10 Best Skills To Include On Your Resume (With Examples)

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We have all heard that first impressions matter, and since a resume is what makes the first impression with your employer, ensuring that it is well-tailored for the job you are applying for is a vital concern. While many candidates could have the required educational qualifications and considerable professional experience, it is your skills at the end of the day that makes you stand out.

Your experiences convey to your employers whether you can do the job, but your skills prove whether you have what it takes to succeed at it. Can you work under pressure? Can you adapt to unpleasant circumstances such as a pandemic and remote work? Can you get along with the rest of the team? Even if your experience is more than enough to get you that position, the soft skills you add to your resume can determine your starting salary.

Since employers only look at a resume briefly before passing on it or calling the candidate for an interview, it is not only crucial for you to list the best skills you possess but where you place them in your resume is also an important strategy to consider.

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Types of Skills - Hard vs. Soft

Skillsets can be of two types: hard skills and soft skills.

Hard skills, also known as technical skills, are job or industry-specific skills that can only be learned on the job (such as inventory management) or acquired through formal practice, training, education, certification programs, or licensures. They are teachable skills that are measurable and easy to express proficiency in – you either have the skills or you don’t.

For example, if a graphic designing position asks for proficiency in Adobe Photoshop, expertise over that software is a hard skill that illustrates whether you have the skillset to do that job or not. Other hard skills include data analysis, cloud computing, multilingualism, operating certain equipment such as a hydraulics engine, project management, financial analytics, etc.

On the other hand, soft skills, also known as people skills or social skills, are non-teachable personal attributes or personality traits that affect how you approach tasks and people. They develop naturally as you grow, depending on the experiences you attain. Examples of soft skills to put on a resume include communication, attention to detail, problem-solving, conflict resolution, time management, critical thinking, and adaptability.

As they demonstrate how you deal with colleagues, handle situations, and perform in a work environment, soft skills complement how well you utilize your hard skills. For example, if you are applying for a managerial position, excelling in communication identifies you as someone who will be able to adequately inspire those under them and allow no miscommunication.

With ever-growing competition in the labor market, employers are now searching for well-rounded applicants with hybrid skills, i.e. a combination of hard and soft skills. Everyone wants personnel that possesses the hard skills to do the job and the soft skills to do it well, in collaboration with their peers.

Best Skills to Add to a Resume

The best soft skills to put on a resume varies considerably by the level of position, job type, education, industry, and numerous other factors. For example, the skills required to succeed in a teacher’s position will not be the same as those desired in a Human Resources manager. While thoroughly researching the job requirements and the company is an important part of the application process (to be discussed later), there are some soft skills examples for your resume that will help you in any field.

In no particular order, the best skills for your resume (with examples) include:

1.

Communication Skills

Written, as well as verbal, communication skills, are crucial for success in any job industry, regardless of the seniority of the position. While managers will be required to communicate with those working under them, office-level employees will need to communicate with their peers and the clientele.

Communication skills are not exclusive to professional communication between a manager and employee, or employee and client. This also includes the ability to communicate ideas and feelings without offending the other party, actively listening to what’s being said to you, writing clear emails or press releases, and other such skills.

You cannot broadly use the term ‘communication’ in the skills section of your resume. You must be specific as to what aspect of communication you excel in. Examples of communication-specific soft skills to put on a resume include:

  • Active listening
  • Public speaking
  • Presentations
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Professional writing
  • Interpersonal communication

To better illustrate your experience with utilizing the said skills, you can quote experiences with your previous employers where you put communication to use. For example, ‘Wrote regular advertising campaigns for customers that increased the website traffic by 45%’ or ‘Presented in 10 weekly budget reviews with the Board of Directors’.

2.

Technology Skills

While this is not a soft skill per see, technological expertise is a hard skill that is not exclusive to the tech industry. Whereas knowledge of certain software may be a prerequisite to employment in certain positions, possessing computer and IT skills is not as complicated as it sounds. This could be something as simple as data entry on Excel, making aesthetic presentations on PowerPoint, or Search Engine Optimization for a writing or editing job.

Examples of technology skills include:

  • Typing
  • Fluency in Java, C++, or other coding languages
  • Email management
  • Search engine optimization and search engine marketing (via Google Analytics and Keyword Planner)
  • Calendar management

Like communication skills, technology skills can also be smartly weaved into your previous job experience such as ‘Optimized more than 200 articles for the company website, increasing organic traffic by 44% and conversion rate by 12%, ‘Created the company website, increasing site traffic by 35%’ or ‘Created weekly PowerPoint presentations to illustrate the monthly plan and project timelines to the managing director’.

3.

Sales and Customer Service Skills

A company’s success is strongly linked to its clientele which can only be expanded via effective customer service. Stemming from communication and problem-solving, customer service skills are not only relevant for call center or retail positions. Even an architect with customer service skills is more likely to procure new clients for the company than someone who lacks the said skills.

Examples of sales and customer service soft skills for a resume include:

  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict management and resolution
  • Troubleshooting and research
  • Patience
  • Assertiveness
  • Product knowledge
  • Rapport building
  • Active listening
  • Diplomacy
  • Negotiation
  • Persuasive and clear communication
  • Multilingualism (for international clientele)
4.

Teamwork Skills

The ability to get along with your colleagues and collaborate with them to achieve the desired results, without any resentments, is one of the most valuable soft skills to add to a resume. This set of skills includes all interpersonal traits that you utilize when interacting, cooperating, and communicating with your peers, irrespective of your position in the organizational hierarchy. Teamwork skills are crucial, even if you are a manager or team lead.

Specific examples of teamwork soft skills for a resume include:

  • Patience
  • Collaboration
  • Conflict management and resolution
  • Team building
  • Leadership
  • Flexibility

You can also illustrate teamwork by experiential examples such as ‘Collaborated with an international team of 25 people spanning 8 countries to deliver a cost-effective solution to climate change’.

5.

Leadership Skills

Needing leadership skills is not only a prerequisite for managerial or executive positions. Employers are actively looking for candidates who can inspire and motivate their teammates and be a pillar of support or someone anyone can seek for guidance, which is why a leader with integrity, decision-making skills, and a strategic mindset is valuable for any job type.

To be put to use whenever there is a shared group of people responsible to attain a specific goal, leadership is one of the best soft skills for a resume.

Its examples include:

  • Ability to teach and mentor
  • Risk-taking
  • Delegation
  • Decision making
  • Negotiation
  • Strategic planning
  • Dependability

The best way to demonstrate your leadership skills is via examples such as ‘Organized and chaired a 9-person committee for the annual fundraising gala 2021’.

6.

Management Skills

While many people consider leadership and management to be the same, these two soft skills for resumes are not interchangeable. While leadership is geared towards inspiring people to work towards the vision you have, management’s role is more towards ensuring the successful completion of the day-to-day tasks. Requiring both technical expertise and people skills, an effective manager is organized, empathetic, and aware of what is happening.

Management soft skills to put on a resume include:

  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Email management
  • Project planning
  • Task delegation
  • Organization
  • Decision-making
7.

Financial Skills

Similar to technology skills, financial skills are also not soft skills and are also not exclusive to the financial industry. Even someone working in sales with accounting or bookkeeping expertise can be more of a value to their company than someone who does not possess these skills. Data analysis, which comes with a financial background, is a skill that can be employed on all types of data- making it a valuable addition to any resume.

Financial skills comprise of:

  • Financial modeling
  • Financial analysis
  • Accounting and bookkeeping (invoicing, collections, payments, account reconciliation, and ability to use software such as Quickbooks)
  • Mathematics
  • Client relations
8.

Time Management Skills

No employer wants to be chasing after their employees before a deadline, which is why time management is one of the best soft skills for a resume. Not only should you be able to finish your project on time, but it is also expected of you to maintain a reasonable work-life balance so you do not crumble under pressure, lowering your productivity over the long run.

A thorough understanding of what is expected of you, what you are capable to deliver, and how much time each task requires is a crucial component of time management. If you can illustrate that you successfully multi-tasked several different aspects in your previous job, that is a testament to your time management skills.

Time management soft skills to put on a resume include:

  • Multi-tasking
  • Focus
  • Goal-setting
  • Organization
  • Delegation of tasks
  • Prioritization
9.

Conflict Resolution Skills

No matter the industry, conflicts, and problems arise in every job. Therefore, the ability to deduce the root of the problem, communicate with the different parties, and reach a mutual understanding is desired by each employer. They do not want to intervene in every minor disagreement between the staff.

While conflict resolution also demands some specific industry-specific hard skills, it mainly comprises of certain soft skills for resume that include:

  • Negotiation
  • Active listening
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaboration
  • Patience
  • Troubleshooting and research

An experiential conflict resolution sentence in a resume could resemble ‘Led an 8-member committee to investigate any claims of honor code violations by the administration’.

10.

Active Listening Skills

Active listening and listening are not synonymous terms. The former being a valuable soft skill for a resume, it is the ability to devote your full attention to a speaker, asking questions and rephrasing what they are saying to ensure a thorough comprehension of the message.

Not only does it give you the adequate amount of information you need to respond effectively but using verbal and non-verbal cues to display your interest in the conversation makes the other party feel valued.

This feeling of being valued eventually translates into long-term camaraderie which is an important aspect of each workplace. No one wants to work with someone who just cares about being the last word of the conversation, ignorant of what anyone else has to say.

In terms of active listening, the best soft skills for a resume include:

  • Note-taking
  • Asking questions
  • Clarity and concision
  • Approachability and friendliness
  • Empathy
  • Respect
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication

How to Decide which Soft Skills to Put on Your CV

Since lying on a resume is the absolute worst thing you can do for yourself, identifying which skills best represent you is a crucial step in making a resume. Once that is done, shortlisting them according to the specific company you are sending the resume to is an even more important aspect.

How do you do that?

Employers want to see if you have what it takes to excel in that job. Therefore, most job ads explicitly state which skillsets they are looking for in sections such as ‘Requirements’ or ‘Key Skills’. If that is absent, other ads in the same industry, the company website’s ‘About Us’ section, or the LinkedIn profiles of people who work in that company can be your next option.

Keywords for soft and hard skills from these resources are an ideal starting point of what the company is looking for. For example, if one of the job responsibilities is leading the monthly budget reviews, you know that public speaking is something you will want to have on your resume.

Once you know what the company is looking for, it is time to determine whether you possess those skills:

  • Think about previous challenges and successes, and which skills did you use to overcome them?
  • Which skill of yours was most regularly highlighted in the performance reviews?
  • Have you ever received any accolades or appreciation?
  • Reach out to former colleagues, employers, mentors, teachers, and students

The common ground between what the job description asks for and what you end up listing about yourself is the best soft skills to put on a resume.

How to Add Skills to Your CV

There is no right answer to this. There are multiple ways you can go about this, such as:

Adding Skills to the Introduction – a Format known as a Functional Resume
This is mostly used when you are switching industries and don’t have enough professional experience to speak for you. Therefore, categorizing your skills at the beginning of the resume allows your skills to vouch for you.

Weaving Them into the Professional Experiences Section
Doing this not only tells your employers what skills you possess but also gives them specific examples of where you put those skills to use.

Having a Distinct ‘Additional Skills’ Section in the End
When you have significant professional experience, it is that section of your resume you want your employers to notice first. However, there are still some skills of yours they should definitely know about. This is where the additional skills section comes in.

Things to Remember:

  • Be Specific – If you are skilled in Java, do not just say you are skilled in a coding language;
  • Be Concise – Do not ramble on about one skill, but demonstrate how multi-faceted you are;
  • Do not use flowery language;
  • Use Numbers – If you were responsible for an increase in your company’s revenue, clarify by how much (percentage, dollars, etc.);
  • Do not exaggerate or misrepresent your skills.

The Bottom Line

The soft skills to put on a resume are the reason why a candidate with lesser experience might end up procuring a job over someone with more experience. Employers know you both will get the job done, but the skillset you have speaks about what more you can add to the workplace. It boosts your competitiveness and earning power, which is why knowing the best soft skills for a resume, and how best to represent them is a valuable piece of information for all the candidates out there.

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