Best Skills to List on Your Resume

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Resume skills often fall under one of two categories: hard skills or soft skills. Hard skills are those you attain through education or training such as typing, computer programming, bookkeeping or cooking. Soft skills, also known as interpersonal skills, are skills you develop through social and life experiences such as communication, leadership, prioritizing or time management. Both types of skills are important to employers. Hard skills demonstrate your ability to perform specific job duties, while soft skills demonstrate your ability to work well with others. This article explains some of the most recommended job skills and how to determine which ones to list on your own resume.

Why is important to list certain skills on your resume?

The best skills to include on your resume are the ones that demonstrate your abilities to perform the job functions and succeed in the position. You will want to evaluate the job description for the positions you are applying to and select your best skills that match keywords in each particular job description.

Examples of the best skills to list on your resume

The best skills you can list on your resume will come from the job description for the position. Listing your own relevant skills that are also included in the job description shows that you are a good fit for the position. You should notice that skills may vary based on the position you are applying for.

Here are some common hard and soft skills employers look for:

Operating equipment

This includes skills necessary to operate any general or specialized equipment associated with performing the job duties. This may include equipment such as tools and heavy machinery as well as equipment used to complete a specialized task. In an office setting, this may include computers, printers, copiers or scanners.

Software proficiency

This skill includes working knowledge of general software necessary to perform job duties such as the Microsoft Office Suite as well as any specialized software specific to the job you are seeking. Examples of specialized software include accounting software, computer-aided-design programs and computer language compiling software.

Word processing

Word processing involves the ability to create and format documents in word processing software, such as Microsoft Word. This includes typing, formatting document elements such as headers/footers, paragraphs or tables and saving document files. This skill is important to draft, edit and send written communications such as letters and emails.

Data analysis

Data analysis is the ability to derive meaningful information from raw data. Examples may include collecting and analyzing demographic, financial or personal data to create informational reports. Data analysis skills are important to obtain hidden or valuable information from data.

Project management

This skill includes the ability to plan and successfully complete projects. It includes identifying necessary tasks for a project, selecting available resources, establishing deadlines and estimating costs for a project. This skill is important to ensure you are able to complete projects within defined budgets and deadlines.


Communication skills include the ability to effectively communicate ideas in ways others can understand. It also includes actively listening to others to understand their feedback, input and ideas. Effective communication is essential to understanding and working well with others.


Adaptability is the ability to successfully navigate and respond to change. It may include learning new processes or tools and re-prioritizing work. This skill is important to meet changing demands in the workplace.

Customer service

This skill includes finding ways to help customers by providing information about a product or service, completing their requests or helping to resolve complaints. Good customer service is important to ensure customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Time management

This skill involves estimating time to complete tasks and scheduling tasks to ensure you are able to complete them within required deadlines. It also involves proactively using time to complete work objectives and avoiding activities that waste time. This skill is important to ensure you meet deadlines and complete assigned tasks.


Prioritizing is the ability to identify important tasks that you need to complete first before moving on to less important tasks. The ability to prioritize your work is related to time management and helps you complete important tasks on time.

How to effectively list the best skills on your resume

Follow these steps to improve the impact of the skills shown on your resume:

1. First, review the job description

Review the job description and identify keywords in the duties, responsibilities and required experience sections. Highlight or list keywords from the job description that are a good match for your skills.

2. Second, consider your own relevant skills

Consider the skills you developed throughout your experience and education. Select skills and experience that match the keywords you highlighted in the job description. These are the skills you will include in the resume you submit for that particular job posting.

3. Third, include a skills section on your resume

Create a section of your resume dedicated to listing your skills. Use this section to list specific technical/hard and soft skills that match the keywords in the job description and demonstrate that you are a good fit for the position.

4. Fourth, highlight skills in the work experience section of your resume

When listing experience from previous employment, include experience that demonstrates the skills you selected. Use the keywords you highlighted in the job description as well as similar phrasing to describe your experience.

When creating bullet points for the work history and work experience sections of your resume, consider specific experience that demonstrates your skills. This allows you to build on the skills section, where you list your relevant skills, by including experience and accomplishments that specifically demonstrate those skills. For example, if you list data analysis as a skill, your work experience may include a bullet point about analyzing data and providing leadership with reports to support informed decisions.