EdgeWater Pharmacy just posted an opening for a Sales Associate right down the street from your home. You think you are the perfect fit for the job, so you submit your resume, but so do 30 other candidates.
Do you know who is going to get called in for an interview?
The job seeker who looks like they have the most relevant skills for the job.
Make sure you’re getting the callback for an interview from a hiring manager by reading how to list your skills on a resume.
This essential job seekers’ guide will walk you through how to add the skills a hiring manager wants to see on your resume, along with 50+ real resume examples of skills you can use.
This article on how to include key skills on a resume covers:
What are professional skills?
Why are skills important on resumes?
Different types of skills for job seekers
Where and how to incorporate skills on a job application
Top 50+ skills hiring managers want to see on your resume
Fastest ways to gain new skills to get hired
What Are Skills? Why Are Skills Important?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a skill is:
“the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively and readily in execution or performance”
“a learned power of doing something competently: a developed aptitude or ability”
When it comes to job hunting, your skills are what set you apart. Every human on earth has a set of skills that is unique to them. Likewise, every professional position has a unique set of skills that is required for performing the job.
Finding the perfect alignment between these two ideas is the key goal for every hiring manager.
If a hiring manager finds someone that already possesses the skills needed for their job, they won’t have to spend so much time and money on training. It also means that their new employee will be able to pull their own weight more quickly, providing a quicker return on their hiring investment.
But how do hiring managers know who has what it takes to perform well on the job?
The first and most important place hiring managers look is at your resume. On average, a hiring manager spends 6 seconds reviewing a resume and during that time they are scanning the pages to see if the skills required for the job jump out at them.
If they find what they are looking for, you get called in for an interview. If they don’t quickly see what they are looking for, your resume will most likely be discarded.
As a job seeker, it is your responsibility to make sure you know what skills hiring managers are looking for.
Once you identify those skills, it is also your responsibility to make sure those relevant skills are incorporated into your resume in a way that stands out.
If you do these two things accurately, you will be the one getting called in for an interview and will be that much closer to landing a new job.
Types of Professional Skills (Real Resume Examples)
Skills can be broken down into four main categories:
Before you start writing your own list of skills, let’s go through each of these skill categories to see what the difference between them is.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
Hard skills are specific, teachable, and tangible. They can be measured and tested using assignments and assessments. Hard skills are learned, either through on-the-job training or through school, rather than coming naturally.
Examples of hard skills for a resume:
Soft skills are intangible and are harder to measure. They are personality traits and interpersonal skills that come naturally to humans, rather than being learned through school.
People are born with soft skills. These soft skills grow and develop over time from your upbringing, education, and experiences.
Examples of soft skills:
Contrary to popular belief, hiring managers often care more about soft skills than hard skills, though both hard and soft skills contribute to your appeal as a candidate.
Hard skills, such as computer programming or accounting, can be taught using a combination of curriculum and hands-on practice. Whereas soft skills, such as a positive attitude or punctuality, are harder to teach.
Regardless of your background, hiring managers are usually flexible with teaching you the hard skills needed for their job, as long as you already have the right attitude along with the aptitude to learn.
Transferable Skills vs Job-Related Skills
Transferable skills can be carried with you from one job to the other. These skills can be a hard skill or soft skill, as long as they can be used in any type of role, regardless of the industry, company, or position.
Examples of transferable skills:
Job-related skills are usually always hard skills. These job-related skills are specific to a certain type of role or position.
Examples of job-related skills:
Excel Pivot Tables
Project Management Lifecycle
Basic Life Support
Fine Dining Table Service
Retail POS Systems
How And Where To List Skills On Your Resume
Skills should be included throughout your resume, rather than confined to one area.
While scanning your resume, hiring managers will be looking over each resume section, starting with the top. Because of how people read resumes, you need to make sure they see your skills immediately.
Guarantee hiring managers will see your skills by listing them in four key areas of your resume:
Summary of skills
Work Experience section
If you are writing a resume from scratch, try using this free and easy-to-use resume builder from Resume.com. The sections and formatting are already created for you, so all you need to worry about is filling in the blanks to finish a free printable resume.
1. Resume Header
At the top of your resume, directly below your name, write your job title along with the three most relevant skills you have as a candidate.
This is the first section hiring managers will be reading, so it is important to draw their attention using bold and large lettering.
If you’re using this resume builder, the ‘Blue Skies’, ‘Three Blocks Digital’, and ‘van Deco’ resume templates already have a header section included, which will make finishing your resume easier.
When writing your header, it is crucial that you customize the job title and skills to each job you’re applying for. Your job application needs to be consistent – you can read more about consistency in this article.
For example, if you write Java Developer in your resume header, but are applying for a .NET Developer position, a huge red flag will go up for the hiring manager.
When writing your top three skills in your header, make sure they align with the required skills listed in the job posting.
If you’re applying for a job at a large company or corporation, or you’re applying through a job board, it’s helpful to keep applicant tracking systems (ATS) in mind. Make sure your resume makes it past ATS software by listing your skills using the same wording as the job posting.
Example of skills in the resume header:
2. Professional Summary
Below your header and contact information, you will have a professional summary section. A professional summary used to be called an ‘objective’, but the modern resume writing approach is to replace your objective with a professional summary section.
Your professional summary should give an overview of your background, years of experience, and the top skills that set you apart. The skills in your professional summary should be written in sentence form, rather than listed out.
If using the resume builder, the ‘My Employment’, ‘Apple Green’, and ‘Side Panel’ resume templates have professional summary sections that are sure to draw attention to your most relevant skills.
Example of skills in the professional summary of a resume:
3. Summary of Skills
Below your professional summary, include a ‘summary of skills’ section. Alternative titles for this section could be ‘core competencies’, ‘key skills’, ‘professional skills’, or ‘relevant skills’.
If you have less than 10 skills, you can list them out in columns.
Summary of skills resume example (less than 10 professional skills) :
If you have more than 10 skills, you should break them down into categories.
Summary of skills resume example (more than 10 professional skills) :
For your skills section, your skills should be listed, rather than written out in sentence form. This formatting choice helps hiring managers to pick out the key words quickly, which they can read about in more detail in the experience section after.
4. Experience Section
The ‘experience’ section usually comes after your summary of skills on a resume. Depending on your background, this could also be called ‘professional experience’, ‘work experience’, or ‘relevant experience’.
Your experience section is the perfect place to back your skills up with real-life examples of when you have used your skills, in addition to the results you have achieved.
When writing your experience section, give specific details about where, when, and with whom you have used your skills. When possible, use numbers and metrics to quantify your achievements.
Example of how to list skills in the experience section of a resume:
How to List Skills On A Resume – Finding Relevant Skills For You
To figure out what skills you should include on your resume, follow these three simple steps.
Step #1: Create a master list of skills
Go through each category and create a master list of the skills in your toolbox. Don’t be afraid to list things that seem obvious, like computer skills or customer service.
Although they might seem like a given in your profession, many hiring managers still want to see these skills listed.
Never include skills that you are no longer familiar with. If you write a skill on your resume, hiring managers will be expecting that you can deliver on that activity.
If you are worried that a hiring manager will over or underestimate your level of proficiency, feel free to write ‘beginner’, ‘intermediate’, or ‘proficient’ next to each skill listed.
Step #2: Figure out the skills needed for the job
When applying for jobs, it is important to identify the set of skills that are needed. Picking out the needed skills will help you determine if you are a good fit for the role. It will also help you tailor your resume skills to the specific job you are applying for.
There are two main ways to determine the skills needed for a job.
The first is to dissect job descriptions and job postings that are posted on career websites and job boards. To do this, go through a job description and highlight each quality that describes the candidate the company is looking for.
For example, here is a job posting for a cashier position:
Then create a list of all the qualities described, making sure to write each skill using the same wording that is used in the job posting.
Positive Team Relationships
MS Windows Operating System
Android Operating System
The second way to figure out what skills are needed for a job is to search for people on LinkedIn who are already performing the role.
By searching for a certain job title in the search bar, you can find a list of professionals who are already in that job and then search through their profile to see what skills they have listed, both in their summary and experience sections.
Step #3: Match your master list with the skills needed for a job
The skills you write on your resume should be whatever overlaps between your master list and the list of skills you created from researching jobs.
By using this technique, you will be making sure that the skills you have listed on your resume are relevant to the jobs you are applying for.
A general rule of thumb is to never include skills that aren’t important for the job you are applying for.
For example, if you are applying for a project manager position, there is no need to list that you know yoga or CPR.
Top 50+ Skills Hiring Managers Look For On Resumes
A lot of research has been done as to what hiring managers look for on a resume. Many of the skills they seek are job-specific, while others are transferable.
To increase your chances of getting called in for an interview, include these top skills throughout your resume.
These professional skills are divided by category to help you find the skills that are relevant to you.
Attention To Detail
Strong Work Ethic
Basic Computer Skills
Electronic File Management
Best Practice Development
Social Media Marketing
Adobe Creative Suite
Marketing Plan Development
Art & Design
Learning & Development
Fastest Ways To Obtain New Skills
Are you looking for your first job? Are you missing some of the required skills on a job posting? If so, don’t worry. There are a range of ways for you to obtain the needed skills quickly.
If you are in need of a hard skill, this task is much easier. Hard skills are learned, so you can typically find an online resource, school, or curriculum to pick up the needed skills.
If you don’t have enough time to attend class in person, there are a number of online learning platforms with courses that you can take online, in your spare time. Some examples of popular eLearning platforms include Lynda, Udemy, and Skillshare.
Learning soft skills are a little trickier. These interpersonal and personality traits are hardwired into humans, so the only way to get better at them is to practice, practice, practice.
If you can’t practice soft skills while on a job, try to find some day-to-day activities that you can practice these skills during.
For example, if you need to work on punctuality, set a goal to arrive 5 minutes early wherever you need to be, no matter if it is for class or for coffee. Or if you need to work on your professionalism, pick up a volunteer job based in a professional, office setting.