Putting together a strong resume that stands out from the pack and lands you an interview can feel a bit like solving a jigsaw puzzle. One of the most challenging aspects of crafting a powerful resume is the skills section. Employers are always on the lookout for job-seekers who have the right mix of both hard and soft skills.
Hard skills are those technical skills that you’ve gained through educational courses, internships, and previous jobs. They can be clearly defined and will vary greatly depending on your particular career field. Soft skills, on the other hand, are more universal and involve interacting with people. Things like critical-thinking, adaptability, organization, and other skills are going to be soft skills.
It’s essential to highlight a healthy balance of both hard and soft skills on your resume. While your hard skills might help get you in the door, your soft skills will play a major factor in your promotability.
Here are five soft skills that are always in demand and will help you stand out:
No matter what job field you work in or how high you climb on the career ladder, you’re going to run into problems along the way. Employers want employees who don’t get deterred by problems, but who meet them head-on, and work to find a solution. The better you are at problem-solving, the more capable you’ll be in each job.
Being organized goes a long way towards being efficient and effective in your work. It’s one work skill where it’s going to become apparent pretty quickly to your employer if you possess it, so if you list it, demonstrate it.
3. Active Listening
Active listening is giving your full attention to the person talking to you. Employers love active listeners, and it means better communication, fewer mistakes, and improved productivity all around. Being an engaged active listener is always an asset, no matter what career field you’re in.
Teamwork probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves because “team player” is such a common resume work skill. However, people who really do have a good teamwork ethic move up more quickly in organizations and become the ones who other employees look to for guidance and leadership.
You’re very likely going to have managerial changes at some point in your job, and they may want to do things differently than the last one. Knowing how to handle adapting to those changes will determine your future in that position.
As far as hard skills that will stand out, there are thousands of different jobs out there, but having one or more hard skills that fit into these categories will apply to a wide range of occupations:
Good “communication” is often one of those work skills that lands in the soft skills category, but so many hard skills fall under this umbrella. You could include copywriting, graphic design, technical writing, digital storytelling, and foreign language skills.
2. Sales and Marketing
Data analytics, SEO, and social media management, are just some of the hard skills that are related to sales and marketing. Employers will be interested in candidates who can help the company acquire more customers or market and sell products more efficiently.
3. Project Management
Knowing how to plan out and see a project through from start to completion using various technologies in your industry is a vital hard skill to have. Different jobs require various project management work skills, such as scheduling, risk management, budgeting, and negotiation.
In today’s world, most occupations require some computer knowledge or proficiency in technology. The list could include everything from Excel to Photoshop, Slack, and programming languages such as Python and Java.
These are work skills that will likely fit into some of the categories above, but are directly specific to your industry. For example, QuickBooks or knowledge of a specific skill in the healthcare or legal fields would be classified as industry-specific hard skills.
Before padding your resume with different skills, make sure you actually possess them. Your resume only has about five seconds to capture an employer’s attention before they hit the “delete” button, so it’s important that you leave skills off that you may not be all that skilled at.
The best approach is to identify which skills are your strongest successes and most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Remember to align the skills section of your resume with the job description and your previous work experience. If you start there, you can’t go wrong.