Top Skills for Resume Success

Recruiters are looking for talent, so make sure to highlight these relevant job skills.

Top Skills for Resume Success

Your resume needs a combination of skills.

The skills listed on your resume are the keys to unlocking a load of career opportunities. Think about it: Just by sheer numbers, your resume is a needle in a haystack. Your goal is to make your talents easily identifiable so that your resume is the one that gets a recruiter’s attention. For maximum effect, you need to know the right skills to list on a resume.

In fact, according to the Monster Future of Work: 2021 Outlook survey, employers across all countries agree that demonstrating your skills (59%) is the single most important target your resume must hit, followed by expressing your personality (55%) and shared values (42%).

Coupled with the descriptions of your achievements, your skills will paint a clear picture of what you can do and how you do it, says Dawn Boyer, CEO of D. Boyer Consulting in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

When applying to jobs, it’s crucial to look at each job description, pick out the keywords and include those same keywords in your resume. Often, those keywords are the skills that employers want to see.

To improve your chances of getting noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager, these are the types of skills to include on your resume.

Industry-specific skills

You know those skills that are absolutely critical to working in your industry? They're the must-have skills to list on a resume, and they need to be front and center.

If you’re in accounting, for example, your skills should list financial reporting and analysis, forecasting and projections, and audit reviews. If you’re looking for a job as a sommelier, list your knowledge of wine fundamentals and food pairing, as well as your experience with inventory management.

Don’t assume that potential employers know you have these skills. List them prominently on your resume so that you undoubtedly pass a recruiter’s initial screening.

Tool proficiencies

Some positions, such as in technology and health care, require a base set of skills for any applicant to be hirable, says Geoff Scott, a Reno, Nevada-based career adviser and resume expert at Resume Companion. Tool proficiencies are the programs or machinery you can operate that are important to the job you’re pursuing.

For example, as an interior designer, you need computer-aided design (CAD) skills; and if you’re in radiology you need skills with X-ray equipment. “These skills, as long as they are relevant to the position, can be immediately tallied as points in favor of you landing the job,” Scott says.

Hard skills

Hard skills are skills that can be proven or measured. They tend to be the things you’ve learned through schooling or training, and are often tied directly to your work experience or degrees and certificates you’ve earned.

Boyer says she advises her clients to describe the documentable hard skills that can be proved by past employers. Fluency in a foreign language, proficiency with programming in C++ or a background in data analysis are examples of hard skills that should be included on your resume if they’re important for the job you’re seeking.

Soft skills

Soft skills can be more difficult to quantify, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Some examples of soft skills include creativity, analytical thinking, multitasking, verbal and written communications, time management and leadership.

Employers look at your soft skills to get a feel for your personality and values, and what you might be like to work with on a daily basis. The appeal of strong soft skills is universal.

“Soft skills are crucial for a candidate who wants to switch to a different industry, because these skills are often transferable,” Scott says.

Important soft skills are best expressed with examples that show how you excel at these things.

Environmental skills

A work environment can mean very different things, depending on what kind of job you’re pursuing.

For instance, if you’re applying to a construction job or job as a mover, it’s important to list how much weight you can lift or that you’re comfortable working in various types of weather conditions.

If the job you’re applying to focuses on the importance of teamwork in the job description, you’ll want to include how you excel in collaborative working environments.

People skills

Many jobs out there require you to work in the presence of other people. Therefore, you need to be able to get along with all types of personalities. People skills are similar to soft skills; they speak to what it’s like to work with you, as a colleague or customer.

This includes having excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to rally co-workers together to focus on achieving a common goal and the ability to calm an upset customer. Excellent people skills are a crucial part of what makes you such a standout employee who would be an asset to any company that gives you a chance to shine.

Get your resume ready for the search

Now that you know the skills to list on a resume for job-search greatness, it's time to start writing. But while skills are important, remember they're just one piece of your candidacy. Your resume also has to demonstrate to potential employers that you have relevant experience and that you'd bring value to their companies. Not sure your resume is getting the job done? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Make sure your skills get the top-shelf treatment they deserve.