Skills to Put on a Resume

In today’s competitive job market, your resume is more than just a list of jobs and education; it’s a strategic tool to market your unique skill set. PSCI emphasizes the significance of showcasing a balanced blend of hard and soft skills to create a compelling profile that stands out to employers.

This article delves into the most in-demand skills you should highlight on your resume. In an ever-evolving professional landscape, certain skills have emerged as particularly valuable across various industries. These range from technical proficiencies to interpersonal abilities, each playing a critical role in your career advancement.

Importance of Showcasing Both Hard and Soft Skills

  • Hard Skills: These are the technical skills on a resume and knowledge essential for specific jobs. They are often learned through education, training, or experience and are easily quantifiable.
  • Soft Skills: These are the personal attributes and interpersonal resume skills that determine your ability to work and interact effectively with others. They are sometimes referred to as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills.”

What You’ll Learn in this Article

We will cover key top skills listed categories, providing examples for each. The goal is to help you identify and articulate these relevant skills effectively in your resume, ensuring you present a well-rounded and appealing professional profile to potential employers. Whether you’re entering the job market for the first time or looking to make a career change, understanding what skills are most valued today can give you a significant advantage.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Definitions and Differences Between Hard and Soft Skills

In the context of building a successful career, understanding the distinction between hard skills and soft skills is crucial. Each plays a vital role in your professional development and is highly valued by employers in different ways.

Hard Skills: Technical Abilities and Knowledge

Hard skills are the specific technical abilities and knowledge that you gain through education, training, and experience. They are quantifiable and easily demonstrable. Examples include:

  • Programming languages: Such as Python, Java, or C++.
  • Software proficiency: Expertise in tools like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, or specific industry-related software.
  • Technical certifications: Certificates obtained from recognized institutions or online platforms that validate your expertise in a particular area.

Soft Skills: Personality Traits and People Skills

Soft skills, on the other hand, are more subjective and relate to your personal attributes and interpersonal skills. They are often innate but can also be developed over time. These examples of soft skills include:

  • Communication skills: Both verbal and written, crucial for effectively conveying ideas and information.
  • Leadership qualities: The ability to inspire, motivate, and guide others.
  • Problem-solving abilities: Being able to effectively address and resolve issues that arise.

Why Both Types Are Valued by Employers

Employers value both hard and soft skills because they collectively define a well-rounded employee. While hard skills are essential for performing specific job functions, soft skills are equally important as they determine how you interact with colleagues, handle challenges, and contribute to the workplace culture. PSCI emphasizes that a balance of both sets of skills on your resume can significantly enhance your attractiveness as a candidate, showcasing not only your professional qualifications but also your potential as a team player and leader.

Key Hard Skills for Your Resume

Technical Skills

Technical skills are the bedrock of many professional roles, particularly in our increasingly digital world. Examples include:

  • Data Analysis: The ability to gather, interpret, and use data effectively. This skill is crucial in roles ranging from marketing to finance.
  • Computer Skills: Proficiency in using computers, which can encompass everything from basic office software to more complex programming.
  • Software Expertise: Familiarity with specific software relevant to your role. For instance, graphic designers might showcase their skills in Adobe Creative Suite, while accountants might highlight their expertise in QuickBooks.

Analytical Skills

The capacity to analyze information, think critically, and solve problems is highly valued across various industries. Examples of analytical skills include:

  • Research: The ability to gather and process information effectively.
  • Data Interpretation: Understanding and making sense of data, often using specialized software.
  • Critical Thinking: The ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas.
  • Problem-Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Mathematical Skills

Mathematical skills are essential in many fields, particularly in roles involving financial responsibilities. Key examples include:

  • Budget Analysis: Managing budgets and financial planning.
  • Financial Modeling: Creating abstract representations of financial decision-making situations.
  • Data Visualization: Presenting data in a graphical format, like charts or graphs, to make the information easier to understand.

Certifications & Training

Formal education and certifications provide tangible proof of your hard skills. These can include:

  • Degrees: Academic qualifications, especially those relevant to your field, should be highlighted.
  • Additional Credentials: Any certifications or training that prove competency in a specific area. For instance, a project manager might include their PMP (Project Management Professional) certification, while an IT professional might list their CompTIA or Cisco certifications.

Incorporating these hard skills into your resume, as advised by PSCI, demonstrates to potential employers that you have the practical expertise and training necessary to excel in your chosen field.

Top Soft Skills for Your Resume

Communication Skills

Effective communication is paramount in almost every aspect of the workplace. Key communication skills to list include on your resume are:

  • Written Communication: The ability to convey ideas clearly and concisely in written form, such as emails, reports, and proposals.
  • Verbal Communication: Effective spoken communication skills, crucial for meetings, presentations, and everyday interactions.
  • Presentation Skills: The ability to present information in a clear, structured, and engaging manner.
  • Negotiation and Persuasion: Skills involved in discussing, persuading, and coming to mutual agreements, essential in sales, management, and various other roles.

Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills relate to how you interact with others. They include:

  • Emotional Intelligence: The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
  • Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others, essential for teamwork and customer relations.
  • Networking: Building and maintaining professional relationships.
  • Collaboration: Working effectively with others to achieve a common goal.

Organizational Skills

These skills are all about how you structure your workday and tasks. They include:

  • Time Management: Efficiently managing your time to meet deadlines and balance various tasks.
  • Prioritization: The ability to discern what tasks are most important and address them accordingly.
  • Scheduling: Effectively planning your activities and appointments.
  • Goal-Setting: Setting clear, achievable objectives for yourself and potentially for others.

Leadership Skills

Even if you’re not in a management role, leadership skills are highly valued. They include:

  • Mentoring and Coaching: Guiding and supporting the development of others.
  • Conflict Resolution: The ability to peacefully resolve disputes and disagreements.
  • Decision-Making: Making informed and effective decisions, often under pressure.

Adaptability Skills

In a fast-changing work environment, being adaptable is key. Include skills such as:

  • Dependability: Being reliable and responsible in fulfilling obligations.
  • Stress Management: The ability to stay calm and effective under pressure.
  • Creative Problem-Solving: Innovatively addressing challenges and finding solutions.

PSCI advises that highlighting these soft skills on your resume can significantly enhance your attractiveness as a candidate. They demonstrate not just your professional capabilities, but also your potential as a collaborative and adaptable team member.

How to Showcase Your Skills

When crafting a resume, it’s not just about listing your skills; it’s about showcasing them in a way that aligns with the job you’re applying for. PSCI emphasizes the importance of strategically presenting your skills to the job to make your resume stand out.

Tailor Skills to Job Description

  • Match the Keywords: Scrutinize the job description and identify the key skills required. Align your skills with these keywords, as many employers use applicant tracking systems that scan for these specific terms.
  • Relevance is Key: Only include skills that are relevant to the job. Adding unrelated skills can dilute the impact of your qualifications.

Create Designated Skills Section

  • Clear Segmentation: Create a separate section on your resume specifically for skills. This makes it easy for hiring managers to quickly assess your abilities.
  • Categorize Wisely: Divide your skills into categories, such as technical, analytical, and interpersonal, for clarity and organization.

Provide Examples Demonstrating Proficient Skill Application

  • Contextualize with Achievements: Under each listed skill, provide a brief example or achievement that demonstrates how you’ve effectively used that skill in a professional setting.
  • Quantify Achievements: Where possible, quantify these achievements with numbers or specific outcomes to add credibility.
  • Use Action Verbs: Start each example with strong action verbs like ‘developed’, ‘managed’, ‘created’, or ‘implemented’ to make your contributions clear and impactful.


Why Are Skills Important for Resumes?

  • Demonstrate Capability: Skills are a crucial component of your resume as they demonstrate your ability to perform the job effectively.
  • Match Job Requirements: They help align your profile with the specific requirements of the job, showing the employer that you have what it takes to succeed.
  • Stand Out: In a competitive job market, a well-crafted skills section can set you apart from other candidates.

What Skills Are Employers Looking For Today?

  • Technical Proficiency: Depending on the role, employers may look for specific technical skills like programming languages, software proficiency, or data analysis.
  • Soft Skills: Skills like communication, leadership, problem-solving, and adaptability are universally valued across various industries.
  • Industry-Specific Skills: Certain roles may require specialized skills unique to that industry or field.

How Many Skills Should You List?

  • Quality over Quantity: It’s better to list fewer skills that are highly relevant to the job than a long list of less pertinent ones.
  • 5-10 Skills: A good rule of thumb is to include around 5-10 key skills. This allows you to cover a range of abilities without overwhelming the employer.

What’s the Best Way to Structure the Skills Section?

  • Clear Heading: Start with a clear heading like ‘Skills’ or ‘Core Competencies’.
  • Categorization: Group skills into categories (e.g., Technical, Interpersonal, Analytical) for easy readability.
  • Prioritize: List the most relevant and important skills first.
  • Use Bullet Points: Present each skill as a bullet point for clarity and easy scanning.

PSCI advises that a strategically crafted skills section on your resume can significantly enhance your job application, making it easier for employers to see how well you fit the job requirements.

Contact PSCI Today

As you’ve learned in this article, articulating the right skills on your resume is a critical step in your job search journey. Whether it’s showcasing your technical prowess, highlighting your impressive soft skills, or structuring your skills section effectively, each element plays a vital role in making your resume stand out.

  • Recap of Key Points:
    • Tailor Your Skills: Align your skills with the job description to show that you’re the perfect fit for the role.
    • Balance Hard and Soft Skills: Demonstrate a blend of technical abilities and interpersonal skills.
    • Be Selective: Choose skills that are most relevant and impactful, focusing on quality rather than quantity.
    • Showcase with Examples: Use specific instances where you’ve applied your skills successfully.
    • Structure Effectively: Organize your skills section for clarity and easy readability.

Now that you are equipped with this knowledge, the next step is to put it into practice. If you feel you need more guidance or personalized advice, PSCI is here to help.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance in crafting a compelling skills section for your resume. Our team of experts can provide you with tailored advice and support to enhance your resume and boost your chances of landing your dream job.

Contact PSCI at (302) 479-9700. Let us help you make your resume the best it can be, showcasing your unique talents and skills to potential employers. Your next career opportunity awaits, and we’re here to help you seize it.

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