The Best Skills to Include on Your Resume

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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.

Types of Skills to Include on a Resume

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 Skills to Put on Your Resume

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 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, reason, and problem solve. These are skills which are in high demand across all industry sections.

Administrative, Business, and Finance

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

Communication and Interpersonal

The ability to communicate, both verbally and in writing, is a job requirement for most positions. Employers seek applicants with the ability to communicate well with others, regardless of their role at the organization.

Leadership and Management

These are the skills that enable you to be an effective manager and lead a team or run a company.

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.

Sales and Marketing

You'll need a variety of skills to be successful in a sales role, and you will need to be able to demonstrative those skills to prospective employers.

Teamwork

Teamwork skills, the ability to work as part of a team, are a requirement in almost every industry and job. 

Technology

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

General Skills

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.

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

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.

Screenshot of a resume
©TheBalance 

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.

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

Article Sources

  1. CareerOneStop. "Skills and Abilities." Accessed August 2, 2020.