You have to curate resume skills that:
Writing about your skills seems daunting - like you're fighting an uphill battle.
Yet, the potential wins are worth it: from landing an interview to getting a job offer.
So, here's our explicit guide on how to write about your skills on your resume:
Before we get into the details of what both types of skills imply, we'd like to focus on how the skills are acquired, used, demonstrated, and measured.
Hard skills are attained via on-the-job experience, education, training, or certification.
While soft skills are obtained in a more intangible manner: via life or work experience.
Hard skills are used directly within your role - you need them to complete specific tasks.
Soft skills are most often related to how your flexible mindset is able to adapt, communicate, and excel within a new (potentially unfamiliar) work environment.
It's easy to demonstrate your hard skills through various resume sections - showing recruiters what you're capable of.
Soft skills often complement your hard skills, thus providing unique value to your professional resume.
Hard skills can be quantified based on your achievements, certifications, proficiency level, etc.
While soft skills could be a bit more difficult to pinpoint and could mainly be understood via your resume highlights.
Now, for a more brief definition of the two types of skills.
Hard skills comprise of the technical know-how and capabilities you possess: they are learned through studying and can be measured based on your performance.
Some of the more popular hard skills include:
Soft skills are transferable skills: characteristics and habits that are most associated with you as a person. They indicate to recruiters just how well you will adapt, perform, and grow within a new environment.
Recruiters are constantly on the lookout for these types of soft skills:
Your skills are one of the most important sections, as they help your potential employers to identify whether you would be a good fit for the role.
Consider the whole recruitment process from the recruiter's point of view.
You have a thousand applications for the same role.
So, including a separate skills section, gives recruiters the opportunity to familiarize themselves with:
Lack of relevant skills (keywords), placed at the top of their resume, often leads to a rejection from the ATS.
To avoid this, include this separate skills section to hint that:
Building your skills section would very much depend on the role you're applying for.
For example, say you’re applying for a Cloud computing architect job. In this case, your ability to implement relevant technologies are a prerequisite for recruiters.
But if you do include instances where you've had to present information to stakeholders, this would set you apart from other candidates.
With the rise of technologies, these will continue to be one of the most in-demand hard skills for the next decade or so.
Demonstrating your software development knowledge could be via various resume sections - as long as you've noted the outcome of your use of the particular skill.
As this is a pretty vast field that includes numerous abilities - Web and Mobile Development; Version Control; Various Frameworks and Databases; Agile Methodologies; Software Testing and more - we've listed some of the most popular technologies:
Data has become one of the most valuable assets - those with the ability to understand and interpret it will discover many opportunities ahead.
This field again includes various hard skills, from Data Manipulation and Mining to Big Data and Machine Learning.
Discover a list of some of the most popular Data technologies:
With the rise of ChatGPT and similar platforms, one thing is evident - AI will continue to expand into uncharted territories.
And as a skill set, both AI and ML will continue to be in demand and take over multiple industries.
So, brush up on your:
Your knowledge of cloud platforms could land you the dream job in a dynamic environment.
Make sure you constantly upgrade your skill set with the most recent certificates, as this field is ever-evolving.
Meet job requirements by demonstrating your knowledge of:
As a cybersecurity professional, it’s important to show on your resume not just your relevant certification, but adaptability in particular skills.
Referencing experience to project labs you’ve experimented with in your free time, can show your knowledge of the industry.
Here is a list of popular cybersecurity hard skills for your resume:
Project management includes a combination of both hard and soft skills you'll need to be able to showcase via your resume.
While the end results are important, highlight instances where you've had to use any of these skills for successfully delivered projects:
Digital marketing encompasses many different roles, responsibilities, and industries.
Our advice is to highlight the skill set that would be most useful for your chosen career path.
For example, if you’re applying for a role in social media, include on your resume your experience with different channels and how your communication strategy succeeded.
Digital marketing skills may include:
While imagination and creativity may be at the center of the graphic designer's work, there are plenty of technologies that are important to success.
The list of graphic design skills includes:
UX/UI design contains multiple skills from research, architecture, and wireframing to design and analysis.
Discover our top picks for your resume:
Plain and simple, financial analysis skills are focused on understanding data to make informed decisions.
They integrate an abundance of hard and soft skills, such as:
When listing foreign languages on your resume, it’s vital you explain your capabilities via your proficiencies and specializations.
It’s not enough to say you know a certain language - you need relevant certification or at least some widely-accepted reference as to your reading, comprehension, listening, and speaking skills.
Make sure to note your:
Perhaps your ability to communicate is one of the most important soft skills you'd need to show to recruiters - for any role.
Make sure that your communication efforts are always linked with relevant achievements.
Popular communication skills include:
Collaboration is your ability to participate within a team environment with the end goal of success.
While collaboration also covers various communication soft skills, here's the list of some other abilities you could list within your resume:
Problem-solving requires demonstrating your analytical abilities and shows the way you think in certain situations.
Can you take time-sensitive decisions or under pressure?
Skills that are linked with problem-solving include:
Like problem-solving, critical thinking is another must-have cognitive skill recruiters are on the lookout for.
Apart from your projects, you could also demonstrate your approach by incorporating various achievements through your resume as a result of your critical-thinking skills.
Showcase some of these skills to further prove your critical-thinking abilities:
Within the past three plus years, it has become more and more evident that individuals who can navigate through dynamic environments (and thrive) become the most sought-out professionals.
Showcase you can adapt to new challenges on your resume via these skills:
Effective leaders are able to enable their teams to progress while creating a work environment with a vision.
While your leadership approach may be more evident during the interview stage of your application process, it's a good idea to note cases where you've shown some of the following skills:
If you're apt at maintaining an organization's efficiency, definitely list your skills within your resume.
Organization skills hint at your abilities as a manager, but also, include:
Navigating complex discussions, reaching agreements, and building relationships - that's what the ultimate outcome of your negotiation skills is.
Include as many of these relevant soft skills to highlight your negotiation abilities further:
The ability to think outside the box, while driving forward-facing initiatives, is surely impressive.
Highlight innovation on your resume with these soft skills:
Interpersonal skills help you to build positive relationships with others: whether those be third-party vendors, stakeholders, or team members.
Demonstrate your interpersonal skills via these abilities:
The ability to deliver information in a manner that's informative, engaging, and persuasive is one that leaves a lasting impression on recruiters.
Hone your presentation abilities with these soft skills:
Within the next section of this guide, discover more practical advice to writing your resume skills.
To list skills on your resume, consider what works in light of the job requirements and will match your authentic skill set (and voice).
We've discovered six best practices that highlight strategy, space, and thought process, so you could make the most of your resume skills.
First, read the advert job description.
It is most often the case that recruiters include all relevant keywords under the requirements or qualifications section.
As a final step to your research process, check out the company's website for even more gold nuggets related to what the company is all about.
This way, you'll be able to identify if you'll be a good match for the company culture (and vice versa - if it'll match your expectations).
What if the job advert you have doesn't provide enough information?
Search on other popular recruitment platforms for the job advert. The missing link is out there somewhere - you just need to find it.
Another option, in this case, will be to reach out to recruiters on LinkedIn - ask them just a few questions about the desired, specific skill set.
The ugly truth is that when every single company is hiring, they have an ideal candidate profile in mind. They might make a couple of compromises for an "out of the blue" Cinderella, but...
... practice goes to show that skill alignment is no fairy tale.
Here's where you have to learn to read between the lines of the advert.
Not just because you have to consider the technical capabilities as described, but also because you have to look deeper into the tone of voice, soft skills, and preferred culture.
Aim to synthesize this information for yourself, so you can better understand what is it that the company needs from the specific candidate:
Ultimately, your application shouldn't be set to just fill in a tangible (or not) vacancy but it should answer your and the company's expectations.
Here's an example with a job description for a UX Copywriter. We've highlighted the hard skills in green, while the soft skills are in blue. This exercise should help you better understand the preferable skill set of the ideal candidate.
Want to make your resume stand out even further? Always match each skill with precise role accomplishments.
This would give social proof that you're adept at the skill and that your application is as close to the ideal candidate profile as it can be.
The STAR method is one of the recruiters' favorite tools during behavioral-based interviews.
The acronym stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result(s).
Apart from the interview stage, you can also use the S-T-A-R methodology to describe specific achievements which really stand out.
Here are six more reasons why recruiters are huge fans of the STAR method.
These types of responses:
The STAR method also brushes up on your reflection skills - as any professional should be able to look back on their work and highlight what worked.
So, even when writing your resume, it's helpful to think about various situations or projects where you can apply the STAR method.
The outcome should be strong, evidence-based answers that highlight your suitability for the position. Check out this example:
Situation: a DevOps engineer for a finance website
Task: eliminate poor website performance during peak hours (stock opening hours)
Activity: migrated the existing website's database to a more optimal noSQL solution
Result: reduced complaints rate to 3% and 100% website uptime during peak visit hours
Which one sounds more professional to you, when listing your language skills - "French C2" or "French"?
Adding your level of proficiency helps employers better understand just how good you are at using that particular skill.
But how can you - all by yourself - evaluate your skill set proficiency?
A popular framework that's used is the National Institutes of Health one; here's how it classifies the different experience levels:
There are many ways to map your skill proficiency. Our practice has shown us that some of the best ways include visual level bars and charts, used in more creative resumes, and simple labels, used in most modern resumes.
A separate skills section serves to improve your score with the ATS - and also helps recruiters understand whether you have the expertise they're searching for.
First, consider the skills that are listed closer to the top of the advert. Those will be most vital for the role.
Next, reflect upon your skill strengths - those should also be listed within the dedicated skills section with more prominence.
Don't forget about including a couple of soft skills - this will help you align your profile even further with the ATS.
If you want to take this activity a step further, create a separate, niche skills section. One that could list, for example, your technology proficiency or specific soft skills.
The more you can integrate skill keywords within your whole resume, the better you’d meet recruiters’ requirements. Here are five other sections that could include your skill set.
Your experience bullets are the perfect opportunity to provide recruiters with some proof of your skill capabilities.
By quantifying your expertise with achievements (and possibly data), you'll provide them with the necessary background to better understand your skill set.
The more impressive your achievements were, the closer they should be to the top of your list (under each experience item).
Also, do consider what the requirements are for the job and use those to qualify your experience and skill set.
For example, if the role requires you to be able to apt in community management, your resume could list that you:
"Implemented communication strategies to attain a feeling of closeness amongst community members to attain a 107% growth and 65% more structured community management"
Let's take a look at a well-structured experience section that communicates the relevant skills of the applicant.
The resume summary - those brief three-to-five sentences - is the best chance you'd get to integrate your skills.
Once again, go back to the advert at hand and select up to five skills that you feel most confident in (that are important for the job). Use those to structure your resume summary.
Here's an example from our practice:
With your resume headline, you could also make a lasting impression.
Even though it should be short and simple, while matching the job requirements, the headline could integrate one-to-three skills.
Both of these sections provide you with an opportunity to further "stuff" your resume with skill keywords. But you don't want to go over the top with that.
Use the limited space you have wisely to demonstrate your highlights, achievements, and unique skill set.
The hidden gem of the certifications and courses resume sections is that they allow you to further expand on your skill set. They are also a must in certain industries, such as cybersecurity.
Including a certification section on your resume will:
A courses section is recommended for entry-level roles, where certifications (or more experience) are yet to be attained.
The courses could once again highlight the skills you've learned via your education or in your free time.
Transferrable skills are universal skills you can easily apply from one role or responsibility to another.
They are basically what makes your experience unique and show that you can thrive within any work environment.