

Be adaptable. The workplace today is changing rapidly. Rather than being angry and resistant to changes, develop flexibility.

 

Flexibility is a winning strategy in today’s job market. It is also important to prioritize and be flexible with your time in order to take care of your own well-being, while still being productive.

 

Skill #14: Good Work Ethic

 

Develop a strong work ethic. Work ethic can encapsulate a lot of different things. Ultimately work ethic is the idea that hard work and quality work are important.

 

If you have a good work ethic that means that you put in good, valuable, high-quality work and that you care about the kind of work you are doing. It also encompasses how you carry yourself in the workplace.

 

Here are some of the biggest components of what it means to have a good work ethic:

  • Productivity
  • Efficiency
  • Quality work
  • Dependable

 

Skill #15: Positive Attitude

 

Develop a positive attitude. Nothing is less attractive than someone who doesn’t want to be on the job. Whether you hate or love your job, develop gratitude and a positive attitude to keep morale up!

 

Along with having an overall positive attitude become invested in your work. It is yours to do and how you do it and your attitude toward it, will reflect you more than it reflects your job.

 

In Conclusion,

 

Employers are looking for a lot of things when interviewing new employees. You don’t have to list every single one of these top skills on your resume either.

 

Just list a few of these key job skills along with some solid examples to show you have these skills and you’ll be all set.


Sources


The Balance Careers. “The Best Job Skills to Include on Your Resume,” by Alison Doyle.

Indeed Career Guide. “Leadership Skills: Definitions and Examples.”

HubSpot. “The 8 Most Common Leadership Styles & How to Find Your Own,” by Braden Becker.

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