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Resumé Skills That Stand Out

When it comes to creating your resumé, it’s easy to think employers are only looking at your work experience and education. But that’s not true! Yes—those are important qualifications for any job. But there are other resumé skills that are just as valuable. They’re called soft skills and hard skills, and they’re some of the best skills to list on your resumé.

Here's why: Plenty of job seekers have the education and work experience to make them a good fit for the role. But knowing your unique people skills and professional abilities will help you decide on good skills to put on a resumé.

What Are Soft Skills and Hard Skills?

So, what are soft skills and hard skills? Soft skills are personal traits (sometimes known as emotional intelligence or EQ) that make up the way you interact with your team. It’s your personality, actions and behaviors with other people—like your boss, coworkers and customers. Some soft skills, like leadership or adaptability, come more naturally than others, but anyone can learn them and improve over time.

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Hard skills are your professional talents or technical knowledge. Hard skills are learned through projects, classes, certifications and work experience. They can usually be measured in some way. Think skills like accounting or copywriting. These have everything to do with the work part of work—not relationships with other people.

How to Identify What Skills You’re Good At

Before you start rattling off words to add to your resumé, I want you to do a little exercise. Ask yourself what you do best and what your passions are. What do you (and others) recognize as your strengths? Look back on your life experience, school, work and hobbies and see what stands out.

Do you have a creative streak? Are you a whiz at crunching numbers and analyzing data? Do people compliment you on your hospitality or leadership? The things you do best are your talents and skills. Write them down.

Next, you’ll organize this list of skills and talents in two groups. Which skills are work related and which ones are people focused?

How to Match Your Skills With the Job Description

After sorting your talents into a group of hard skills or soft skills, you’ll match those words with the skills listed in the job description. Look over the job post for keywords that describe experiences, job responsibilities and qualifications. Make sure your top resumé words match the most wanted skills and abilities from the job description and add them to your resumé in order of importance.

Examples of Soft Skills

Soft skills are important because they tell the hiring manager how you engage with other people. This will give them an idea of your strengths as a team player. Here are 10 examples of soft skills you could add to your resumé. (But make sure they’re true for you!)

  1. Likeable: This means people want to be around you. Being likeable makes you interesting because you’re interested in others. It means having empathy and compassion.
  2. Coachable: You receive instruction and correction well. This is an attitude of humility and taking action on feedback.
  3. Reliable: People can count on you to show up. You’ll do what you say you’re going to do and deliver excellence.
  4. Adaptable: According to LinkedIn, this is one of the top people skills companies looked for in 2020.1 Being adaptable is all about handling change with a good attitude. How does this show up in your life? Hobbies? Taking a course or starting a new role?
  5. Honorable: This is your integrity. It means doing the right thing and treating other people with dignity.
  6. Organized: Be specific about your skills. Are you an expert at managing group travel? What about preparing documents for your leader and anticipating their needs? Be specific.
  7. Communication and active listening: Communication includes listening in addition to giving presentations or writing reports. What are you good at?
  8. Problem solving: Share an example of a problem you’ve solved to show how you think creatively to get results.
  9. Leadership: Maybe you’ve led teams or taken initiative to start up a new project. Make sure to share examples of how you’ve led at work and in your community.
  10. Teamwork: Teamwork never goes out of style. How have you been a good team player? Maybe it’s your positive attitude or ability to cooperate with a group.

Examples of Hard Skills

Hard skills are important for your resumé because they describe your day-to-day job duties. These words can help direct your career path and are usually what get you an interview. Here are 10 examples of hard skills you can list on your resumé (but remember to use your unique work skills you identified in the exercise you did earlier).

  1. Computer skills: This can include basic software programs and more advanced IT skills.
  2. Analytical skills: List this if you love looking at data, solving complex problems, and making decisions based on your findings.
  3. Marketing: Marketing comes in many forms—social media, paid media, etc. Be sure to list the ways you’ve marketed a product or brand.
  4. Presentation skills: Communication is so important! Describe how you ace public speaking or presenting information to others.
  5. Campaign development: Campaigns can be used for public relations, politics and sales, just to name a few. How have you brought a vision to life?
  6. Coding: If you’re a developer or designer, list the computer programs and languages you use to code.
  7. Foreign language: Who knew high school Spanish would be so valuable in the workplace? If you’re fluent in another language, be sure to add it to your resumé—this can set you apart from other job seekers.
  8. Bookkeeping: If you’re skilled at managing budgets and keeping books, add that to your skills section.
  9. Copywriting: Are you a skilled writer? List the types of projects you’ve worked on. Articles? Emails? Social media? These are all valuable to include on your resumé.
  10. Project management: Whether you’ve led a department or managed one project, share the details of how you’ve used project management skills.

Take the Next Step in Your Job Search

Now that you’re ready to send off your resumé to employers, it’s time for the next step in the job search and interview process. Download my free Interview Guide to learn the five areas you need to spend time and effort on before walking into your next job interview. It’ll help you prepare to walk in confidently, answer common questions, and create a strong first impression with the hiring manager. Download it today!

Ken Coleman

About the author

Ken Coleman

Ken Coleman is America’s Career Coach and author of the national bestselling book From Paycheck to Purpose and the #1 national bestseller The Proximity Principle. He hosts The Ken Coleman Show, a nationally syndicated, caller-driven show that helps listeners discover what they were born to do. Ken makes regular appearances on Fox News, and he co-hosts The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk show in the nation with 18 million weekly listeners. Through his speaking, broadcasting and syndicated columns, Ken gives people expert career advice, providing strategic steps to grow professionally, land their dream job, and get promoted. Learn More.

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