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How to List Professional Development Skills on a Resume: Best Skills and Examples

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Why employers want to see professional development skills on your resume

The modern workplace hiring process is shifting considerably compared to the standards of old. Rather than focusing solely on the technical prerequisites of any given position, attention is instead given to those harder-to-teach qualities. While technical proficiencies are still essential, employers are realizing that teaching a savvy employee is much easier than hiring someone lacking professional development skills with all the technical prerequisites.

The harder-to-teach skills include abilities such as problem-solving, communication and flexibility. Essentially, these are the personal development skills that can make any candidate shine regardless of prior work experience. It’s important to remember that work experience can and should be used to emphasize these skills as a way to provide evidence for the claims in your skills section.

Including the necessary hard skills on your resume is essential, but don’t forget about these professional development skills that will not only help you stand out but also demonstrate that you understand what is most valuable in virtually any position. The emphasis has shifted, and employers want to see candidates who can keep up with the changing work environment.

How to list professional development skills on a resume

Here are some steps you can follow to list professional development skills on your resume:

1. First, list the skills most directly relevant to the position you’re applying for

The most relevant professional development skills to the position should always come first. These skills are the ones that you would be putting to use every day on the job. Some examples would include written and verbal communication, analysis and research and problem-solving. 

2. Second, describe your skills that would be applicable in related positions

Related skills are important because most employers will want you to branch out from the specific position you applied for. You may be asked to perform additional tasks that aren’t included in the official job description. Provided that these tasks aren’t extra work without extra pay and instead take the place of other tasks, it can be a useful opportunity to expand your reach and influence in the company. Imagine you’re applying for a receptionist position, for example. You may list communication and CRM software skills, but you can also mention skills like copier repair if you have them.

3. Lastly, include any hard skills you’ve obtained that are related to the position

Hard skills play a major role in the workplace. After all, you can’t really be successful in an accounting position without relevant mathematics and software skills. List the hard skills you have after the soft skills, being sure to include hard skills that could come in handy in other areas of the company your position may have access to.

Related: 10 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job

Best professional development skills to add to a resume

The following skills are the best professional development skills to add to a resume:

Communication

No matter what kind of position you’re applying for, communication will likely play a major role. This includes your ability to listen, speak and write, so make sure you detail all aspects of the communication skills you possess. Your written communication skills will show up in your resume itself in addition to any other documents you may have to send, so always proofread before sending your resume.

Analysis and research

The ability to analyze problems and research solutions comes in handy in virtually any job. Employers especially like to see this because it demonstrates that you can be resourceful and find solutions on your own.

Organization

Organizational skills help in professional and personal development and are needed at every job. Time management, prioritization and the physical layout of your workstation are all matters of organization, so this skill is universally applicable and essential to include on your resume if you have it.

Leadership

Even if you’re not applying for a managerial position, mentioning that you have leadership skills can help you stand out from the other candidates. Any employee can certainly let their leadership skills shine when the opportunity arises. Having dependable staff is an essential advantage that employers are looking for.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume

How to improve professional development skills

If you’re looking to improve your professional development skills, follow these steps:

1. First, develop a personal vision

To start, determine what kind of skills you’re looking to develop. Consider where you want to be in six months, then think about where you want to be in six years and what kind of skills it will take to get there.

2. Then, learn some new skills or update your techniques

Once you know what you’re looking to improve, it’s time to actually get to work on the improvement. Take a class, attend a seminar or meet with a career counselor. There are numerous methods for this depending on the skills you’re looking to enhance, so it’s helpful to discover your learning style along the way. 

3. Lastly, set some measurable goals for your development

To measure how much your skills are improving, it’s essential that you keep records of your development. Keep a log of how your skills are growing. Not only does this show the rate of progress, but it can serve as a confidence boost when you go back and look at an earlier entry.