Top 10 Skills to Show on Your Resume
Updated 13 January 2021
Writing an effective resume is essential for getting noticed early in the recruitment process.
You need to ensure that you cover all the skills that a recruiter is looking for and, at the same time, keep your resume short and concise.
A skills-based resume will ensure that you highlight the top things that the recruiter is looking for and stand out from other applicants as the most qualified person for the job.
But how exactly do you go about creating a targeted, skills-based resume that emphasizes the right skills for the job that you are applying for?
In this article, we’ll describe the ten skills that employers most want to see and help you weave them into your CV in the most effective way.
How to Identify the Right Resume Skills
Each resume that you prepare should be specifically tailored for the job that you are applying for.
Most recruiters will scan through every resume looking for specific keywords to help identify candidates that have the right skills for the job. Some even use applicant tracking systems to quickly eliminate unsuitable candidates.
Look carefully at the job description for the role and identify all the keywords that you will need to mention in your resume. This will help you identify the skills you should include.
If you don't feel that your skills match the keywords given in the job description, the role may not be right for you.
Don’t be tempted to add in a skill that you don’t possess. You will likely be expected to give examples of how you have performed each skill when you are called to interview.
The best resumes feature a range of soft and technical skills so try and balance these when choosing which skills to include.
However, new graduates with less professional experience will usually have more soft or transferable skills to demonstrate than hard skills, and these should be used to demonstrate potential.
Top Soft Skills to Show on Your Resume
Soft skills are less tangible than technical skills, and they can also be much harder to demonstrate. They often relate to the personality traits that a candidate has, but these can also be developed and improved upon if necessary.
There are very few jobs where you will work entirely alone and so this is a vital competency to demonstrate in almost all job applications.
You will need to demonstrate that you can work amicably with other people, listen and share ideas, delegate responsibilities, and resolve any tensions or disagreements diplomatically.
When talking about teamwork in your resume, make sure you speak about your own role and the contribution you made, not just that of the team as a whole. Describe what goal you achieved that you are most proud of.
As one of the most highly-rated skills in the workplace, communication is crucial.
Whether it is written or verbal, you will be expected to communicate effectively with colleagues or customers in almost every job sector.
Never simply state that you are a great communicator, recruiters read this on resumes multiple times every day. Find examples that describe how you used your communication skills to achieve a goal or help others.
Problem-solving is vital to organizations as it involves finding solutions that will move projects forward to a positive conclusion.
Problems, big or small, are inevitable in the workplace; dealing with them effectively is a skill highly sought after by employers.
When trying to identify resume examples of problem-solving, think of a situation when you used logic and reasoning to reach a suitable solution, conclusion or approach.
Showing creativity in the workplace isn't just about being artistic or design-focused. Creativity is important in many different sectors as it shows an ability to find innovative solutions to problems.
When writing your resume, think of any times you have thought of a new idea, created a new way of working or managed a creative campaign.
5. Time Management
Good time management results in more efficient, calm and productive working environments. This is why this is a skill that recruiters value highly.
Think about times you were organized or set goals to get a project completed on time or when you juggled many competing responsibilities with a positive result.
Top Technical Skills to Show on Your Resume
Technical skills demonstrate concrete knowledge of a specific discipline and are often highly valued by employers.
Technical skills can differentiate you from other candidates, giving your application the edge. As such, technical skills need to be given prominence on your CV.
Don’t just state that you have a technical skill, you should provide evidence of situations where you have used it, what you did and the outcome. This could be improved systems or processes, cost savings or increased productivity.
1. Industry-Specific Skills
Certain skills are essential in certain industries.
In finance and accounting, for example, the ability to create financial reports is an important skill, as are forecasting, making projections and completing audits.
Carefully research the industry you are entering into and make sure you have some experience that you can demonstrate of the key skills expected.
2. Basic or Advanced Computer Literacy
Almost all jobs require varying degrees of computer literacy. At the very least, you should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the top email and word processing/spreadsheet software.
You might even be able to add knowledge of more advanced software such as databases, security or web development.
If you have had specific training or certification, or you used your knowledge to further a project or help train a colleague, make sure you mention this on your resume.
3. Other Digital Skills
There is a shortage of digital skills in many industries, and these are skills that come naturally to many graduates.
If you can demonstrate skills relevant to the job you are applying for, such as WordPress, blogging, SEO/digital marketing or social media, ensure you mention them on your resume.
4. Project Management
Project managers are highly valued as they deliver projects efficiently, cost-effectively and on time.
As well as demonstrating times that you have been organized or delivered projects successfully, try and note which tools you used to keep track or specific strategies you employed when managing a project or person.
Even a basic understanding of programming will add value to your application in many industries.
Even if you haven't got your heart set on an IT-based role, programming is used frequently in this increasingly digital world.
Consider learning some of the most common programming languages and adding this to your resume, especially HTML, Java or C++.
How to Format Your Skills-Based Resume
Now you have chosen the top skills you want to include, you will need to present them correctly on your resume.
The key thing to remember is to use strong examples of times you have demonstrated these skills and achieved a positive outcome, either through your experience, education or training.
Here are some ways you can highlight your skills on your resume:
Write a strong professional summary ensuring that your most important skills are highlighted at the side or top of your resume. This will ensure that your skills grab the reader's attention.
Also include details of your skills throughout, utilizing those important keywords. Remember to mention them when talking about your job history and experience as well as the professional summary at the beginning.
Order your skills in order of importance/relevance to the job that you are applying for and group similar skills together.
Quantify your skills using hard numbers and make them as achievement-focused as possible. If you include statistics, make sure that they are truthful and they can be validated if checked.
A skills-based resume is critical in today’s job market.
Ultimately, a skills-based resume should provide recruiters with the confidence that you possess the right knowledge and experience to excel as an employee at their organization.
Make sure you include the key skills the employer is looking for in your resume along with specific and detailed examples of how you used those skills to achieve success.