How To Choose The Skills You List On Your Resume

How To Choose The Skills You List On Your Resume

If a hiring manager had all the time in the world, you could have a five-page resume that lists every skill you have. However, no manager is willing or able to spend hours reading through a resume when there are hundreds of others to get through. An effective resume is short and sweet, which means you need to pick only a few of your skills and include them. But which skills should you include? Find out which skills belong on your resume and which ones you can leave out.

Understanding the Skill Types

Before you know which skills to include on your resume, you should be familiar with the various categories of them. All resume skills fall under one of two categories - hard skills and soft skills. Both are helpful for a resume, but you want a certain balance of the two.

Hard skills are those you learn through direct experience or education. Typically, the results of these skills are tangible and easy to measure. If you’re in the field of accounting, financial analysis might be one of your hard skills. You probably have specific numbers you can use to display your prowess with analysis or any other hard skill.

Meanwhile, soft skills aren’t as easy to measure. They’re often closer to personality traits than they are physical skills. As a general rule, soft skills determine your work style and affect your productivity in the workplace. Soft skills may include communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.

What’s the Best Type?

If you want to impress a hiring manager, you need to include soft skills and hard skills. Although most job applicants tend to focus on hard skills, hiring managers care about your soft skills just as much.

When you’re writing your resume, be sure to include soft skills mixed in with your hard skills. No matter what industry you’re in, the hiring manager will appreciate having the combination.

Tips for Picking and Choosing the Skills

As you work on your resume, follow these tips to help you pick your skills:

Read the Job Listings

If you don’t read the job listings closely, you won’t be able to pick out the right skills. You might need to include skills X,Y, and Z for one job listing. But another job listing could require a resume with skills U, V, and W.

There should be a few noticeable keywords in the job listing. When you notice those words, try to include them as skills on your resume. Just be sure not to overuse the keywords. There’s a fine balance between highlighting your skills and pandering too much to the hiring manager.

If you have a hard time picking out skills, print out the job listing and grab a highlighter. Look for words that describe the company’s ideal employee, and highlight them. Then, read through the highlighted words and decide which ones describe you. Write them down, and you have a list of skills to incorporate into your resume.

Research the Employer

A little research on the target employer’s website or social media accounts could uncover a few other keywords. If you see any words they commonly use to describe their employees, use them as skills on your resume. Read about the company’s mission statement and check out the “About Us” section of its website. By reading about the skills and qualifications of the company’s employees, you can better understand what they want from you.

In addition to helping you pick your skills, researching the employer helps you throughout the hiring process. If you receive an interview, you can use your knowledge of the company to give you an edge over the competition.Take notes and refresh your memory before the interview.

Think Back to the Past

Are you having a hard time picking out skills to add to your resume? If you’re new to the job market or are switching careers, you may struggle to come up with applicable skills. To find the right skills, you need to think back to previous experiences.

Did you ever volunteer for an organization or work on a project in college? If so, the skills you used in those situations could apply to your desired position. Even though you used those skills in the past, you still have them. While you want your resume to be recent, you might not have a choice. An employer would rather see a skill from ten years ago than no skill at all.

See What Others Have to Say

It’s always useful to see what other job candidates have on their resumes. If you want to know what other successful professionals in your industry have as their skills, check out a few resumes on LinkedIn. Are there a few skills that every person seems to mention? You don’t want to copy a resume directly, but use them for ideas.

Don’t Lie

As tempted as you might be to exaggerate the truth on your resume, don’t do it. The truth will come out eventually, and it could result in you losing a job offer or being fired after you start work. If you’re only slightly skilled at something, you can include your skill level. An employer will appreciate your honesty.

When it comes to the hiring process, transparency is crucial. If you don’t have the skill set that an employer wants, there are ways around it. Mention in your cover letter that you have an interest in building that skill, or add a sentence about it somewhere in your resume.

Know the Magic Number

Under the “Skills” section of your resume, include about 10 to 15 skills. If you add too many skills, the hiring manager won’t pay attention to the number. Come up with an expansive list of your skills, then shorten it to the most relevant or desired skills.

These tips won’t guarantee you a callback, but they can help. If you want a chance at an interview, you need to have the right skills on your resume.

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