When you are crafting your resume, it can be hard to know what to include. Different types of jobs look for different things, and company culture can even impact what employers want in an ideal candidate. However, the seven important resume skills can help you out no matter what job you are applying for.
Your resume should include a mix of both hard and soft skills. Your proficiency in a hard skill can be measured subjectively. These include software programs, coding languages, and typing speed. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more self-reported. They are things like leadership, communication, and teamwork. Including soft skills on your resume gives recruiters something to ask you about and lets you discuss your experience in more detail.
The list below includes both hard and soft skills that will help you stand out from the sea of other candidates. Read on for seven important resume skills that can help you stand out to recruiters!
1. Speaking A Second Language
Speaking a second language is one of the important resume skills you can have. This ability opens up job opportunities for you in a lot more places, including internationally. Also, some regions in North America prefer, even require, bilingualism. For example, knowing French puts you ahead of the pack in many parts of Canada, while Florida and the Southwestern United States need candidates who know Spanish.
Not getting serious about honing this skill is my biggest regret, to be honest! Growing up in central Pennsylvania, I never imagined I'd be living in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, where bilingualism is a requirement for most jobs. Take it from me: stick with your language classes. It's a little something that will set you apart from the crowd.
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Read our article 6 Reasons Why You Should Learn Another Language Now to explore more compelling reasons to become bilingual.
2. Time Management
One soft skill that comes up on nearly every job posting is time management. Employers want to know that you won't spend all your time on social media or get too stressed when you have lots of work to do. Knowing how to prioritize tasks and complete them in a timely fashion makes you an ideal employee.
When you add this to your resume, expect a question about it in the interview stage. Be ready with stories about an instance where you had to meet a tight deadline or juggle multiple projects while still staying on track with your timeline.
Here's the catch.
If you aren't good at time management, keep it off of your resume. Add some of the other important resume skills on this list to it instead. While lying about your experience is bad enough, exaggerating your soft skills is just as regrettable. Your new boss won't be too pleased when you can't meet deadlines even though you said you're good with time.
Check out our article Increase Your Productivity With This One Awesome Tool to take charge of your time management skills.
3. Knowledge of Coding Languages
The tech sector seems to grow exponentially every year. More and more companies of all sizes are opening up, so young workers can take advantage of the opportunities! However, these types of jobs require a particular skill set. To open up a world of possibilities for yourself, become “fluent” in a coding language or two!
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Another soft skill that will have recruiters practically drooling over your resume is teamwork. Nobody wants to hire a person who can't get along with others. Just like in elementary school, you will often need to work with people who aren't your favorite. You will still be required to collaborate with all your coworkers, despite personal feelings. Even if you're not a people person or you're an introvert, knowing how to work on a team shows that you are professional.
Though not many job postings will list this as one of their important resume skills, add it to yours anyway. If you get an interview and they don't ask you specifically about your teamwork skills, bring them up whenever you can! Describing situations in which you had to work with different sizes of groups and various types of people proves you're flexible.
One word of warning:
Working well with others is positive asset employers love. Make sure you show you can also work equally well alone, though. Constantly needing team members to thrive at work could indicate that you aren't independent enough.
5. Fast and Accurate Typing
With nearly every job requiring work on a computer these days, knowing how to type well might seem like an outdated skill to flaunt. However, your typing speed and accuracy can make a huge difference to recruiters depending on the type of job you are applying for. Jobs that require a lot of data entry need people who can type quickly and accurately to ensure records are correct.
Even if you are just applying for a regular old office job, knowing how to type properly is crucial. After all, the slower you type, the less work you can get done. Accuracy is also key since no boss wants to spend all of her time correcting your typos.
There are lots of places you can take free online typing speed tests. If you don't do very well at first, keep practicing until you have a good enough score (usually over 40 wpm) to include on your resume. Knowing your words per minute helps you add a hard skill to your resume that will set you apart.
Let's be honest.
Today's workplaces are BUSY. We are often tasked with enough work for two people. Job descriptions can include numerous different types of work. Plus, most of us have multiple projects on the go at once! All of this can cause tons of stress, but handling it like a pro will make you shine to recruiters.
Multitasking is one of the most important resume skills because almost every job requires it. Recruiters don't want you ignoring one project for another. Or worse, flaking out when there's a lot to be done! Keeping your cool when you're busy rather than running around like a chicken with your head cut off lets employers know they can depend on you.
Even if you are applying for your first “grown-up” job, add multitasking to your resume anyway. You are probably better at it than you think! For instance, in college, you had to juggle four or five different classes each semester. If you also had a part-time job, you have even better multitasking skills to talk about in your interview!
7. Project Management
Project management is one of those important resume skills that will make you stand out to recruiters. Not everyone gets to take the lead on projects, especially in non-managerial positions. If you do get this opportunity, talk it up as much as possible! It is a hard skill that feels like a soft skill, so it's an impressive one to have.
Even if you are at the bottom of the hierarchy at your office, take management opportunities whenever you can. If you're still in school, offer to be in charge of the group project to hone your delegation and organizational skills. At work, offer to start a new project you're interested in or even mentor a newer employee. All of these things show that you take the initiative and want to move up in your job.
How Do I Decide Which Skills To Include On My Resume?
The important resume skills on this list are not for everyone. Each person should tailor their resume to make it reflect their specific strengths. But figuring out what those are can be harder than it seems at first! If you're struggling, try these tactics.
First, look back on your accomplishments. Anything that you have received an award or other recognition for is one of your strengths. This can be anything from meeting tight deadlines to conflict resolution to a hard skill specific to your line of work.
Next, ask your coworkers or manager what areas they think you excel in. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves that we can't recognize our own strengths. Make sure you ask people who will be honest with you, not just give you lip service to make you feel good about yourself. There is even a feature that helps you do this on LinkedIn. You can list your skills on your profile, and your connections can “endorse” you if they know you are good at that skill.
Need more help identifying your professional strengths? Check out the video below. It can help you build your resume and prepare for interviews!
Do I Even Need A Skills Section On My Resume?
This is a question that people love to debate. Some people believe that your skills should be evident through your descriptions of past employment. Others think that pointing out specific skills you have makes it more likely that recruiters pull your resume out of the stack. They won't have to sift through as much information, which is always a plus!
When you are applying for jobs, it's up to you if you want to include a section of important resume skills on your document. Here are a few ways to help you decide:
- If you are fresh out of college (or haven't graduated yet), including a skills section can be helpful. You don't have a lot of relevant work experience to lean on, but you have probably gained useful workplace skills through group projects and part-time jobs you've held.
- You get super nervous about interviews (like I do). Adding a skills section to your resume lets you be more in control. Recruiters will most likely ask you to elaborate on the skills you claim to have, so you can better prepare for their questions. It is a way to attempt to guide the interview in a direction that makes you more comfortable.
- Individuals who have lots of work experience in their field probably shouldn't include a skills section on their resumes. Instead, be super detailed about what your jobs have entailed, making sure to include your skills in there. If you are looking to move on to a similar position to the one you already have, potential employers already know the types of skills you should have.
Showcasing a variety of hard and soft skills on your resume makes it easy for recruiters to pick up on your strengths. Whether you are applying for your first job ever or looking for a new position, the seven skills that look amazing on a resume listed above are sure to make potential employers swoon! If you have them, highlight them, and if not, there's never a better time to learn new skills than the present!