Listing skills on your resume is fairly easy.
Listing the right skills in the right way is a little bit trickier.
Are you mentioning the right skills for the job, or are you boring the HR manager with irrelevant information?
The hiring manager for the software development team couldn’t care less about your expertise in marketing. What they’re dying to know, though, is your skill level in Python and how you get along with the team.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the process of putting skills on your resume from start to finish. We’ll explain how to identify the right skills and how to list them in a way that catches the hiring manager’s attention!
Here’s what you’re going to learn:
- Hard Skills Vs Soft Skills - What’s the Difference?
- Why Should You List Your Skills on a Resume?
- 8 Best Skills to Put on a Resume
- How to List Skills on a Resume
- 120+ Skills to Put on Your Resume (For 10+ Fields)
New to resume-making? Give our resumes 101 video a watch before diving into the article!
Hard Skills Vs Soft Skills - What’s the Difference?
Skills are divided into hard skills and soft skills.
To create an effective job application, catch the hiring manager’s attention, and land your next job, you should mention both hard and soft skills in your resume.
But what exactly is the difference?
Hard skills involve the technical knowledge or know-how one can gain through experience, training, or education. For example:
- Machinery skills. E.g., operating a road roller, pallet-stalker, forklift, etc.
- Software skills. Depending on the field, you need to know how to use different software, such as the Adobe Creative Suite for graphic designers or the Ableton Live Suite if you’re a DJ.
- Tools. Say you’re a digital marketer. You’ll need to know how to use tools like Stethoscope, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Ahrefs, and the sorts.
- Multilingualism. The more customers you can communicate with, the more valuable you are as an employee. Some sought-after languages today include German, Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic.
- Computer skills. If you’re a web developer, your hard skills will likely include coding languages such as Python, C++, etc. Even if you’re not though, most jobs will require that you have at least some basic computer knowledge in MS Office and G-Suite, emailing and presentations, etc.
- Techniques. E.g. frequency analysis, Crystallization.
- Mathematics. Many professions, such as accounting and finance, require mathematical skills.
- Data analysis. Businesses are always looking for professionals who can gather and analyze data for various stakeholders, which makes data analysis a very in-demand hard skill.
…and just about any field-specific skill. While hard skills are essential to complete tasks in about any job, they’re also teachable and easily measurable.
Soft skills, on the other hand, are attributes and habits that describe how you work individually or with others. They are typically not job-specific but rather transferable skills that indirectly help you adapt to the work environment and company culture.
Some examples of the most in-demand soft skills include:
Like hard skills, you can also learn how to develop soft skills, although it’s significantly harder.
While you can acquire computer skills through a technical course, you’ll need to work much harder to develop, say, your communication skills.
In the workplace, for example, you’d need to practice active listening, learn how to notice nonverbal cues, and practice your oral communication skills as much as possible.
What’s the Difference Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills
Here are the two main differences between hard skills and soft skills:
- How you obtain them. You can obtain hard skills through work experience, education, training, and certification. Soft skills, on the other hand, can be gained through life experience, both on and off work.
- How you use them. You apply hard skills directly to the job, whereas soft skills come into play indirectly and may often complement your hard skills. For example, you may be a communicative marketer or an office manager with great leadership qualities.
Why Should You List Skills on Your Resume?
The skills section is one of the 3 most important resume sections, with the other two being work experience and education sections.
If written correctly, the skills section looks something like this:
By now, you’re probably thinking “how hard can this be, right? All I have to do is list all my skills and call it a day!”
Well, not exactly. The process of putting skills on your resume is a bit more nuanced than that, and we’re going to tell you why.
Most companies nowadays use Applicant Tracking Systems to help them go through the hundreds and thousands of resumes they receive every day.
This software scans your resume for keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for, and if it doesn’t find them, the software automatically rejects the resume.
Say, for example, the job you’re applying to requires an Expert level in Java. If you haven’t mentioned Java as a skill on your resume, your resume can automatically get discarded.
In fact, 70%+ of resumes are rejected at this stage, never having even been seen by an HR professional.
And, even if the company doesn’t use an ATS, there’s a good chance that the HR manager is going to skim through your resume looking for the right skill set.
So, whether you’re doing this for the ATS or the HR, it’s important to mention the right skills.
Below, we’re going to explain just how to do this in the best way possible.
But first, let’s cover some of the best skills to mention in any resume, regardless of your profession.
8 Best Skills to Put on a Resume
Every profession requires some role-specific hard skills if you want to do it properly. An accountant, for example, needs to know math to do their job right, just like a photographer needs to know how to use photo editing software like Photoshop.
In most cases, it’s easy to identify such skills and understand whether you’re qualified enough for the job.
The right soft skills for a job may be harder to point out, but they’re just as essential in today’s job market - 93% of employers say “soft skills play a critical role in their decision about whom they want to hire.”
To give you an example, if you’re a project manager, you will need to have excellent organizational skills in addition to your project management skills. Or, if you’re a developer, you need to also be an apt problem solver.
You can find lists of field-related, relevant soft and hard skills later in the article, but for now, here are the top soft and hard skills valued by hiring managers in most professions:
#1. Communication skills
There are very few, if any, jobs out there that don’t require at least some level of communication skills.
Whether you’re a writer who needs to communicate a message to your readers, a marketing specialist who needs to communicate an advertising campaign to your client, or an office worker who must communicate with a colleague to complete a task, communication skills are vital.
Communication is a multi-faceted skill that includes several skills, such as:
- Oral and written communication
- Non-verbal communication
- Active Listening
#2. Computer skills
By 2016, over 70% of US jobs required medium-to-high-level digital skills.
This means that computer and technical skills are priceless assets even if your job isn’t centered around technology. As such, computer skills are almost always a great addition to any resume.
Here are some valuable computer skills for every professional:
- Office suites (MS Office, iWork)
- Social media
- Database management
- Web (Internet savviness, basic HTML, CMS)
- Equipment installation and configuration
- Fast Typing
#3. Management skills
Management skills are usually associated with management positions, but in reality, that’s not usually the case. Any type of professional can benefit from strong management skills.
In a nutshell, management skills involve being able to effectively handle people, resources, and processes, including your time, plans, projects, and so on.
Here are some of the most in-demand management skills:
- People management
- Project management
- Time management
- Risk management
- Action planning
- Conflict Resolution
#4. Problem-solving skills
Problem-solving means you’re able to identify problems successfully, find the root cause behind them, and come up with creative solutions.
Considering there isn’t a single job where you won’t face problems in one way or another, problem-solving skills are a great asset to have. When it comes to managerial, professional, and technical positions, problem-solving skills are essential.
Problem-solving is a set of skills that includes:
- Research skills
- Analytical skills
- Critical thinking
- Decision-making skills
- Attention to detail
#5. Organizational skills
Organizational skills are a set of soft skills that help you keep track of information, materials, and even your time in such a way that you can tackle short and long-term tasks efficiently.
Organizational skills are among the top skills recruiters are looking for in 2022, primarily because they help employees be more productive, save companies time and money, and facilitate a more positive work environment.
Here is what organizational skills consist of:
- Physical organization
- Goal setting
#6. Leadership skills
Leadership includes both the ability to manage and inspire others. Managers are not always great leaders, but leaders almost always make good managers.
People who’re good at leading are emotionally intelligent, good communicators, and natural-born influencers. They can motivate others to reach their full potential and work together towards common goals. This makes leadership another great skill to have for many professions out there.
Some important soft skills related to leadership include:
- Strategic thinking
#7. Customer service skills
A big part of jobs out there involve dealing with customers.
From customer support representatives to cashiers, customer service skills are a great asset to have in 2023. Particularly, that’s because it encompasses a number of other valuable skills, such as:
- Persuasion skills
- Product knowledge
- Attention to detail
#8. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills refer to how well you can understand and get along with other people.
It goes without saying that they’re extremely useful for team-oriented or customer-facing roles, as a big chunk of the work involves communicating with other people.
Such skills, however, are also useful for roles where you don’t get to interact as much with people.
Take, for example, writers. To be a really good writer, you need to be able to:
- Understand and communicate with your audience
- Collaborate with your publishing team
- Understand what people are like
Just like most other transferable skills on our list, interpersonal skills are multi-faceted. Here is what they consist of:
How to List Skills on a Resume (And Stand Out)
Now that you have a clear understanding of how important skills are - and how some are more relevant than others - let’s talk about how you should list them on your resume.
There are several things you need to do to stand out:
#1. Tailor Your Skills to the Job
Relevance is key; the customer service skills you acquired working as a server during college won’t come in too handy when you start work as, say, a data analyst.
So, the first thing you should remember is to only list skills that are useful for the job you are applying for. To find out what these skills are, you should scan the job listing.
Job ads usually list a set of requirements or skills they expect a good candidate to have. Make sure you don’t leave any of those out on your resume.
For example, imagine you are applying for a line cook position in a restaurant:
- “Here at ‘ABCD’ we are committed to creating a one-of-a-kind experience for our guests. Our French restaurant is looking for a professional line cook for the summer season to work directly under the supervision of our chef. Responsibilities include prepping and cleaning food, creating and cooking meals, and cleaning up the working area. Impeccable attention to detail in food cooking and presentation is needed.”
The underlined bits in this job description are the role’s responsibilities. By paying a closer look, you can understand that ABCD is looking for someone who:
- Is committed to excellence and is highly professional
- Works well under supervision, and with others
- Can prep, clean, and cook food
- Pays great attention to detail in cooking and presentation
Based on this, some of the skills you should definitely mention in your resume can include teamwork, attention to detail, communication, food prepping, and culinary skills.
As a given, you wouldn’t mention anything that isn’t directly related to the job. As a line cook, you’re not going to be using a lot of tech, so you wouldn’t include your computer skills in your resume (even though such skills are relevant for a ton of other jobs).
#2. Create a Skills Section
Once you’ve identified all the right skills to add to your resume, create a “Skills” section to list them under. This way, the hiring manager will be able to check whether you have the right skills more easily and the ATS software won’t disqualify your resume.
Here’s what you should remember while making this section:
- Be specific. “Verbal and written communication” sounds significantly better than “communication.”
- Sort your skills by relevance. Order your skills based on how critical they are for the role. More important skills go on top, and the nice-to-have ones go on the bottom.
- Don’t lie or exaggerate. It goes without saying that you should never, ever, lie about your skills. The employer will know you lied the moment you have to work on a task that requires that very skill.
#3. Match Each Skill With Your Proficiency Level
For each skill that you list on your resume, use the competencies proficiency scale to show your proficiency level:
- Beginner. You are just starting to learn or have not practiced the skill through experience (usually fresh graduates that only understand concepts through theories or classroom experience).
- Intermediate. You have applied the skill in practice, and require assistance with it on rare or special occasions. You still have room to grow.
- Advanced. You know your stuff! You don’t need help with the skill anymore. You can also teach beginners how to use it.
- Expert. You are a recognized authority on this skill, the go-to person if anyone has any questions. You have consistently proved to be excellent in this skill. You could even write a whole book about it!
#4. Back-Up Your Skills in Other Resume Sections
Listing your skills in a separate section will only get you so far. After all, everyone else is also doing exactly the same thing.
To take your resume from good to great, you want your most critical skills to “pop” from the get-go and to prove to the hiring manager that you actually possess them.
Here is where the resume summary and work experience sections come in.
The resume summary is a short, 2-3 sentence-long summary of your resume that, done right, shows hiring managers your strongest points as a candidate the moment they lay eyes on your resume.
Positioned right under your contact information section, this is the first place where you can mention that you possess one or two of the most role-critical skills listed in the job description.
Here’s how the resume summary of the line cook example we mentioned above would look in practice:
- Detail-oriented line cook with over 5 years of experience prepping and cooking over 200 Mediterranean cuisine recipes. Collaborative professional who puts the needs of the team first. In my last position, was able to help the chef handle rush hour work of over 100 tables with 100% accuracy and approval rate from our customers.
Once you’ve grabbed the hiring manager’s attention by including your top skills on your resume summary, it’s time to prove that you have them.
The best way to do that? List some accomplishments in your work experience section and explain how utilizing a particular skill helped you achieve them.
Here’s how that would look like in practice:
- Prepped and helped cook food for over 500 customers in the past two years, receiving high praise and positive recommendations for the restaurant continuously.
- Helped restaurant to receive positive reviews for 3 years in a row from Gastronomica magazine for attention to detail and food aesthetics and presentation.
#5. Put Transferable Skills to Use
If you’re an entry-level candidate or if you’re switching careers, you should definitely put transferable skills to use. Transferable skills are not directly related to the job you are applying to but are still useful, as well as relevant to most jobs.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re going for a career change from sales to copywriting. You can benefit from listing at least some of the skills acquired in sales in your copywriter resume, such as:
- Written communication. Both roles involve communication via text. A salesperson needs to send cold emails, while a copywriter has to write newsletter emails.
- Persuasion. A copywriter needs to create copy that drives sales, while a salesperson needs to be persuasive in person.
- Computer skills. Both jobs require some degree of computer knowledge. For a salesperson, that’s using Customer Management Software, while for a copywriter, that’s publishing content online.
150+ Must-Have Skills (for Every Field)
Are you still not sure which skills to mention in your resume? We’ve got you covered.
We compiled a list of some of the most relevant skills on the market in 2023, for all sorts of different fields!
If you happen to possess some of these skills, make sure to mention them in your resume. If not, it’s never too late to learn something new!
#1. Soft Skills
Soft skills are essential for just about any job out there. While they’re not necessarily critical to doing your job well, they ensure that you get along with your coworkers and foster a positive work environment.
When evaluating two candidates with equal hard skills, the hiring manager is always going to pick the one that has better soft skills.
So, it’s very important to mention your soft skills in your resume.
Here are some of the most in-demand soft skills today:
- Time management
- Effective communication
- Emotional intelligence
- Conflict management
- Teamwork skills
- Stress management
- Productivity & Organization
- Critical thinking
- Attention to detail
#2. Marketing Skills
With new technologies developing faster than ever, it becomes essential to move beyond the basics of traditional marketing. Here are some of the most relevant marketing skills these days, including both cutting-edge online tools, as well as classic marketing skills:
- Data analysis
- Web analytics
- HTML & CSS
- Email marketing
- Web scraping
- CRO and A/B Testing
- Data visualization & pattern-finding through critical thinking
- Search Engine and Keyword Optimization
- Project/campaign management
- Social media and mobile marketing
- Paid social media advertisements
- B2B Marketing
- The 4 P-s of Marketing
- Consumer Behavior Drivers
- Brand management
- CMS Tools
#3. Management Skills
As a manager, you need to have the right mix of soft and hard skills.
Below are the management skills needed to not only get the job but to also enhance employee and company productivity in the long run.
- Six Sigma techniques
- The McKinsey 7s Framework
- Porter’s Five Forces
- Emotional Intelligence
- Dealing with work-related stress
- Task delegation
- Technological savviness
- People management
- Business Development
- Strategic Management
- Proposal writing
#4. Sales Skills
The art of selling has stayed the same despite technological advancements. Humans still strive for contact with other humans. Despite channels of communication becoming digital, communication and empathetic skills take priority in the sales industry.
A comprehensive must-have skill list for salespeople includes:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Public speaking
- Lead generation
- Buyer-Responsive selling
- Buyer engagement
- Product knowledge
- Effective communication and sociability
- Social media/digital communication
- Time management
#5. Design Skills
Today, knowing the basics of design does not suffice anymore. To get hired as a designer, you must know how to create killer branded content for the web and for social media channels.
Some of the most important design skills for your resume are:
- Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
- HTML & CSS
- Photo Editing
- Typography: spacing, line height, layout, choosing fonts
- Targeting and marketing through visual communications
- Logo creation
- Digital printing
- Integration of visual communication in social media platforms
- Attention to detail & aesthetics
- Interactive media design
- Color sense & theory
- Ad design
- Active listening
#6. Basic Technical Skills
These are skills that almost everyone working in an office should know. You can put these skills on your resume if you are applying as a secretary, office clerk, or any other type of office employee.
The basic technical office skills include:
- Microsoft Office Pack: Word, Excel, Access, Publisher, Outlook, Powerpoint
- Filing and paper management
- Data entry
- Bookkeeping through Excel or TurboTax
- Research and data analysis
- Basic knowledge of user interface communication
- Technical writing
- Cloud networking and file sharing
#7. Accounting & Finance Skills
Goodbye, filing by hand. Hello, countless platforms and apps. Accountants and financial specialists should familiarize themselves with these skills in order to have a successful career:
- Microsoft Excel (Advanced)
- Enterprise Resource Planning
- Big Data Analysis & SQL
- Know Your Customers (KYC)
- Cognos Analytics (IBM)
- Visual Basic
- Accounting Software
- Revenue recognition
- Anti Money Laundering
- Clear communication
- General business knowledge
- Numerical competence
- Attention to detail
#8. Education Skills
How many times have you witnessed a 50-year-old honorary doctor with three PhDs struggle to play a YouTube video during undergrad or grad school? Teaching methods have evolved, and so have the required skills to be part of the education industry.
Some of the most essential educational skills are:
- Updated curriculum knowledge
- Research & Data analysis
- Educational platforms (software like Elearn)
- Stress management
- Technological & digital literacy
- Critical thinking
#9. Web Development Skills
It seems like there’s new technology popping up every other second now, a good enough reason for web developers to keep updating their skills.
That said, if you are proficient in HTML, CSS, and Java, you pretty much have a leg up on the competition. All other skills on this list derive from or build upon the three basic programming languages. You can learn or improve your web development skills here.
- CSS preprocessors
- Graphic User Interfaces (GUI)
- Git/Version control (Github, GitLab)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Application Programming Interface (API)
- Adobe Photoshop, InDesign
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Responsive design principles
#10. Business Analytics
BAs are very in demand right now by businesses, and for a good reason! They perform an almost magical task of analyzing past and present data to give future predictions. To perform their magic, they need some analytical spells:
- SQL (a must) and Hive (optional)
- Programming language (R, Python, Scala, Matlab)
- STATA, SPSS, SAS
- Data Mapping
- Entity Relationship Diagrams
- Big Data tools
- Microsoft Visio
- Agile Business Analysis
- Machine learning
- System Context Diagrams
- Business Process Modeling
- Technical and non-technical communication
#11. Nursing & Healthcare Skills
More than any other profession, healthcare professionals need to stay constantly updated with new technologies, medicine, and techniques. The skills nursing requires are countless and specific, but the most basic ones boil down to:
- Patient care and assistance
- Paperwork/record-keeping abilities
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
- Attention to detail
- Physical endurance
- Acute care
- Infection control
- Surgery preparation
Bonus Infographic: Skills to Put on a Resume
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions about what skills you should put on your resume (and how)? Check out the answers below:
1. What kind of skills should I include in my resume?
Your resume should include a combination of two types of skills: hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills involve job-specific skills that are acquired through education, training, or work experience, while soft skills involve personality traits that can be indirectly useful at the workplace and help you adapt to the company culture better.
Depending on your industry, some examples of hard skills you can list on your resume include copywriting, database management, graphic design, multilingualism, public speaking, SEO, etc.
Meanwhile, examples of soft skills are communication, creativity, leadership, teamwork, time management, conflict resolution, etc.
2. What top skills do employers look for?
The top hard skills recruiters are on the lookout for include blockchain development, SEO, virtual reality development, data analysis, artificial intelligence, business analysis, Java development, affiliate marketing, UX design, machine learning, project management, video production and editing, sales, and business development.
The top soft skills hiring managers are looking for, on the other hand, are creativity, collaboration, persuasion, adaptability, and emotional intelligence.
3. How can I identify my skills?
Some effective ways to identify your skills before adding them to your resume include:
- Consider your achievements. Did you ever get recognized for a specific achievement? What skills helped you do it? You are probably still skilled in those areas.
- Ask friends and coworkers. Sometimes, it’s easier for others to recognize the strengths that you don't see. Colleagues can definitely be of help but if you’re fresh into the professional world, former professors and classmates can also give you some insight.
4. Where do skills go on a resume?
Skills go under a separate ‘Skills’ section on a resume, typically placed right below, or on the side, of the work experience section.
That said, you can further prove that you possess the skills you list in this section, by weaving the most relevant skills for the job in other resume sections, such as the resume summary and the work experience sections.
5. How many skills to include in my resume?
The number of skills to add to your resume depends on the job you’re applying for, as well as your level of expertise and work history.
If you’re a seasoned professional with plenty of work-related skills, you should definitely include them in your resume. Also, if the job you’re applying for requires a number of skills you possess, it’s safe to include them all in your resume.
As a rule of thumb, listing up to ten skills on your resume is typically a safe choice, as long as they don’t make your resume spill over to page 2.
6. What are the best skills for a candidate with no experience?
Candidates with no experience and few job-specific skills can benefit from adding transferable skills to their resumes. These are skills that can be applied to many jobs across several industries.
Some examples of good skills for a no-experience resume include communication, organization, problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability, work ethic, and computer skills.
7. What’s the best way to list skills on a resume in 2023?
To really impress with your skills in 2023, don’t just list some random skills under a separate section and call it a day! Instead, make them more credible by:
- Finding out more about the company culture.
- Tailoring your skills to the job description.
- Mentioning the most critical skills on your resume summary or resume objective.
- Using your achievements to explain exactly how you used your skills to your advantage.
Let’s sum up everything we’ve learned about putting skills in your resume:
- You must have a section in your resume devoted entirely to your skills. This helps you pass through applicant tracking systems and get noticed by the HR manager.
- The differences between hard skills and soft skills are in the way they are applied (directly vs. indirectly) and the way they are obtained (through education and practice vs. personality traits and experience)
- On your resume, list only skills that are relevant to the job, scan the job listing for must-have skills and list those (if you have them), pair each skill with a responding proficiency level, back up your skills with other resume sections, and mention transferable and universal skills.