In this article, you will learn what skills to put on a resume with a complete list of skills for 16+ different roles/professions, including technical skills, personal skills, and special skills (15+ types of skills!). Read the dos and don'ts of writing a professional skills section of resume below, and add some good skills to your resume!
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The skills section of a resume is widely believed to be one of the most important aspects of leaving a great first impression and successfully landing a job. The reason for this is very simple. The skills section of your resume shows the hiring manager whether you’re a good fit for the job you’re applying for. It makes it easy to compare candidates because of its format and can help recruiters make selections or rejections efficiently.
Prospective job seekers would benefit immensely if they started focusing on this particular aspect of their application as it could be the difference between them succeeding or facing a rejection. Before we get into how to structure the skills section in your resume and what to include, let’s take a deeper look into what kind of job seekers could benefit from the resume skills section the most.
In any job application experience is always king. There’s a good reason why companies usually specify the years of experience they require, and meeting this requirement is a huge advantage for a candidate.
But what about the people who might not have an established or extensive work history, for example, freshers who just graduated from college, or job seekers who have gaps in their professional histories? A skills-based resume is the answer to this problem.
The skills section of your resume will act as a differentiator when there’s no work experience for you to showcase. It helps you demonstrate your expertise and skills in a way that is concise and easy to understand.
The next question that comes up quite often is “Where should the skills section be located on a resume?”. This depends on whether you’re an experienced job seeker or you’re a fresher. If your work experience is extensive, the skills section on your resume should come after your work history. You need to keep the most important and relevant information at the top of the document and in this case, your experience is more useful to the employer than your skills, so it should be placed accordingly.
Similarly, as a fresh graduate with no relevant or meaningful work experience, the primary way of selling yourself to the manager is through the skills section of your resume. So, it should be one of the first things the manager reads, and should be at the top of your resume after your personal details and contact information.
Now that we understand how important the skills section of a resume is, it’s time to get into how to actually write one. A well-crafted, professional skills section is the result of a step by step process that you should follow.
Analyze the job description of the position you’re applying for very carefully. The company hiring posts will usually display all the details they’re looking for in this section for job seekers to go over. It’s not enough to just read through it though. Make a list of all their requirements and try to understand what their perfect candidate would look like. Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes to gain a deeper perspective. This might feel redundant, but the better you understand the job, the more specialized and relevant your resume skills section will be.
Now that you understand the job requirements, it’s time to do some introspection. Make a list of all the skills you think would help you stand out as a candidate. Refer to the list you created in Step 1, and always ask the question, “Are these skills relevant?” For example, a skills section for a software engineering job should focus heavily on the technologies and programming languages you’re proficient in, and not your MS Word knowledge.
After this prospecting and compiling is done, you’re well prepared to start writing your skills for resume now.
There are 4 main ways you can structure the skills section on a resume. We’ll list them all with their pros and cons below for you to understand and choose:
The easiest and most straightforward way to write the skills section in your resume is to list them down with bullet points. For example, a skills section of resume for a manager position with this format would look something like this:
Example of skills for resume:
The simplistic nature of this format is both a plus and a negative. For one thing, it makes it easier for hiring managers to see their desired skills and give you a chance to grab their attention quickly. However, just grabbing their attention doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Your work experience or cover letter should explain the skills you’ve mentioned in more details. Otherwise, they might become hard to believe as the hiring manager won’t be able to see how you’ve implemented them.
💡Pro tip: This format is a good starting point for fresh job seekers writing the first resume.
This is very similar to the previous format but with more information and context provided.
Example of skills for resume:
Expanded bullets are much more impactful than simple lists. It helps give credibility to your skills and shows the manager how your skills would benefit their work from the get-go. On the flip side, as it takes more room than a bullet point list, it wouldn’t be wise to include more than 5 skills for this particular format.
💡Pro tip: Since the format requires elaboration on how the candidate excels in a specific skill, it could be a viable option for career changers or freshers to help draw recruiters' attention away from their lack of experience.
Now we’re getting into the more advanced variations of the resume skills section. This format stays close to the reverse chronological resume, with shorter lists to each work experience point. This format is much longer than the ones we’ve discussed already, and such requires extensive work experience and specialization to justify all the space used. A positive of an integrated skills section is that it conveys the message of your competence in a professional and easy to quantify way.
💡Pro tip: Since the format requires extensive amount of work experience, it is not recommended for freshers. However, if your skills are mostly gained from internship or extra-curricular activities, the format can be utilized with minor adjustment.
The final way you can consider writing your skills section is through distinct categorization. This is great when you’re applying for jobs that require a broad skill set, which could be difficult to list down. You need a good work history for this to work though, so keep that in mind when choosing the format.
For example, if someone was applying for a job as a Marketing Manager, they might segment their skills as follows:
Then, they would elaborate on specific skills that they’ve acquired or used for that particular segment. Here's an example:
Example of skills for resume:
|Content Marketing||Offline Marketing|
|Digital Marketing||Public Relations|
To reduce the size of the section, you can combine the segments into a single sentence. A reader friendly layout makes it easier for hiring managers to find what they’re looking for. For example: "Digital Marketing (Affiliate marketing, PPC advertising, SEO)".
1. Keep it short
Even though some of the formats we’ve mentioned are longer by nature, you should still try your best to condense it down to the bare essential whenever you can.
2. Keep it relevant
Don’t include useless or irrelevant skills as it looks unprofessional and detracts from the focus of your other attributes.
3. Make it legible
Categorizing your skills section using any of the formats we’ve outlined above will serve two purposes. The first is that it makes your resume look more professional and organized. The second is that it helps catch the recruiter’s attention by making your skills easy to locate and compare with other candidates.
4. Include both hard and soft skills
5. Double check the job requirements
Like we’ve already mentioned previously, always relate your skills to the job requirements the company has specified. For this reason, pay extra close attention to the “qualification & requirement” section in the job posting. It will catch not only recruiters’, but also Applicant Tracking System’s attention!
1. Level/Percent/Progress bars
While it might seem like a good idea to include these bars in your skills section, since they can spice up the resume visually. However, it should be avoided as it not only makes you look unprofessional, but also limits your resume's chances with the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems).
How will you calculate the proficiency of a skill you possess as a percentage? Being 68% proficient in PhotoShop means absolutely nothing to the recruiters. It’s much better to mention your projects and how you used the skills, rather than giving your opinion on how good you are at it.
2. Overused buzzwords
Don’t use generic skills like "flexible quick learner" or "passionately creative" and especially "always motivated" in your skills section. They’re generic and come across as fluff with no substance.
3. Common sense skills
On the subject of generic skills, avoid skills that everyone is expected to have. Adding skills like browsing the internet isn’t doing your image any favors and shows your inexperience.
|Hard skills||Soft skills||Computer skills||Software skills||Language skills|
|Communication skills||Interpersonal skills||Management skills||Leadership skills||Organizational skills|
|Business skills||Office skills||Teamwork skills||Research skills||Transferable skills|
These are the technical skills that apply specifically to a particular job or industry. Hard skills are usually learned in school, certification programs, or specific training camps. How to write technical skills in a resume? Here are some examples of hard/technical skills for resume:
Example of hard skills for resume:
These are the personal skills that can be applied to any job or industry. Soft skills can also be referred to as “social skills”. How to write soft skills in a resume? Here’s a list of soft/personal skills for resume:
List of soft / personal skills for resume
These are the general computer skills that benefit most jobs and industries and aren’t quite technical. What are some basic computer skills for a resume? Here a list of computer skills for resume:
List of basic & general computer skills for resume:
These are the more technical computer-related skills and like the name suggests, are based on certain software you are proficient in. This is a necessity for most software engineering and programming jobs, as this is the most important qualification they will be looking for in a new candidate. What are some software skills for resume? You might add:
Skills for software developer resumes:
How to write language skills in a resume? You should list the languages you know and your level of proficiency in them. Useful for translator jobs or an opportunity in a foreign country whose language you know:
Example of language skills for resume:
These illustrate how you communicate with people and your ability to articulate your thoughts and arguments. Here are some examples of communication skills for resume:
Examples of communication skills for resume:
These are the skills that relate to how you conduct yourself around others. Here are a few interpersonal skills examples for resume:
Examples of interpersonal skills for resume
This category showcases how well you manage people and maintain good relationships with people at work professionally. Here are some management skills examples for resume:
List of management skills for resume:
This section demonstrates any leadership skills you might possess. A great addition to resumes aimed at Managerial positions. Here are a few examples of leadership skills for resume:
Examples of leadership skills for resume
How to say you exhibited organizational skills in a resume? Organizational skills show how you can meet deadlines and corporate expectations. Here are some examples of organizational skills for resume:
Examples of organizational skills for resume
Business skills for a resume should focus on the daily actions that a high functioning corporate environment requires. This will help differentiate you from the countless other business graduates also applying for the job. Here are some example skills for business resume:
List of business skills for resume:
What are office skills for a resume? They are commonly used skills that are generally adopted in an office environment. Roles like office admins and office managers can make use of the following office management skills:
Example of office skills for resume
Teamwork skills in resume demonstrate your abilities to augment team building and collaboration. How to say you have teamwork skills in your resume? Check out the examples of teamwork skills for a resume below:
Examples of teamwork skills for a resume
Technical expertise required to carry out surveys or to conduct complex calculations. Research skills are especially important for research assistants and Ph.D. students. Here are some examples of research skills to put in resumes:
Examples of research skills to put on a resume:
Transferable skills are attributes that apply to a wide variety of jobs and occupations. How to write transferable skills in a resume? Here is a list of transferable skills for resume:
Examples of research skills to put on a resume:
|1. Customer Service||2. Teacher||3. Nursing||4. Sales|
|5. Accounting||6. IT||7. Retail||8. Marketing|
|9. Server / Barista||10. Cashier||11. Admin. assistant||12. Medical assistant|
|13. HR||14. Engineering||15. High School Students||16. Freshers|
|CAD software||Revit, AutoCAD, Building Information Modeling|
|Programming language||CSS, Python, Java, Ruby, C++|
|Legal Knowledge||(CITY) Building Codes|
|Project Management||Scrum, Agile Methodology, Trello, Budgeting|