Unsure about what skills to include in your resume? We’ve made it easy for you with our complete resume skills guide! You’ll learn about the different types of skills and how to identify and include the right ones on your resume for the job you are seeking. Plus, you can browse our list of 40+ top resume skills.
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This list of top hard and soft skills for 2021 will be useful to reference when writing your resume. Remember to pick the skills that best describe your abilities and are relevant to your job or industry.
The way you include your skills on your resume says a lot about their importance. Each resume format has its way of organizing skills that helps show each candidate’s best strengths while playing down any weaknesses.
The chronological format focuses on your work history; you’ll only include six to eight bulleted skills in your skills section. However, the skills section sits in the top half of the page, which will put your skills front and center for recruiters to see. Make sure you include a mix of skills that convey you’re a well-rounded candidate.
The functional format is commonly known as the skills-based resume. With this format, you focus on the skills you’ve gained in your professional or educational experiences instead of a shortlist of job titles that don’t accurately showcase all your knowledge and abilities. You’ll have two or three sections devoted to skills and a minimized work history.
In the case of combination formats, these resumes balance your work history and skills. With this format, you can have more than one section devoted to skills: the Relevant Skills section, which includes specific skills needed to perform the job, and a general Skills section, where you add the rest of your complementary skills.
Resume skills are organized into three categories: soft, hard and technical skills. Having all three sets of skills on your resume shows employers you’re a well-rounded candidate.
Soft skills are skills that describe the way you work regardless of the job or industry. Employers look for candidates with soft skills because they not only get the task done, they get it done efficiently. Some soft skills include:
Hard skills are the skills specifically related to a job or industry. You learn them through your education, training or practice. When listing hard skills, it’s essential to choose the ones most relevant to the job. A few examples are:
Technical skills refer to abilities related to technology. They are not exclusive to any single job and can be useful across industries. A few examples of technical skills are:
Customer service skills:
Data analysis skills:
Computer programming skills:
If you’re changing careers or aiming for a promotion at your current job, you’ll benefit from highlighting transferable skills on your resume. These are skills you can put to good use from one industry to another.
With the considerable job market shifts in 2020, many workers will need to change jobs or even industries. You’ll find some examples of potentially transferable skills in the following lists:
Collaborative skills:Whether you’re going from retail to a call center or from finance to tech, collaboration is an essential part of all job industries.
Management skills:A good manager has to be a great communicator, patient, a critical thinker, and a smart delegator, regardless of the size of his team or the type of industry.
Now that you understand the importance of all the types of skills you can include in your resume, reference this guide to make sure you tick off everything you need to do for a well-written resume skills section.
Step 1: Identify the right skills for the job.
Make a list of all the hard, soft and technical skills you possess and underline the ones you need to perform the job efficiently. If you have any random skills that don’t appear relevant, determine if they could develop into transferable skills for your new job.
Step 2: Find skills the company values.
Research the job posting and the company, and highlight the keywords that stand out the most. Make sure you include skills that the employer is specifically requesting. Recruiters will be on the lookout for those keywords, and applicant tracking systems will flag your resume as rich in keywords, meaning you’ll surely pass to the second round.
Step 3: Include skills in your work experience.
Maximize your resume by adding a few more skills to your work history. When describing your accomplishments, phrase them to show you have mastered your skills. For example, if you’re a medical assistant and you want to include “proficiency in CPOE” as a skill, show how you executed that skill:
Exhibited proficiency in CPOE by entering more than 1,500 lab tests for medical patients every week.”
Step 4: Organize the skills section.
Whether you chose the chronological, combination or functional format, you should always have at least one skills section with six to eight skills. The combination format allows you to include other skills sections sorted by relevance to the job. Meanwhile, the functional resume is characterized by its deep dive into how you executed each of your professional skills.
Hiring managers commonly ask interviewees what their top three skills are. Formulate the perfect answer by identifying three of the most important skills you have. Make sure they’re listed in the job description.
You can categorize them into one hard skill, one soft skill and one technical skill for bonus points. Prepare examples of how you executed those skills, and there’s your perfect answer.
Employers frequently ask about your strengths and weaknesses in job interviews to understand how you can excel and grow inside the company. Try turning this question around by establishing a skill you plan to develop to strengthen any of your weaknesses.
You should include between six to eight skills in your resume. This number of skills gives employers a complete picture of your skill set without overwhelming them with a list that’s too long.
You can also add a few skills throughout your work history; for example, if you were applying for an office manager position, you could say:
We always advise listing the right mix of soft, hard and technical skills in your resume, but you don’t need to categorize them as such on your actual resume. You’ll include all of your skills in a section called Skills, which appears on all resume formats.