The Best Job Skills to Put on Your Resume

Set of business people
Savaryn / Getty Images

What are the best job skills to include on your resume? Which skill set will help you get hired? Do you know the difference between hard skills and soft skills? How can you share your skills, expertise, and accomplishments with prospective employers?

As well as providing a history of your experience, your resume is the perfect place to highlight your skills, strengths, and abilities.

Different Types of Skills

When you're adding skills to your resume or reviewing the skills required for a job you're interested in, there are two types of skills that are relevant. 

  • Soft skills are the skills that apply to every job. These are your people skills—interpersonal skills, communication skills, and other qualities that enable you to be successful in the workplace.
  • Hard skills are the qualifications required to do the job. For example, computer skills, administrative skills, or customer service skills. Find out more about the difference between hard and soft skills.

An increasing number of jobs require hybrid skills, which are a combination of soft and technical skills. Candidates with these skills are very competitive and can boost their earning power.

Top Skills Employers Want

There are some skills that are applicable to almost every job and type of company. If you've got these general skills, you'll enhance your marketability. Review these lists of the most in-demand skills employers seek.

Best Job Skills to Put on Your Resume

Not sure which skills to include on your resume? Which skills can best help you market your credentials?

The employer's job posting is a great guide for what employers want to see in candidates.

Spend a few minutes decoding the job ad, then tailor your resume to fit the job requirements. As well as job-specific skills, there are several much-prized general skills that nearly every employer wants—you can browse these skills below, as well as reviewing skills by category. 

Here are examples of the top skills employers look for when evaluating job applicants, as well as recommendations about the best skills you should put on your own unique resume to help you get hired.

Skills Listed By Job

As well as highlighting the general skills you'll need for most jobs, it's important to show employers that you have the job-specific skills required for success in the workplace. Review this list of employment skills listed by job for information on the skills and attributes required for many different occupations.

Skills Listed By Type

Review these comprehensive lists that include both hard and soft skills for each category.

Thought Processes

Thought processes are the soft skills that enable you to think logically, reason, and problem-solve. These are skills that are in high demand across all industry sections.

  • Analytical and Conceptual Skills: Analytical and conceptual skills are essential for anyone whose job involves problem-solving or project planning.
  • Creative and Critical Thinking Skills: Creative thinking and critical thinking are both necessary in professions where people need to be able to “think out of the box.”

Administrative, Business, and Finance

Administrative, business, and finance skills keep offices and businesses running efficiently and effectively at all types of companies, from small businesses to large corporations.

  • Accounting and Clerical Skills: Most professionals in the business sector have at least some basic training in general or business accounting and in clerical competencies such as attention to detail, word processing, organization, and data entry.
  • Technical Skills: Almost ubiquitous technical skills expectations in the business sector include Microsoft Office and QuickBooks.

Communication and Interpersonal

The ability to communicate, both verbally and in writing, is a job requirement for most positions. Employers are thrilled to find applicants with the ability to communicate and collaborate well with others, regardless of their role at the organization. Another key skill is nonverbal communication, where you use your body language and tone of voice appropriately to build rapport with those around you.

  • Written Communications: These skills include writing and editing.
  • Oral (Spoken) Communications: Depending upon your profession, you may be called upon to prepare and deliver presentations, so engaging verbal communication and public speaking skills are a “must.” The ability to speak a foreign language is also a definite “plus” in one’s skillset.
  • Interpersonal Skills: People who excel at getting along with their colleagues and supervisors typically possess strong interpersonal skills such as active listening, adaptability, and flexibility.

Leadership and Management

The primary leadership skills that enable you to be an effective manager, direct a team, and / or run a company are management, delegation, decision making, and strategic planning.

Management professionals should also be prepared to illustrate their motivational and negotiation strengths on their resumes.

Personal Skills

Personal skills are the attributes that uniquely qualify you as a candidate for a job.

An individual's skill set is comprised of a variety of personal skills that they have acquired through education and employment. A few examples of personal attributes are positive life skills and social skills, multitasking, organizational talents, and time management.

Sales and Marketing

A variety of specialized skills are necessary to be successful in a sales role. You will need to be able to demonstrate these skills to prospective employers.

  • Essential Sales Skills: A few examples of essential sales skills and marketing competencies are: persistence, consultative dialogues, relationship-building, and persuasiveness.
  • Digital Marketing: Digital marketing specialists should highlight their command of analytics, social media platforms, search engine optimization (SEO), website development, and HTML.

Teamwork

Teamwork skills—the ability to work as part of a team—are a requirement in almost every industry and job. These include team building, collaboration, conflict management, and conflict resolution

Technology

Employers seek candidates with strong technical skills, even when hiring for non-tech roles. 

Industry-Specific Skills

Your resume should also include industry-specific keywords. Click on these links for detailed information about in-demand skills in the health care, hospitality, digital media, legal, retail, and social media industry sectors.

Match Your Skills to the Job

Taking the time to make a match will show the hiring manager why you're qualified for a job and worth interviewing. Employers want to see that you have what it takes to succeed in the job. They’ll use the skills you list on your resume to rank your qualifications for the job against those of your competition. 

When you include skills on your resume, be specific. Show the employer that you have the skills they are seeking.

The better a match you are for the job, the better chance you will have of being chosen for an interview. Depending on the job for which you're applying, there are some skills you don't need to include. Here's a list of skills you shouldn't put on your resume.

How to Include Skills on a Resume

Screenshot of a resume
©TheBalance 2018 

For every role you apply to, tailor the skills section of your resume so that the information included matches the skills mentioned in the job description.

You can also weave in your skills in the experience section, as you describe the tasks and responsibilities of roles you've held in the past. 

The “keyword” skills that you include in your resume and cover letters will help your job application materials get selected by the automated parsing systems employers often use to select applicants to interview. You should also be prepared to mention your most relevant skills during job interviews.

1:34

Watch Now: 6 Skills That Set You Apart In Any Industry

Resume Example With Skills

This resume example focuses on the skills, competencies, and certifications that qualify the applicant for the job. Download the resume template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or read the example below.

 © The Balance, 2018

Resume Example (Text Version)

Megan Applicant
123 Main Street
Boston, MA 02770
megan.applicant@email.com
123.456.7890
linkedin.com/in/joseph-applicant

SOFTWARE ENGINEER
Innovative, detail-oriented Software Engineer offering 8 years’ experience developing exciting new programs and apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.

CORE COMPETENCIES:

  • Project Management
  • Unit Testing / TDD Expertise
  • Technical Specifications & Documentation
  • Software Engineering Best Practices
  • Source Code Design & Review
  • Jenkins Continuous Integration
  • Agile Scrum Team Methodologies
  • Time Management

TECHNICAL PROFICIENCIES:

Platforms: UNIX, .NET, QT, Linux, Docker

Frameworks: MVC, MVVM, MVP

Languages: C#, C++, HTML, Java, Javascript, PHP, UNIX Shell Scripting

Tools: WPF, XAML, UWP, Cloud (AWS/Azure)

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

RISING SUN TECHNOLOGIES, Renton, Washington
Software Engineer I & II, January 2018-Present
Skillfully contribute to all stages of product development lifecycles. Create code and automated test scripts, collaborating closely with team members to evaluate feasibility of new design approaches.  

  • Served as Java team lead for 2018 release of BinaryNEW 6.0.
  • Utilized C++ and Java to design company’s award-winning “Geosearch” software and related apps.
  • Instructed and coached new team members in Agile methodologies.

TECHNOLOGY INC., Seattle, Washington
Freelance Programmer, December 2012-December 2017
Developed and delivered website solutions by utilizing wide-ranging technologies and frameworks.

  • Generated back-end programming using LAMP stack, Linux, CSS, JavaScript/Queryand MySQL.
  • Created e-commerce sites integrated with PayPal and other payment gateway APIs.

EDUCATION AND CREDENTIALS

Bachelor of Science (2012); GPA 3.75
PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY, Malibu, California
Major: Computer Science

CERTIFICATIONS:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer (RHCJD)
  • Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)

Article Sources

  1. CareerOneStop. "Skills and Abilities." Accessed March 3, 2020.