Many hiring managers and recruiters get hundreds of resumes for every vacant position. So, how do you ensure that yours doesn’t get lost in the shuffle? One way is to include your top hard and soft skills.
Sometimes overlooked when crafting your resume, skills are an important way of setting yourself apart from the competition. In some cases, failing to include critical skills, especially technical ones, could mean that you’ll be passed over for a role for which you’re actually highly qualified.
So, what are the most important resume skills for marketing yourself in 2021? Let’s take a look.
The world has changed rapidly, particularly over the past year. Employers are looking for workers who are adaptable to different situations, including remote and in-person styles of working. Adaptability also means you’ll be able to readily adjust as the business moves in new directions, whether that means starting partnerships or changing technology.
The tiniest error could derail an entire project. Attention to detail matters in every industry, no matter what your role. This is something hiring managers seek out because they know individuals with this quality are thorough and accurate in their work.
Even if it’s not central to a particular role, at some point in your career, you’ll probably need to budget (of course, this is a great skill to have in life in general, too!). So, if you know how to budget now, you’ll be bringing an important skill to the table.
Being able to work with others is critical to a positive work environment, whether you’re working in-person or remotely. In fact, strong collaboration is especially important during a time when many people aren’t seeing their colleagues regularly.
Active listening, writing, speaking...these are all kinds of communication, and they’re pivotal for every role. There are many facets to communication that you should master in a work environment.
While it’s not necessary to include Microsoft Word on your resume — pretty much everyone has the basics of the program down — if you know more advanced computer skills, they can be highly useful in an abundance of roles.
Conflicts arise in many work environments. Someone who remains even-tempered in the face of disputes and is able to skillfully resolve them is an attractive job candidate.
This has gotten to be a bit of a buzzword, but that doesn’t make it any less important for work and life. Critical thinking involves being able to analyze a complex situation from all angles and forming an objective opinion, as well as conceptualizing a way forward.
There are many types of analysis, such as data. Ultimately, having this skill means you’re able to consider a topic with a keen eye and interpret it accordingly.
Believe it or not, some people have a lot of difficulty making decisions. So if decision-making comes easily to you, this is definitely a skill to put on your resume.
If you oversee others, it’s important to know when and how to delegate. It may be tempting to try to do everything yourself, but that’s actually the marker of someone who doesn’t know when and how to work well with others and allow them to take responsibility and credit where credit is due.
There’s a wealth of information in the digital sphere, and not all of it is accurate. Some is misleading, and some is just plain wrong. But those who are equipped with digital literacy skills are able to take the necessary and informed steps to separate fact from fiction, a skill that will assist them in practically any role.
Emotional intelligence is a pivotal competency in your work and personal life. With it, you’ll be able to understand you and others’ emotions, express them in a reasoned, managed way, and develop and handle relationships.
Being rigid about deadlines and other aspects of work is necessary sometimes, but other times, it’s better to be flexible and willing to “go with the flow” when the situation calls for it.
Are you a creative thinker? Being innovative allows you to adapt, develop solutions to problems, come up with new ideas and more. People who have this skill are often excellent workers who are great assets to their organizations.
This is somewhat of an umbrella term under which several other skills on this list are grouped, but generally speaking, it refers to your ability to mingle and get along with others, professionally and personally.
Even if you’re not in a leadership role or applying for one, your ability to lead will move your career along — and help you land your next role. You can demonstrate this in several arenas, from spearheading projects to speaking up in meetings.
Many professionals find that they’ll need to deliver a presentation at some point in their careers. This involves public speaking, delivery, the ability to read a room and visual appeal.
You probably have numerous responsibilities on your plate at a given time. The sheer number doesn’t dictate whether or how you’re able to accomplish them — your ability to prioritize will.
Being able to work through and resolve problems easily will prove an exceptional quality in all situations — something that will almost certainly appeal to hiring managers.
Project management isn’t just a skill project managers need. All projects require the ability to plan out every stage from start to finish, including the different roles involved, the tools and materials necessary and the timeline.
Whether you’re a writer, an engineer or a teacher, knowing how to perform thorough and accurate research is an important part of your job — and something that certainly belongs on your resume.
Can you bounce back from setbacks? 2020 was a year fraught with difficulty, and those with resilience will be able to persevere and move forward in their careers and jobs in spite of it.
While being able to manage your time matters in any situation and environment, it’s particularly important (and difficult) when you’re working from home and have less separation between your personal and professional life. Part of time management also means knowing how to prioritize.
In an age when jobs are rapidly changing, having skills you can transfer to different roles will make you a standout candidate to employers. This is also important for entry-level workers, such as new graduates who are looking to apply their experience as a student to the career world, as well as career changers. When you list transferable skills, be sure to be specific about what they are.
It’s not just about including the skills on your resume; you also need to present them in the right way. What does that look like?
Skills are a critical part of your work history and experience. Under each role and in each bullet point, don’t just tell the recruiter or hiring manager what you did or do — show them what you learned and how you were able to succeed in that role. That way, the reader will be able to see how you put those all-important skills and competencies into good use.
Illustrate them with real examples. Rather than saying you’re well-versed in data analysis, explain ways you’ve mined and used data in your projects.
Of course, having a separate skills section on your resume is a good idea, too. This typically appears at or near the bottom. To make the section clear and ensure that different qualifications stand out, group them together in a way that makes logical sense, starting with those most relevant to the job. You might, for example, use different categories, such as technical or hard skills, computer skills and so on.
Be as specific as possible, using numerical data to support your skills wherever you can.
Don’t overwhelm the reader with skills. This will not only make the section appear overly cluttered, but it will probably come across as hyperbolic, too. Instead, pick a handful of core skills, ones you have truly mastered. It’s best to stick to about 7-10. If you have more you want to highlight, you can find other places on your resume to make it clear that you have these competencies, such as in your work experience or education section.
Remember to stick to skills that are relevant to the job to which you’re applying, too. You could be a master at yoga, but if you’re going for a software developer role, that’s probably not that critical for the hiring manager to know.
Don’t lie. Don’t over-exaggerate. And don’t include skills that you haven’t really mastered but have maybe dabbled in from time to time. It’s better to highlight a few skills that you’ve honed and developed over time than cramming in a huge list of skills that are barely in your arsenal.
Hard skills are technical competencies that are easy to measure. Often, they are critical for performing the job at hand. For example, knowing a language aside from your native one is a hard skill, as is search engine optimization (SEO)
Meanwhile, soft skills are not as measurable and apply across industries. Critical thinking, communication and time management are some examples. While it’s possible to hone and improve your soft skills, they’re far more difficult to teach than hard skills.
Usually, you’ll want to include a blend of both soft and hard skills on your resume. The job description will often play a large role in determining which to add. It’s a good idea to look at the descriptions for multiple comparable positions to see which ones are most valued for the role.
Of course, the industry and position will also be a factor in determining the types of skills to include as well. Most jobs demand some types of hard skills, and if they’re imperative for a particular role, they definitely need to appear on your resume. Meanwhile, there are certain industries that place a huge emphasis on certain soft skills — again, this is where you should look at the job description to find out which ones are most important to a particular employer.
Below are just a few examples of resume skills to include in a handful of common industries.