How To List Special Skills On Your Resume
When you are making your case for a new job, it is your blend of resume skills that will show a hiring manager whether you are qualified for the role.
These resume skills might be listed in a specific section, described within your work experience, or even subtly implied in the summary, and they are an essential ingredient in your job search story. They are the foundation of your achievements.
The thing is, once you have listed a skill in your resume you have to be able to back it up with the career story that lies behind it. Resume skills are the talents, traits and wisdom that you have acquired throughout your education and career. This guide will cover how to go about showcasing your resume skills to the best effect, including:
- Why skills are your job search currency
- The difference between hard skills and soft skills
- Key rules for listing your resume skills
- Tips to match your skills to the job requirements
- How to convey your level of proficiency
- Top ten skills for ten common job functions
- Top ten skills for ten common professions
Why skills are your job search currency
When you sit down to consider your next career move, you could do a lot worse than sitting down and listing all the things that you are good at. Then have a think about how these skills have contributed to your achievements and you will be able to sense how you will go about convincing your next boss to give you a job.
Putting It All Together
So there you have it.
The most important thing to remember is to select skills that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for, and more important than that, skills that your company puts a tremendous amount of value in.
Once you get your skills straightened out, you should make sure that the rest of your resume is congruent with the skills you just selected, namely, that your experience shows that you both used those skills in a work environment and developed the skill with on-the-job tasks.
The next thing you should do is download our action list below!
Take On More Projects
A great way to develop your leadership skills is to take on more responsibility, without taking on more than you can handle. Getting out of your comfort zone is the only way you are going to learn something new, and doing so allows you to stand out as someone who takes the initiative.
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Create A Master List Of Your Computer Skills
Go through each category and create a master list of each and every computer skill you have in your toolbox. When creating your master list, write every skill, no matter how obvious it may seem. Although some computer skills might seem obvious given your profession, many hiring managers still want to see these skills listed.
The important thing is to never write a computer skill that you arent comfortable with. If you include it, hiring managers will expect you can deliver. If you are ever worried about a hiring manager over or underestimating your level of proficiency, add fundamental, basic, intermediate, or advanced in parentheses next to the skill listed.
Job post example :
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Identify Your Personality Type
You can also identify your workplace strengths by learning your personality type. Consider completing an online survey, such as the Myers-Briggs test, to discover more about how your personality type affects your strengths.
Example:You decide to take the Myers-Briggs test to give yourself a better perspective on your strengths and weaknesses. You find out that you are an ESTP . From this, you can identify your workplace strengths as verbal communication, emotional awareness, problem-solving and optimism.
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How To Make Your Skills Jump Out In The Ats Scan
âYour skills section should be front and center, easy for both the hiring manager and the ATS program to scan quickly,â says Jennifer.
To find the exact words theyâre looking for, refer to the job description. The better the skills in your resume match the keywords, the better your chances are to pass the ATS scan and reach the hiring managerâs hands.
Knowledge Of Specific Computer Applications
Hard skills include technical skills such as computer applications, software, and overall digital literacy. Even if youâre not applying for a job in IT, you should include the computer programs youâre familiar with in your resume skills section if they are relevant to the position.
Listing your exposure to virtual tools like Slack, Hootsuite, or Asana shows that youâre tech-savvy.
Being tech-savvy has all kinds of good connotations like being smart, adaptable, and up to date. Plus, if the company uses any of these tools, it wonât have to spend as much time training you and that means it has saved money.
Choose your computer-related strengths and place them in a resume skills section. If youâre short on program and software knowledge, consider adding other computer skills like your words per minute rate.
In general, you shouldnât include Microsoft Office on a resume. At this point, itâs expected that office workers know how to use word processors. However, if youâre heavily experienced in Microsoft Excel, you can mention your skills in the relevant experience section by explaining how you used it. Better yet, include some numbers to illustrate your point.
Example of using numbers to showcase skills in your experience section:
Implemented inventory management system using Microsoft Excel to track shipments and deliveries, saving an estimated 3 hours and $250 per week previously spent on redundant orders.
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Boost Your Skills In The Work Experience Section
The work experience section of your resume should be achievement-oriented to showcase how you have used your skills to produce satisfactory results at your previous jobs. This section reinforces your experience and proves that you can use your skills in a real-life work situation.
To create a great achievement-oriented work experience section, you can use the Problem, Action, Result method:
- Problem: Identify an issue at your previous job.
- Action: Show how you used a skill to resolve the problem.
- Result: Highlight the positive result of your action.
Once you have this drafted, you can then create a single achievement-oriented bullet point to highlight your chosen skill. You can also add numbers, percentages, or other bits of data to quantify your skills. For example, you could say that you implemented a new project management software that increased the efficiency of your team by 15%. This highlights your project management skills.
Figure Out The Skills Needed For The Job
When applying for jobs, it is important to identify the set of skills that are needed. Picking out the needed skills will help you determine if you are a good fit for the role. It will also help you tailor your resume skills to the specific job you are applying for.
There are two main ways to determine the skills needed for a job.
The first is to dissect job descriptions and job postings that are posted on career websites and job boards. To do this, go through a job description and highlight each quality that describes the candidate the company is looking for.
For example, here is a job posting for a cashier position:
Then create a list of all the qualities described, making sure to write each skill using the same wording that is used in the job posting.
The second way to figure out what skills are needed for a job is to search for people on LinkedIn who are already performing the role.
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Most Common Resume Formats
Most of us are used to the fairly generic resume format, i.e., the reverse-chronological format. This template will suit the needs of most job seekers as its easy to navigate, coherent, and efficient.
However, the reverse-chronological resume format isnt your only format option. Those of you who are interested in all the available templates can read up on the topic of resume formats in more detail.
But for those who want to focus on skills, your best bet is the combination resume format.
Combination Resume Format
You can think of the combination resume format as a variation on the classic reverse-chronological format. The crucial difference is that you showcase your skills by using them as subheadings in your experience section instead of making a random list of old roles and responsibilities.
Its pretty clear that this is the best option available to anyone interested in creating a resume optimized towards showing off skills.
Although optional for some, the combination resume format is the go-to template for career changers.
As a career changer, you are actively trying not to do what you once did. You dont have the exact experience required, so you cant depend on previous positions. Whats more, you need to be explicit about any appropriate skills youve acquired throughout your career, as it wont be obvious to the recruiter if your resume is even in the right pile.
Lastly Include These Skills In The Work Experience Section Of Your Resume
Combining your accomplishments and skills expands on the value youve provided for multiple organizations. For example, if you have leadership skills, state that you were responsible for taking minutes during meetings. You can also say you took minutes during three weekly meetings if you know the number of times that you performed this task. The employer may notice that you took action to improve the organization while developing skills to help you in future roles.
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What Are Some Examples Of Skills For A Resume
It all depends on your industry and role. Scuba diving is a hard skill, but only relevant to very specific jobs. Remember, hiring managers are reviewing your resume with the job you applied for in mind, so keep your skills section at least tangentially relevant to avoid the dreaded Why did they apply for this? reaction.
Below are some examples of specific roles you might be applying for and skills that could be appropriate to list, but remember that a job posting is always the best place to find the skills you need for a specific role. To get a more robust list for your specific industry, you can check out O*NET, a resource developed by the U.S. Department of Labor that breaks down occupations by skills, tasks, and activities.
- Language Skills
- Phone Support
- Montgomery Investment Technology Utility XL
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- ADA Compliance Training
- Style Guides/Pattern Libraries for React
What Are Hiring Managers Looking For In My Resume Skills
For certain roles, it can be a nonstarter for a candidate to not have specific skills. You cant be a ballerina if you dont know how to dance, obviously, just like you wont get a front-end developer role if you dont know HTML. By and large, though, the hiring managers Ive spoken to are looking at the big picture. Theyre trying to connect the dots, and skills help fill in the gaps a bit.
Hiring managers are trying to pull together a story about you, so list skills that match the experience youve written about in your resume. One hiring manager I know in tech finds it interesting and noteworthy to see skills that are kind of esoteric, but still relevant. Functional programming languages in particular always catch his eye. To him, it indicates that the candidate has a keen interest in programming and possibly went out of their way to learn it on their own. Thats a pretty efficient way to show your enthusiasmlisting a juicy, related, but kind of obscure skill.
Monica Orta, a hiring manager at the MIT Media Lab, says the skills section gives her a sense of the suite of skills a person hasits another way to look at their experience and helps paint a fuller picture.
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What To Do: An Example Of Showing Leadership
Heres what a good example of leadership skills on a resume looks like:
Example of how to list leadership skills on a resume.
If youre applying for a leadership role, your accomplishments should be focused on how youve already demonstrated leadership skills. Increasing revenue, coordinating stakeholders, managing a team, and acquiring new talent are all things that employers will want their senior-level staff to do, which makes them perfect additions to a resume.
The majority of your bullet points should focus on high-level outcomes rather than individual responsibilities the purpose of your resume is to show a hiring manager what you could bring to the company, which means every achievement you include needs to be relevant to the specific role youre applying for.
How Do You Choose The Skills To List On A Resume
Heres the deal.
You know what youre good at. You know the things you grew up doing as a kid, or the things you learned in school , or the activities you did after school .
So you should already have a list of things that you would consider yourself proficient in.
This is a good place to start.
Here are the steps for choosing the right skills:
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Match Each Skill With Your Proficiency Level
For each skill that you list on your resume, scale it up using the competencies proficiency scale:
- Beginner – You are just starting to learn or have not practiced the skill through experience
- Intermediate – You have applied the skill in practice, and require assistance with it on rare or special occasions. You still have room to grow.
- Advanced – You know your stuff! You dont need help with the skill anymore. You can also teach beginners how to use it.
- Expert – You are a recognized authority on this skill, the go-to person if anyone has any questions. You have consistently proved to be excellent in this skill. You could even write a whole book about it!
How To Include Seo/sem Marketing In Your Resume
Heres a resume sample by Enhancv that highlights all the right skill-sets and keywords to help you land a job in the SEO/SEM domain:
Here are a few keywords that can help you stand out in the crowd:
1. Conducted SEO Audits.
- Its an essential skill for SEO marketers. Here, make sure to mention how you conducted SEO audits for various websites.
2. SEO Experience in Years.
- Mention your work experience in SEO/SEM marketing.
3. Performed SEO Link Building.
- Briefly mention how you performed the SEO link-building tasks.
- Highlight the numbers associated with your link building efforts.
- Mention the strength of the team you led/were a part of.
4. Achieved an Increase in Traffic And Visibility.
- Explain how you helped increase traffic, visibility, and leads.
- Mention the exact increase percentage.
- You can also mention the improvement in keyword rankings.
5. Proficiency in Tools.
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Quantify Your Skills Whenever Possible
Saying you are a â60 word per minute typistâ has far more impact than a âfast typist.â
âMeasurables are incredibly valuable to your resume anything with numbers, percentages, or dollar signs immediately draws the readerâs eye and gives tangible examples of how you made a difference,â says Jennifer.
Outline Multitasking Abilities In Your Work Experience
Use the work experience section on your resume to describe previous responsibilities in a way that highlights your task management skills. Keep your descriptions concise and choose adjectives that illustrate your multitasking skills. Using action verbs such as “manage,””prioritize,” or “organize” shows that you took an active role in executing different tasks simultaneously. This phrasing gives you the chance to communicate your multitasking abilities in more engaging ways.
Explain how your multitasking abilities benefitted your previous or current employer. This approach will show hiring managers how you can apply your skills in a new role. Detail the results you achieved with your last employer by using numbers or giving concrete examples. If you’re unsure about the exact figure, you can estimate or access data from your records.
Example:Managed four phone lines and in-person customer service in a busy lobby, reducing wait times by27%.
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What Are Technical Skills
Technical skills are the specific abilities that are needed to complete particular tasks. They are usually job-specific, and are often related to technology, like a type of software or machine.
Technical skills to put on your resume may be physical in nature, such as TIG welding or machining, or digital, such as C++ or data analysis. Technical skills require practise and experience to develop, and are highly sought after by employers. Even entry-level jobs, like retail or food service, may require technical skills, such as cash handling or using point-of-service systems.
Unlike soft skills, which are strengths that help you to work hard, collaborate, and solve problems, technical skills may require certifications or education.
Technical skills can be learned in school, at workshops, or on the job, but its important to be able to back up any claims you make in your resume. Companies will likely test or measure your technical abilities as a part of the interview process. For example, if you interview for a job in computer programming, you will likely be asked to complete a technical interview where your competence with the tools of the job will be evaluated.