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Adding Hard Skills To Your Resume

Effectively displaying relevant hard skills on your resume convinces potential employers that you have what it takes to excel in the role and contribute to the company’s success.

Hard skills are generally job-specific and require intentional training, so employers are extremely interested in seeing what you have. Therefore, give them your best!

This way, you can increase your chances of being noticed and shortlisted for interviews.

With this in mind, this guide will cover:

  • What hard skills are and how they differ from soft skills.
  • 10 important hard skills for your resume in 2023.
  • Hard skills examples for top jobs.
  • Tips for how to list hard skills on your resume.
  • Answers to common questions about hard skills.

Having trouble picking and presenting hard skills on your resume? Our user-friendly Resume Builder can guide you through the process and connect you with premium resume templates and examples for your line of work.

What Are Hard Skills?

Hard skills are specific, tangible abilities that are acquired through formal education, training, and hands-on experience. They are easily quantifiable, can be assessed through tests and exams, and are directly related to a particular job or task.

Examples of hard skills include:

  • Foreign languages.
  • Project management software programs.
  • Programming languages.
  • Photo and video editing.
  • Balance sheet management.
  • Construction blueprint production.
personal-banker-resume-example

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

To fully understand what hard skills are, it’s worth comparing them to soft skills.

Hard skills are concrete, teachable, and measurable, while soft skills are more subjective and difficult to measure. Soft skills include personal attributes and interpersonal abilities like communication, critical thinking, leadership, adaptability, and time management – all qualities that are valuable in everyday interactions and required in most professional settings.

Although soft skills are also critical for success, this guide focuses exclusively on hard skills and how to make them shine on your resume.

Ace Your Skills Section With Our Resume Builder

Make your hard skills stand out on your resume with the help of our Resume Builder. Simply pick a resume template, fill in your information, and get content suggestions written by experts for every section of your document.

How to Display Hard Skills (With Examples)

You might have all the right hard skills for a particular job, but your chances of securing an interview are low if you don’t display them effectively on your resume.

Follow the steps below to ensure you call attention to your hard skills and make an impact on a hiring manager.

1) Identify job-relevant hard skills.

You might have 50+ hard skills to boast about, but that doesn’t mean you should include them all in your application. The best hard skills to put on your resume will always be the ones listed in the job posting.

So, study the job description carefully and write a list of all the hard skills mentioned as requirements. Now underline the competencies on this list that you possess. You should only profile these skills in your resume or CV.

Also, take note of the wording used to describe each skill in the job ad. It’s important to use the same phrasing when highlighting hard skills in your resume. By incorporating these keywords in your document, you’ll prove that you’re a strong match for the job and ensure that your resume is ranked well by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

2) Include hard skills in your resume summary or objective.

A summary or objective statement is a concise paragraph that sits at the top of your resume and provides a compelling overview of your qualifications. While a summary focuses on how your credentials align with the job requirements, an objective also touches on your career goals and what you hope to achieve in the role.

This statement serves to entice employers to continue reading the rest of your resume. So it’s a good place to spotlight two or three of your most pertinent hard skills as hiring managers are bound to notice them here.

Consider this summary statement for a software engineer from one of our resume examples:

“Software engineer with over five years of experience in Microservice/API development with Java, Spring Boot, and Spring Cloud. Solid foundation in data structures and algorithms. Adept at quickly solving bugs and errors to speed up processes.”

3) Back up your hard skills with accomplishments under work experience.

In your resume’s work history section, you have the unique opportunity to showcase how you applied your hard skills in past jobs to drive positive outcomes. This sort of evidence of your skills and level of proficiency in them holds much more weight than a simple list.

Below each job title, include a few bullet points that illustrate how you drew on specific skills to achieve a result and add measurable value to your employer. Each skill should be linked to an accomplishment, quantified with data, percentages, and metrics wherever possible to show tangible impact.

Here are a few examples of how this could be done for three different hard skills:

Hard skill: Financial modeling

  • Developed a comprehensive financial model for a startup, facilitating accurate forecasting, leading to a successful funding round of $2 million.
  • Leveraged advanced financial modeling techniques to analyze investment opportunities, supporting the identification of high-yield projects and resulting in an increase in portfolio returns of 17% over six months.

 

Hard skill: Proofreading

  • Conducted thorough proofreading and editing of 200+ written materials, ensuring 100% accuracy and adherence to style guidelines.
  • Improved overall document quality by implementing a streamlined proofreading process, leading to a 30% decrease in revision requests during a high-volume project.

 

Hard skill: Curriculum development (teaching)

  • Designed and developed a new curriculum for an advanced math course, resulting in a 27% increase in student engagement and a 15% improvement in test scores.
  • Led a team of 5 educators in creating a comprehensive art theory curriculum that received 95% positive feedback from students during the academic year.

 

4) List key competencies in a skills section.

Every resume should include a dedicated skills section – an obvious place to feature your strongest hard skills. List six to eight of your most relevant skills using bullet points so that they can quickly and easily be scanned by hiring managers.

You can either create one general skills section that includes both hard and soft skills or divide it into subsections that highlight different skill categories.

For an office assistant, a simple skills section might look like this:

SKILLS

  • Bookkeeping
  • Sage 50
  • Filing and data archiving
  • Spreadsheet management
  • Scheduling
  • Email handling
  • Inventory management
  • Problem-solving

5) Substantiate your hard skills with certifications.

Certifications from reputable institutions provide external validation of your expertise and abilities in a particular area. They also validate that your knowledge meets a certain standard.

As a result, listing relevant certifications is a powerful way to prove that you have certain hard skills. If you only have one or two certifications to your name, you can list them under your resume’s education section. If you have several relevant credentials, include them under a separate “Certifications” section.

Top 10 Hard Skills For Your Resume

Below are 10 hard skills that are highly sought after in the current job market. While many of them were once considered niche, nowadays professionals across several fields are expected to have at least some level of proficiency in them.

  • Data visualization: As the world becomes increasingly data-driven, the ability to visualize data in the form of a graph or chart grows in importance. Data visualization skills help to uncover key trends and actionable insights to aid in decision-making.

  • Quality control: Being skilled in quality control means you can play a crucial role in ensuring products, services, and processes meet specific standards and requirements. Doing so helps to improve brand reputation, boost customer satisfaction and contribute to overall business success.

  • Programming: Skills in programming and coding, including knowledge of Python, Java, C++, and C#, help to fuel technology advancement and drive innovation. They also empower problem-solving and improve the efficiency of operations by automating processes.

  • Video editing: Today, most businesses communicate with customers and employees through the medium of video. As a result, professionals who are familiar with video editing software and techniques are invaluable.

  • Agile project management: The modern business needs to respond quickly to change and achieve project success in very competitive environments. Agile skills are critical because they enable adaptability, collaboration, and faster delivery of high-quality results.

  • Cybersecurity literacy: In the digital age, cyberattacks are a constant threat. Employers, therefore, value professionals who understand potential risks and know how to implement best practices to protect sensitive data and company infrastructure.

  • UI/UX design: With so many businesses going online, user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design skills are in demand because these abilities directly impact the success of digital products and services. Good UX/UI design boosts user satisfaction, increases adoption rates, and ultimately drives business growth.

  • Talent management: Professionals with strong talent management skills can add a lot of value to employers by helping organizations attract, develop, and retain top talent in a competitive job market. This in turn improves employee engagement, productivity, and innovation, leading to better business outcomes.

  • CRM software proficiency: Many organizations today use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to manage customer interactions, sales processes, and marketing campaigns. Needless to say, those who are skilled in CRM solutions are a real asset to most businesses, being perfectly positioned to boost business growth and revenue.

  • Data analysis: With the ever-increasing volume and complexity of data generated by companies today, individuals with data analysis skills are sought after in many different fields because they can make sense of it all. This skill set empowers professionals to decipher valuable information, identify opportunities and solve key business problems.

Hard Skills Examples for Top Jobs

As hard skills are generally quite specific, the type of work you do will determine the core competencies you need to highlight on your resume. Here are ten fast-growing professions and a look at some of the hard skills that are most valued in these occupations.

Nurse Practitioner

A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who provides comprehensive healthcare services to patients, often in collaboration with physicians. Duties include diagnosing medical conditions, prescribing medications, performing exams, and interpreting diagnostic tests.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Diagnostic screenings
  • Treatment plan development
  • Medical record-keeping
  • History taking
  • Pre-operative assessments
  • Chemotherapy administration
  • Wound care
  • Medication prescription
  • Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
  • Patient counseling

Data Analyst

Data analysts collect, process and interpret data to derive valuable insights and support informed decision-making. They must be proficient in data manipulation and have knowledge of various programming languages to thrive in this profession.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Data cleaning and preprocessing
  • Process mapping
  • SQL querying
  • Statistical analysis
  • Data visualization (Tableau, Microsoft Power BI)
  • Python/R
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Data warehousing
  • Machine learning
  • Data mining

Security Engineer

Acting as the gatekeepers of sensitive data, security engineers work to protect a company’s IT infrastructure and systems from potential attacks. They need the skills to identify security weaknesses, implement cybersecurity best practices, and respond promptly and effectively to breaches.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Vulnerability assessment
  • Threat detection
  • Security auditing and compliance
  • Penetration testing
  • Encryption and cryptography
  • Identity and access management (IAM)
  • Incident response
  • Security architecture design
  • Wireshark
  • Data loss prevention (DLP) software

Product Manager

A product manager is tasked with overseeing the development and lifecycle of a product from conception to launch. Their goal is to deliver successful products that meet customer needs and business objectives.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Market research
  • Trend analysis
  • Agile project management
  • Data analysis
  • Strategy development
  • Competitive analysis
  • UX design
  • Product pricing
  • Prototyping
  • Product launch strategies

Real Estate Broker

An important figure in the real estate industry, a broker plays a key role in facilitating property transactions between buyers and sellers. This professional must have an in-depth understanding of the real estate market and be able to give clients sound advice throughout the buying or selling journey.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Housing market monitoring
  • Rental management
  • Property valuation
  • Financial analysis
  • Financing requirements knowledge
  • Contract preparation and management
  • Marketing strategy development
  • CRM software proficiency
  • Home tours
  • Multiple listing service (MLS) knowledge

Web Designer

Web designers specialize in creating visually appealing, user-friendly websites. A good grasp of design principles is required for this job, along with strong coding skills.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator
  • Wireframing
  • HTML/CSS
  • Responsive design
  • UX/UI design
  • Typography
  • WordPress
  • Front-end web development frameworks knowledge
  • Web optimization
  • Animation and motion graphics

Digital Marketing Manager

In the marketing world, a digital marketing manager is responsible for developing and executing online strategies to promote a brand, product, or service. They must be proficient in creating, managing, and optimizing campaigns across a range of platforms using a variety of different tools.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Paid search campaigns
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • A/B testing
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • Data analysis
  • Google Analytics
  • Web-based reporting
  • Data privacy and compliance

Environmental Engineer

Environmental engineers play a critical role in the context of climate change, helping to develop solutions to environmental challenges and promote sustainability. Among many other duties, these engineering professionals design projects and technologies that protect natural resources and public health.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
  • Air pollution control
  • Energy modeling
  • Hazardous waste remediation
  • Water quality analysis
  • Regulation compliance
  • Technical documentation
  • Sustainable design
  • Knowledge of green technologies
  • Data analysis

Accountant

Without accountants, organizations and individuals would find it difficult to monitor the status of their financial health. These professionals help to ensure that companies are managing their money carefully by overseeing financial records and ensuring compliance with accounting principles.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Mathematics
  • Bookkeeping
  • Financial reporting
  • QuickBooks
  • SAP software
  • Budgeting
  • Account reconciliation
  • Tax preparation and audits
  • Forecasting
  • Regulatory compliance

Counselors

Safeguarding mental health is the domain of qualified counselors. These professionals use their active listening skills and knowledge of therapeutic techniques to provide mental and emotional support to people dealing with social or psychological challenges.

Top hard skills for a resume:

  • Case management
  • Intervention planning
  • Assessment and diagnosis
  • Crisis counseling
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Group sessions
  • Record-keeping
  • Patient scheduling
  • TherapyNotes

Tips For Including Hard Skills On Your Resume

Keep the following skills-related advice in mind when writing your resume or CV:

Only feature hard skills that are 100% relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Always include a combination of hard and soft skills to show you’re a well-rounded professional.
Incorporate keywords and technical terms from the job description when describing your hard skills to meet ATS criteria.
Be as specific as possible when presenting your hard skills – mention the names of tools, software, and technologies you’re proficient in.
Place your most relevant and impressive hard skills near the top of your resume to capture attention quickly.
If you have published work, awards, or professional affiliations that back up your hard skills, create separate sections in your CV to list these details (there’s space for these additional sections in a CV, but not a resume).

Key Takeaways

  • Hard skills are specific, measurable job-related capabilities developed through studies, training, or experience.
  • Hard skills differ from soft skills in that the latter are subjective personal traits and abilities that are valuable in any setting.
  • Top hard skills for 2023 include data visualization, video editing, and Agile project management.
  • Your resume summary, skills list, and work history section are the best places to showcase your hard skills.
  • Listing skills is not enough; you must demonstrate how you’ve used them to achieve quantifiable results.
  • Featuring relevant certifications is a good way to substantiate your expertise.
Pro Tip:

A resume builder makes incorporating hard skills in your resume easier by offering job-specific suggestions for every section.

Hard Skills FAQ

Updated: December 14, 2023

Hard skills are measurable, job-specific technical abilities acquired through training, education, and experience. On the other hand, soft skills are non-technical personal traits and interpersonal attributes that are important for collaboration and interactions in the workplace.

Hard skills examples include:

  • Data analysis

  • Foreign language proficiency (Italian, Spanish, etc.)

  • Welding

  • Bookkeeping

  • Medical history taking

Soft skill examples include:

  • Communication 

  • Teamwork

  • Critical thinking

  • Attention to detail

  • Time management

No. It’s important to include a good mix of hard and soft skills on your resume to show that you’re a well-rounded individual. Employers value soft skills as much as they do technical abilities.

You want to show that you can excel at job-specific tasks and work well as part of a team. Remember, many hard skills today might be replaced by automation in the future. Soft skills are, therefore, what might set you apart from peers one day.

Hard skills are measurable because they are specific learned abilities that can be objectively assessed and tested. There are often clear criteria against which proficiency in a hard skill can be evaluated.

For example, an employer could gauge a candidate’s programming skills by giving them a test to complete or copywriting abilities by requesting work samples. Degrees, licenses, and certifications also serve as tangible evidence of competence in a particular skill area.

Incorporate two or three of your most impressive hard skills in your resume summary or objective statement. You should also feature six to eight of your strongest and most relevant skills in a separate skills section, making it easy for hiring managers to quickly identify your expertise. 

Finally, it’s a good idea to provide examples of how you’ve applied these skills to solve problems and achieve results. You can do this in your work history section by including measurable accomplishments tied to your skills, quantified with numbers and data whenever possible. 

Find more information about how to display hard skills on your resume higher up on this page.

Alongside professionally designed built-in templates, a resume builder also provides job-specific content suggestions and writing tips for every section of your resume.

That means if you’re struggling to think of relevant hard skills to include, or if you’re not sure how to word or display them, you can rely on prompts and recommendations from the builder. In this way, this tool helps you to quickly and efficiently create a first-class resume that makes your skills shine.

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Conor McMahon, CPRW
Conor McMahon, CPRW
Content Writer

Conor is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) for Hloom.com. He has over three years of professional writing experience as well as experience in professional development training. As a member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers & Career Coaches (PARWCC) Conor has written on career development topics ranging from resume and cover letter best practices, employer/employee communication, job seeking help, and more. He received his degree in Music Industry at Northeastern University and plays guitar in his free time.

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