Human Resources Skills List and Examples

For Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews

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Generally, human resources refer to the management of all aspects of employment, from hiring to employee compensation to labor law to dealing with firings and retirement. Jobs in human resources include HR specialists, HR managers, training managers, recruiters, and more.

Below is a list of the top five most important human resources skills, as well as a longer list of other HR skills employers seek in job candidates. Develop these skills and emphasize them in job applications, resumes, cover letters and interviews.

The closer a match your credentials are to what the employer is looking for, the better your chances of getting hired.

How to Use Skills Lists

You can use these skills lists throughout your job search process. Firstly, you can use these words in your resume. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords.

Secondly, you can use these in your cover letter. In the body of your letter, you can mention one or two of these skills, and give a specific example of a time when you demonstrated each skill at work.

Finally, you can use these skill words in your interview. Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top five skills listed here.

Each job will require different skills and experiences, so make sure you read the job description carefully and focus on the skills listed by the employer.

Also, review our lists of skills listed by job and type of skill.

Top Five Human Resources Skills

 © The Balance, 2018

Communication is a critical soft skill for people working in human resources. You will have to communicate effectively with people across an organization, from entry-level employees to the CEO. You have to be able to explain verbally and in writing any and all information related to company policy. Often, people in human resources have to conduct interviews, give presentations, and lead meditations. All of these take strong communication skills.

Being a good communicator also means being a good listener. In human resources, you need to listen carefully to the questions and concerns of everyone in the organization.

Conflict Management
Employees in human resources help solve a variety of work conflicts, whether they are between two colleagues or an employee and his or her employer. HR staff needs skills in negotiation and mediation. They need to patiently listen to both sides and resolve the issue in a respectful and appropriate way.

Decision Making
HR employees make lots of decisions for a company, ranging from whom to hire to how to resolve a dispute between employees. Therefore, it is important that they are critical thinkers who can weigh the pros and cons of an event and then make a decision.

HR employees handle lots of personal, sensitive information about a company and its employees. You need to be discrete, only sharing this information with people when it is appropriate. You also need to be able to make sure both employers and employees are following regulations, and be vocal when those regulations are ignored.

Most human resources employees have to keep track of numerous records and files related to each employee. They handle lots of paperwork related to hiring, firing, and various employee benefits. Therefore, HR employees must be able to keep this information organized and accessible.

They also need to have great attention to detail, filling out important paperwork diligently.

Many HR workers also attend and even run various meetings with employers, employees, and job candidates. They, therefore, need to keep their schedules organized, so that they can keep track of all these meetings.

Human Resources Skills

A - G

  • Administration
  • Affirmative Action
  • Applicant Screening
  • Applicant Tracking Systems
  • Analysis
  • Analyzing Legal Issues in Human Resources
  • Applying Ethical Standards to Workforce Management 
  • Applying Social Science Theories to Workplace Issues
  • Applying Strategies for Enhancing Employee Relations
  • Approaches to Cultivating Workplace Diversity
  • Assessing Job Candidates
  • Assessing the Needs of Employees for Training
  • Attention to Detail
  • Background Checks
  • Balancing Concern for Individual Workers and Organizational Interests
  • Benefits
  • Candidate Search
  • Candidate Sourcing
  • Change Management
  • Character Judgment
  • Coaching
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Company Policies
  • Comparable Worth
  • Compensation
  • Compliance
  • Computer
  • Confidentiality
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Conflict Management
  • Creating Relationships
  • Customer Service
  • Data Analysis
  • Detail Oriented
  • Development
  • Decision Making
  • Developing Performance Appraisal Forms and Processes
  • Developing Strategies for Recruiting Workers
  • Developing Training Models
  • Devising Employee Selection Criteria
  • Devising Research Models to Study HR Issues
  • Discretion
  • Empathy
  • Employee Benefits
  • Employee Development
  • Employee Engagement
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Employee Relations
  • Employee Rights
  • Employee Sourcing
  • Employment Law
  • Employer Rights
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance
  • Ethical
  • Evaluations
  • Evaluating Information Systems for Human Resources
  • Evaluating Models for Compensating Employees
  • Facilitating Group Discussions
  • Fair Labor Standards
  • Federal Laws
  • Handling Constructive Criticism
  • Human Resource Planning

H – M

  • Health and benefit plans
  • Health Regulations
  • Hiring
  • Humor
  • Integrity
  • Interpersonal
  • Interviewing
  • Job Descriptions
  • Job Postings
  • Judgment
  • Labor Laws
  • Labor Relations
  • Labor Specialization
  • Leadership
  • Local Laws
  • Listening
  • Listing
  • Management
  • Marketing Organizations to Prospective Employees
  • Measuring HR Outcomes
  • Microsoft Office
  • Motivation
  • Multitasking

N - S

  • Negotiation
  • Networking
  • New Hire Paperwork
  • Onboarding
  • Oral Communication
  • Orientation
  • Organization
  • Payroll
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Performance Management
  • Placement Management
  • Pre-employment Screening
  • Problem Solving
  • Presentation
  • Quantitative Analysis of Research data
  • Qualitative Analysis of Research data
  • Recruiting
  • Reference Checking
  • Reporting
  • Scheduling
  • Screening
  • Selecting
  • Self-Confidence
  • Social Media
  • Social Recruiting
  • Speaking
  • Strategies for Addressing Performance Problems
  • State laws
  • Statutory Compliance
  • Statistics

T - Z