What Are Skills Why Are Skills Important
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a skill is:
the ability to use ones knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance
a learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability
When it comes to job hunting, your skills are what set you apart. Every human on earth has a set of skills that is unique to them. Likewise, every professional position has a unique set of skills that is required for performing the job.
Finding the perfect alignment between these two ideas is the key goal for every hiring manager.
If a hiring manager finds someone that already possesses the skills needed for their job, they wont have to spend so much time and money on training. It also means that their new employee will be able to pull their own weight more quickly, providing a quicker return on their hiring investment.
But how do hiring managers know who has what it takes to perform well on the job?
The first and most important place hiring managers look is at your resume. On average, a hiring manager spends 6 seconds reviewing a resume and during that time they are scanning the pages to see if the skills required for the job jump out at them.
If they find what they are looking for, you get called in for an interview. If they dont quickly see what they are looking for, your resume will most likely be discarded.
As a job seeker, it is your responsibility to make sure you know what skills hiring managers are looking for.
Be Proficient In Computer Basics
Computer knowledge is a hard skill that can easily be demonstrated in the workplace. Most positions require a basic understanding of computer knowledge, including how to use email, Microsoft Office and other applications. Make it a point to be as knowledgeable as possible in the computer applications required to perform your job.
Why Are Computer Skills Important
Most jobs now require the use of computers, mobile devices or software applications in some capacity. Some employers will require prior knowledge or experience with specific applications, while others will offer on-the-job training. If you have a working knowledge of commonly used software, you may be able to more easily learn how to use new programs.
Whether youre employed in customer service, manufacturing, food service or tech, employers use computer applications to automate certain tasks, streamline communication and more.
Job applicants with computer skills are highly sought-after due to the increase of technology in the workplace. You can showcase your computer skills by identifying computer-related requirements on job postings and explaining on your resume how you meet or exceed those requirements with past experience.
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Why List Microsoft Office Skills On A Resume
Companies often use Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, products that are included in Microsoft Office 365 Business. They may also use Microsoft OneDrive and SharePoint to make teamwork easier. In fact, Microsoft Office is the most widely-used tool for documenting, organizing information, delivering presentations and processing data. For this reason, Microsoft Office efficiency is usually a required skill for most positions, regardless of your industry.
Provide Statistics And Percentages
No one loves success like a hiring manager skimming through resumes.
If you were a hiring manager or employer looking for the right candidate, which of the following statements would stand out to you?
“Reduced employee turnover rate by utilizing effective plans and processes.”
“Reduced employee turnover rate from 30% to 12% by improving hiring process and compensation plans established learning and development program.”
You dont have to add a lot of numbers and percentages.
Even a few impressive statistics, strategically placed, can stand out effectively.
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Hard Skills For Resume: Definition And Examples
Hard skills include technical or learned skills.
They are generally the practical skills you need to perform a job in an industry.
For example, a computer programmer would need a solid foundational knowledge in SQL in order to perform computer management and programming tasks.
Additionally, some hard skills would be useful in a variety of industries.
Lets look at a few of the most common hard skills many companies would find useful for a job candidate to have.
The Best Job Skills To Include On Your Resume
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.
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Create A Dedicated Resume Skills Section
Your job description is full of job-related skills and keywords. But you can still give your best skills more prominence.
If you extract the essence from the job description above, youll end up with the following list of skills:
These are the best skills to put on this particular resume.
Because theyre relevant to the position youre applying for. They are your best skills. And theyre exactly what employers look for.
Revisit the job posting to make sure you didnt miss any important skills the employer expects.
Double-check if youre using the right skills and experience keywords.
After all, collaboration and teamwork are synonyms. But if the job posting calls this skill teamwork, stick to it.
Remember: the ATS is smart. But not too smart.
If the list of skills on your resume seems longish , you can split it into two categories: soft skills list and hard skills list.
Youll find more information on different types of skills for a resume in the last section.
Expert Hint: Employers start to pay more attention to candidates soft skills than hard skills. Mainly because soft skills cannot be easily taught. Its part of the so-called hiring for attitude approach.
Ask For Direct Feedback From Customers And Colleagues
If allowed by your employer, ask customers to provide feedback on the service. This can help you understand whether you are providing a great experience for customers on a daily basis. Avoid taking any negative criticism personally. All customer feedback is important, even if it isnt positive.
You may want to consider asking for feedback at regular intervals, such as quarterly or annually. Keep track of your feedback, and reflect on it with each new round to get an idea of your improvement.
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How To Effectively List Professional Skills On Your Resume
Bar tending, Writing, Python, Bookkeeping, Crocheting, whatdo these things have in common?
These are a list of skills, not all of which are worth listing inyour resume.
Employers call applicants for an interview only when their resume matches the specific professional skill set they need. Padding your resume with a list of skills, as impressive as it looks, wont help your application if those skills arent related to the job.
In this article, I explain the different types of professional skills that are relevant, and how to select which of those skills to include in your resume skills section. I also cover how to list skills on a resume so it stands out and fits the job your applying to best.
Listing the right professional skills on your resume is important, let’s begin by looking at why that is:
Where To Place Skills On Your Resume
Have you noticed how some resume skills sections have the skills listed asa separate column on the right-hand side, while others list it below theirprofessional summary?
Theres no such thing as right and wrong placement, it justdepends on your goal. That said, the recruiters and resume experts I talked tohave varying but equally logical opinions on this subject.
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Look For Target Keywords
If youre still not sure if any of these skills are right for your situation, one quick way to check which skills the employer is seeking is to check the job description.
Read through it a few times and youll likely spot three or four key skills mentioned several times throughout the document. If thats the case, you should do your best to focus on those skills in your resume, too.
Microsoft Office And Iwork
Any office-based role will require some familiarity with basic word processing software and spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as other common productivity software like PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.
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Oral & Written Communication Skills
In this technological day and age, shooting a quick text to your friends or family may not include proper grammar, which in turn, can result in a decline in your written or oral communication skills. Another way your communication skills may decline is by the lack of face-to-face conversation. While being proficient in digital technology is necessary for many careers, technology should not be used as the only means of communication. This reduces the quality of face-to-face conversations in the workplace. These are also skills that many graduates can improve on. 95.9% of employers find communication skills essential, but they believe only 41.6% demonstrate efficiency in those skills.
Consider Whether Or Not To Use Side Columns
Dr. Dawn D. Boyer of Dboyer Consulting advises againstusing templates with text blocks, double-line spacing, side columns, and othercreative but problematic layouts.
She continues, An ATS takes the text it finds and parses it over intodata blocks for future searches. Resumes with text boxes, fancy graphics,tables, and weird columns may confuse the ATS system, which can lead it to mixup the text, or ignore it totally.
According to her, its also the reason why putting yourinformation only in the header or footer is a bad idea. ATS often cantrecognize text embedded in headers, so your contact details wont be includedon your application.
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How Should I Organize My Skills
You should use your skills as keywords throughout your resume. Some excellent places to include skills on your resume include your resume summary, your work experience, and your skills or core competencies section.
Once youâve identified which skills should be featured in your skills section, you can hone in on how to organize the content.
First, you want to title the section as âSkills,â âCore Competencies,â or something similarly recognizable.
âThe section headings should be very straightforward,â warns Jennifer.
âMost ATS systems are programmed to understand basic section headings i.e. âWork Experience, Education, etc.â If you get too creative with the headings it can confuse the ATS scans and skew your results. When it comes to your skills, I like to use âCore Competenciesâ or âCore Proficienciesâ.â
How To List Skills On Your Resume: 5 Quick And Easy Tips
Let’s narrow down how to list skills on a resume so that it makes its way through resume tracking software, stands out professionally, and catches the eye of potential employers. Here are quick resume skills section tips to keep in mind:
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Examples Of Special Skills
Identify your greatest strengths that pertain to the position you are interviewing for and consider ways to explain how they relate to the responsibilities of the role. Refer to previous performance reviews or any written evaluations you have received to support your efforts. You can also ask for input from friends, coworkers, or family to help you develop a comprehensive list of your own. The list below has examples of special skills organized by category.
What Are Hard Skills
Hard skills are skills obtained through training or education that are required to complete a job. These skills can be technical knowledge or abilities that are easily defined and measured. Hard skills may also be considered job-specific skills and can vary from occupation to occupation. These types of skills can be acquired and honed through certifications, schooling, training, courses and on-the-job training.
Related:Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
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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:
Problem Solving / Creativity
Problem solving skills show an ability to approach difficult situations and work through them. This is something that nearly every employer wants in an employee. Similarly, creativity shows youâre an adaptable applicant with a mind for design.
Unlike hard skills, you shouldnât list soft skills in a skills section unless you are new to the job market and lacking in other useful skills. Instead, you should match your soft skills with examples or descriptive adjectives and include them in your work experience section.
To showcase your problem solving and creativity skills, you can use the STAR method: situation, task, action, result. This is a common interview technique, but can also be an excellent way to demonstrate your impact on your resume.
Example of using the STAR method to show problem solving skills:
Solvedinventory management deficit by redesigning inventory control system, quality controls, network integration, and training on-time order fulfillment improved by 45%, profits increased by 23%, and canceled orders decreased by 82%.
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How To Write A Skills Section For Your Resume
Although, at a first glance the skills resume section might seem straightforward. Once you start getting into the nitty-gritty of it, you will soon realize that you have a pile of practical questions that will require some research both about you and the job at hand.
A good way to start preparing for writing the skill section of your resume is by researching the job listing, the company and its work culture and asking yourself these 4 questions:
- What are the skills needed for this job?
- Do my skills align with the job?
- Am I proficient in such skills?
- Is it essential to add these skills on my resume?
Once youve answered these questions, you can begin adding the skills that meet your requirements.
How to format skills on a resume?
Formatting your skills on your resume will depend on a few factors such as, your choice of resume template and resume style. With the style of resume bearing the most weight will it be a chronological, functional, or a combined resume?
As for your resume template, you have more freedom and can pick from a variety of templates that meet your needs. However, not all resume templates are created equal and some are more suitable than others depending on the occupation.
If youre having a hard time deciding what kind of resume template to use, go through resume examples to gauge what kind of templates are typically used for certain jobs.
Sprinkle Skills Throughout Your Resume
As mentioned previously, dont cram your skill and abilities for your resume into one single section.
- Make it easy for the hiring manager to make the connection.
- Demonstrate how the skills you have will help their company.
Add specific details to your work experience section that will make an employer think, Hey, we need those achievements in our company!
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Put Your Skills Section At The Top Of Your Resume
If youre applying for a job in which specific hard technical skills are more important than anything else, such as a position in software engineering, list your skills section above the work experience on your resume.
For a reference of what this looks like in practice, heres an example of a java developer resume that lists skills at the top:
Tips For Adding Skills To Your Resume
A skills section on a resume allows employers to quickly determine if you have the right skills to fill the vacancy. All skills you list should be tailored to the application. Here are a few ways to determine job of sector specific skills:
- . Use your resources! Check out the preferred or required skills lists and include the skills you have into your resume. This will also help boost your resumes success with the Applicant Tracking Systems some companies use to filter candidates.
- Check out the company website for more information about the business. Its also a good idea to check out the competition for keywords that will be relevant to your application.
You can really drive home your value to a reader by incorporating skills in other sections of your resume, such as the resume objective, your professional cover letter, and your work experience.
Top tip: include skills throughout your resume, not just in a dedicated skills section.
Incorporate personal abilities and technical capabilities. You should also aim not only to mention the specific skill, but also your level of proficiency.
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