Strong professional skills are integral to creating a strong resume. A concise list of professional skills gives recruiters and employers a quick and easy way to see what expertise you can bring to the job.
According to a 2018 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 81% of employers say that current applicants are largely lacking in analytical reasoning skills, critical thinking skills, and creative problem-solving. By simply foregrounding the right skills, you can put yourself ahead of four out of five applicants.
With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about listing professional skills on your resume.
To identify the professional skills you already possess, start by examining your work experience. The areas where you are most competent will be reflected in your past achievements.
If you have hit important metrics, overcome major obstacles, or led large projects, think about the skills that were required. The best places to identify your skills are in your own previous achievements.
Self-assessment can be difficult. Sometimes our colleagues have a better sense of our strengths than we do. Your coworkers, managers, professors, and mentors may be able to help you identify your best professional skills.
If you aren’t sure what skills you need for a particular role or industry, try consulting professionals already working in that field. Take note of the skills they value most, and determine the ones that match with yours.
It is important to customize your professional skills section to match the position you are applying for. You have many strengths, but your resume should only show the ones that are relevant to the particular job. Curate your skills so that only the most relevant and most impressive are highlighted.
Your skill set can be split into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. Both are important, so your resume should feature some of each.
Soft skills are the people skills and leadership qualities that help you accomplish tasks and work well with others. Some useful soft skills are:
Hard skills are the technical experience and abilities required by a particular job. You might have learned these skills in school, in training, or through prior job experience. Hard skills include:
Where soft skills show your character and work ethic, hard skills show your technical abilities. Both are important parts of what makes you a great candidate.
Transferable skills are important to show when you are looking for a new job, especially when you are changing careers. These are the skills that are useful in any role, like collaboration, organization, and flexibility.
Employers expect you to complete projects on time. Your ability to manage your responsibilities and meet deadlines is important to show on a resume. Time management-related skills include:
Most modern workplaces rely on computers. Proficiency with word processing programs, spreadsheets, or specific programming languages are all important skills to show on your resume. Be sure to know the technical requirements of the job at hand so you can feature your relevant skills.
Skills that help you speak, listen, empathize, and work together with your colleagues are all important, no matter your field. To show your communication skills in your resume, you may want to emphasize:
It is important to show that you are a people-person when applying for a customer service role. Your attention to customer needs, communications skills, and passion for problem-solving should all shine through in your resume.
Your ability to coordinate projects, deadlines, and groups of people are important if you are looking for a management position. Most management jobs will require some industry-specific hard skills, but it is also important to show that you are organized, goal-oriented, and a strong communicator.
Any time you are applying for a job where you will be put in charge of a team, it is important to showcase your leadership skills. Your communication, organization, and motivational skills are all integral to your ability to lead projects.
Interpersonal skills aren’t just for customer support and other public-facing jobs. They are integral to any role that requires working with others. Collaboration and teamwork are valued by nearly all employers.
All industries need problem solvers. The ability to overcome difficult obstacles is highly valued by employers, so showing that you can solve role-specific problems as well as team-related ones is important.
Active listening is an important part of many roles, particularly customer-focused roles. Indicating that you are able to empathetically engage with what you hear is important for roles where you will be working closely with other people.
James is the CEO of VisualCV. He has spent the last 10 years building businesses, from window cleaning to software. His passion is helping individuals create the careers they want.
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