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10 resume skills guaranteed to get you noticed
CareerBuilder | August 4, 2021
Learn how to make your skills stand out on your resume, showing a mix of soft skills and hard skills to make hiring managers sit up and pay attention.
Your resume is the place where you want your experience to shine. It’s your chance to put yourself in the shop window for a new job and let any hiring manager know that they need to snatch you up before someone else does. Think of it as a sign that says, ‘Hey, look at me, look how good I am, hire me.’
Here we look at how best to showcase your skills and talent in a way that will attract a hiring manager’s attention, turning that resu-may into a resu-must.
How do you identify the skills for your resume?
There are two types of skills worth talking about: soft skills and hard skills. Hiring managers will want to see examples of both, so here’s how you go about finding them.
Soft skills for your resume:
• Communication. Show people that you're a good talker and a good writer. You can get your point across in a professional way.
• Teamwork. Offer evidence of when you’ve worked well with other people and the results you achieved together. It makes the dream work, after all.
• Adaptability. Things change, so prove you can change with them. Maybe your business updated its systems and you helped train your team on how to use them.
• Problem solving. Talk about how you provided solutions to issues, especially if those solutions brought in more money or made something easier.
• Creativity. Let your creative side shine. Some jobs will depend on this, and will want to see how you’ve come up with ideas and brought them to life.
• Work ethic. No one wants to hire a slacker, so leave the hiring manager with no doubts that you’re there to get the job done.
• Interpersonal skills. Are you a good people-person? Can you build strong relationships with both your colleagues and your customers? Prove it.
• Time management. Show how you can work to a schedule, mentioning your organizational skills and how they improved performance.
• Leadership. If you’re looking to move up in your career, leadership skills are a must. Talk about how you’ve led a team in the past or even supported a senior leader when times have been tough.
• Attention to detail. Do you always check your work before it goes out, or do you occasionally forward the wrong email to the wrong person? We won’t tell you again, Keith!
Hard skills for your resume:
• Academic qualifications. Show off your degree(s), you clever goose.
• Industry-specific certification. Some jobs require specialist training, so make sure you include anything the job description asks for.
• Coding ability. If you’re applying for a developer job, there’s a good chance you’ll need to know how to code. Mention specifics and be sure to link to any websites that prove your talent.
• Marketing. Explain how you can sell a product, craft a campaign or manage a pitch. Things like SEO, copywriting and art direction shine here.
• Project management. This is a hard skill that lots of companies are after, so be sure to talk about how you can run a team, liaise with stakeholders and get things done on time.
• Technical skills. Does the job description ask for anything specific? If so, tell them how you do it. Maybe they want accounting ability or knowledge of a particular system.
• Management. Talk about the leadership courses you’ve attended, any conflict resolution you’ve overseen and any fantastic results you helped your team achieve.
The best way to present your skills on your resume
How you show off your skills will determine whether they make eyes glaze over or mouths drop open. It can be easy to hide skills within other sections, but you need to make them stand out to grab the hiring manager’s attention.
1. Start with a dedicated skills section.
2. Save a space on your resume for skills to live. Bullet-point the skills you offer, making them easy for people to read.
3. These bullet points don’t have to be too in-depth. See our examples below:
• Wrote copy for a cultural campaign that took over the city, with words appearing on posters, billboards and TV ads.
• Led a team of writers during my manager’s paternity leave, onboarding new staff and getting all team members up-to-date with agency procedures.
• Crafted new brand guidelines for a famously difficult client, ensuring all work lived up to their expectations and prevented future relationship breakdowns.
Give yourself a tagline
The top of your resume used to be reserved for your name and contact details, but now it’s a place for your skills . Beneath your name, write a line that summarises what you do. It could be as simple as, ‘A dedicated project manager with extensive experience of team management and procedural compliance,’ or something more detailed that mentions specific regulations you’ve helped implement.
Just think: what would a hiring manager like to see here? What one line can you say that will make your resume pop?
Match your skills to the job description
Read the job description, then read it again. What skills is it asking for? What skills do you offer that might put you one step ahead?
This is especially important for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), the computer programs that can sometimes see your resume before any human. These will be set up to look for keywords that match the job description, and if your resume doesn’t include them, it might go straight in the trash.
Why should you put your skills on your resume?
The skills section of your resume shows a hiring manager that you’ve got what they’re looking for. It’s often the first thing they look at when they receive your application, helping them decide if you’re good enough to move onto the next stage of the hiring process.
In short, skills matter.
If a recruiter looks at nothing else but your skills section, you’ve still got a chance, especially if you’ve matched your skills to the ones they’re looking for. (More on that later.)
Skills on your resume can also be a good opportunity to showcase your work. You can include links to projects you’ve worked on, or to your portfolio if you work in a creative field. Skills don’t just have to say what you’ve done — they can also show it, and with paper resumes quickly becoming a thing of the past, a digital version gives you a great chance to showcase what you’re about.
How to show your skills on your resume
(depending on the job you want).
The way you showcase your skills will change depending on the job you’re applying for. Different hiring managers will want to see different things, and you should always check the job description to make sure the skills you’re talking about are the things they’re after.
Take a look at some of our most popular jobs to see the kind of skills that should be highlighted for each one.
1. Customer Service Representative:
• Customer service
This one might not surprise you — people looking for Customer Service Representatives want them to be good at customer service! You should highlight this skill by giving examples of how you’ve used it. Maybe you handled a difficult customer, maybe you achieved excellent retention rates.
Whatever it is, now’s the time to show off your service skills.
They’ll also want to see that you can sell a product, which is where both sales and marketing experience will come in handy.
See our Customer Service Representative jobs
2. Sales Representative:
• Customer service
• Insurance sales
Sales managers want to see proof you can sell, but they also want to know about your customer service ability. Customer service doesn’t just mean dealing with complaints or handling calls — often it’s about the softer side of work, speaking to people, calming them down and guiding them through the sales process.
If you can talk to someone, you can sell to them as well.
See all our Sales Representative jobs
3. Advertising Sales Executive:
• Relationship building
• Business development
In ad land, upselling your services to clients and developing strong relationships is key. That’s why, when it comes to Advertising Sales Executives, relationship building and business development are such valuable traits. If you can show how you’ve worked with clients in the past, how you’ve brought campaigns to life and, ultimately, how you’ve made your business money, your resume will jump to the top of the pile.
See all our Advertising Sales Executive jobs
4. Retail Merchandiser:
These are the foundations of any good Retail Merchandiser, hiring managers want to see solid experience in the full product journey. Show them you can take stock, manage inventory and ultimately sell it to your customers, taking a product from the pallet to the purchase.
See all our Retail Merchandiser jobs
5. Insurance Sales Agent:
• Customer service
• Customer retention
• Being coachable
Another job that wants to see your customer service skills is that of an Insurance Sales Agent. As a general rule of thumb, if you can sell one product, you can sell them all, so proving that you’re good with people will put you in a good position for this kind of work.
Hiring managers would also like to see that you can keep customers on board, helping them renew their contracts instead of switching to a competitor. Finally, show them that you’re willing to learn. They want to hire talent they can train to be the best.
See all our Insurance Sales Agent jobs
6. Data Entry Clerk:
• Data entry
• Customer service
A shocker, we know! Data entry isn’t a job everyone’s cut out for. It involves a good grasp of numbers and lots of patience, so showcasing both of these skills on your resume will be a plus. You might also want to detail the kinds of tools and programs you’ve used in previous roles, as well as any knowledge of dealing with customers and typing.
If you can do all that at the same time, well done.
See all our Data Entry Clerk jobs
7. Retail Sales Associate:
• Customer service
When you’re working on a retail floor, you have to deal with customers in all frames of mind. From the ones who are delighted at how your products work to those who think they deserve a better deal just because they shout.
Showing you can deal with all kinds of people and temperaments will help your resume stand out and get people shouting for all the right reasons. You should also mention your sales ability, including how you’ve helped market products through in-store displays or face-to-face selling.
See all our Retail Sales Associate jobs
8. IT Project Manager:
• Project management
Want to be an IT Project Manager? Show people you can manage projects and get things done on time without causing the whole system to crash because you clicked on a sketchy link. (We’re looking at you, Keith.) Your resume should also give evidence of your leadership skills and how you handle operations. Can you direct an entire IT team? Can you support huge infrastructure projects? Can you help people when they forget their passwords at the same time?
See all our IT Project Manager jobs
9. Forklift Operator:
• Complying with procedures
• Operating instructions
• Forklift training
Driving a forklift can be dangerous, so proving that you can lift heavy weights safely will work in your favor. Mention the rules you’ve followed or even the systems you’ve helped put in place to make things less risky. While saying how you’ve complied with OSHA 29 CFR 1910.178(I) might sound really dull in most conversations, on your resume it will look incredible.
You should highlight all the forklift training you’ve received too, showing you’re ready to get on with the job as soon as you start.
See all our Forklift Operator jobs
• Communication with candidates
• Identifying potential candidates
This is one we know on a personal level. Finding the best talent is just part of a Recruiter’s job. Keeping them up to date on the process is just as important. Too many good candidates are put off from a job by a lack of communication, so show the hiring manager how you avoid this problem.
Talk about how you work with your clients. Show them an example of how you’ve headhunted or hired the best in your field. Show off just how good your communication is, from finding the right person to securing them a position.
See all our Recruiter jobs
If you’ve got the skills, we’ll help you pay the bills
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