Recruiters and hiring managers look for candidates who can jump right in on the first day of work and start helping the company achieve its goals. That means finding people with the right technical skills to get the job done.
Many technical skills require training and experience to master. They are also typically a type of hard skill. Hard skills are those that can be taught in a classroom, and can be defined, evaluated, and measured (as opposed to soft skills, which are personal attributes that help you succeed at work).
What Are Technical Skills?
Technical skills are the abilities and knowledge needed to perform specific tasks. They are practical, and often relate to mechanical, information technology, mathematical, or scientific tasks. Some examples include knowledge of programming languages, design programs, mechanical equipment, or tools.
While technical skills are often most important for jobs related to information technology (IT) and other fields in the sciences, many other industries also want employees with at least some technical skills.
In addition to the technical skills that are needed in the workplace, your command of job-specific skills can help ensure you get hired or promoted. Often technical, hard, and job-specific skills are interchangeable, but this is not always the case.
Of course, required skills will vary based upon the job for which you're applying, so be sure to be specific when listing hardware, software, programs, applications, etc.
Technical Skills Employers Value
Top 20 Tech Skills
Zippia has compiled a list of the top 20 tech skills (based on an analysis of over 3 million job postings). Coding skills are at the top of the list, followed by data analysis and social media.
- Network Security
- Big Data
- Artificial Intelligence
Technical Skills Listed by Type
Big Data Analysis
Nearly every industry today relies on data, whether it is data about their clients or the success of their product. While it is easy for companies to get data, they need employees who can collect, organize, and then interpret that data. Data analysis skills most valued by employers include:
- Analytical Skills
- Big Data
- Compiling Statistics
- Data Analytics
- Data Mining
- Database Design
- Database Management
- Needs Analysis
- Quantitative Research
- Quantitative Reports
- Statistical Analysis
Coding and Programming
Even if the job you’re applying for is not for a “coder” or “programmer,” most employers will look carefully at an applicant with some coding experience. Being able to code, and to understand multiple programming languages, will make you a strong candidate in many jobs. Several of the key technical skills sought in IT job candidates include:
- Customer Support
- Information Technology
- ICT (Information and Communications Technology)
- Network Architecture
- Network Security
- New Technologies
- Operating Systems
- Solution Delivery
- Systems Analysis
- Technical Support
This might seem to be more of a soft skill than a hard skill, but project management is critical for all technical projects. And, it often requires using complex programs and systems, which aren't always easily mastered. Being a good project manager means being an effective leader, delegating tasks, and measuring the success of each project.
- Budget Planning
- Following Specifications
- Performance Review
- Project Planning
- Quality Assurance
- Quality Control
- Task Delegation
- Task Management
Social Media Management & Digital Marketing
Including a phrase like “experienced in social media” into your resume is no longer enough to impress most employers, because so many people use social media. However, if you can explain your experience with certain media platforms and quantify your results, you will be able to stand out from the competition.
This skill set is often referred to as content marketing and is particularly useful if you are looking for jobs in public relations, marketing, web development, or anything related to digital marketing.
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Digital Photography
- Digital Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, Medium, etc.)
- Web Analytics
- Automated Marketing Software
Many jobs that involve written communication require you to explain complex things in a way that is easy to understand. You might have to send messages to clients or manufacturers, or write press releases, web content, or manuals for clients. Being able to communicate complex ideas in a clear way will make you stand out in many jobs.
- Client Relations
- Requirements Gathering
- Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
- Technical Documentation
More Technical Skills
- Information Security
- Microsoft Office Certifications
- Video Creation
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Productivity Software
- Cloud/SaaS Services
- Database Management
- Human Resources Software
- Accounting Software
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
- Database Software
- Query Software
- Blueprint Design
- Medical Billing
- Medical Coding
- Structural Analysis
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Mechanical Maintenance
- Inventory Management
- Information Management
- Hardware Verification Tools and Techniques
- Hardware Description Language (HDL)
How to Make Your Skills Stand Out
ADD RELEVANT SKILLS TO YOUR RESUME These skills include the expertise required to do a job, knowledge of specific software and hardware applications, and advanced design skills. In the description of your work history, you might want to use some of these keywords.
HIGHLIGHT SKILLS 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 those skills at work.
USE SKILL WORDS IN YOUR JOB INTERVIEW Make sure you have at least one example for a time you demonstrated each of the top skills listed above.