What Skills to Put on a Resume

The skills section of your resume is usually what HR managers pay the most attention to when deciding whether you should be moved on to the next step in the hiring process. To start off, let’s take a look at this list of commonly used skills in resumes to get an idea of what they might be:

  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Computer skills
  • Written communication
  • Leadership 
  • Business analysis
  • Customer service
  • Management 
  • Video production
  • Creativity
  • UX design
What Skills to Put on a Resume

Before you simply take some of these skills and use them on your resume, remember that it is not that simple. You will need to maintain the balance between providing recruiters with all the information they need, while making it as specific as possible, and making sure to keep things short and concise.

This article will help you write the perfect skills section so you catch the attention of the hiring manager and secure an interview.

Types of skills

First, let’s talk about the two types of skills every resume should include: hard and soft skills

  • Hard skills are the technical, industry specific skills that you were trained in. This can be proficiency using specific software, ability to speak various languages or various certifications. These are usually measurable and you probably already have an idea of which ones you possess. 
  • Soft skills are social or creative skills that depend more on your personality and develop over time. Some examples of soft skills are time management, leadership and problem solving. They are not simple to teach, which makes them more valuable to employers, however they are also more difficult to measure. This is why it’s important to not simply list soft skills, but to also provide some specific examples of how you demonstrated these abilities. We will go over how to do this under ‘Adding skills to your resume’. 
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Choosing skills to add

  1. Tailor to the job you’re applying for. Many companies now use ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems. These programs automatically sift through thousands of resumes and search for keywords in them. Without the right keywords, your resume can end up filtered out before a human even sees it. This is why these days it is even more important to match your skill list to the job. Read the job description and requirements carefully to figure out what they are looking for, and select the skills you have that match this description. You will find phrases such as “Attention to detail is required” or “You will need to proactively communicate with supervisors”. Of course, it goes without saying that you should only include the skills you possess. Just try to use similar wording as the job listing. 
  2. Be specific. Avoid using generic terms, for example, simply listing “Marketing” as a skill is too vague. Instead, write what you specialize in or have experience with for example: content creation, market research, web analytics, etc. For software, use the names of the specific programs you are proficient in.
  3. Add your proficiency level. Ideally, include some measure of the skill. For example, with languages, you should include your level using some kind of commonly accepted proficiency scale, such as the Common European Framework (A1-C2). If you have certifications, such as in CPR, you should also include the level you were trained in. 

Adding skills to your resume

Now that we’ve figured out how to choose which skills we need on the resume, let’s figure out how to add them in. First, keep in mind the rule of quality over quantity. It is recommended to add at least four, but no more than ten skills to this section. 

When formatting your resume, one of your priorities should be making it as clear as possible, so potential employers can find what they need quickly. To save space, consider listing your skills in 2-3 columns of bullet points. For example: 


  • Proficient in Adobe suite
  • Fluent in both English and French
  • Excellent communicator
  • Leadership experience
  • Proven negotiation skills
  • Attention to detail

In addition to listing the skills separately, you should also weave them into the Work Experience section. Choose the most important skills for the job you’re applying for and focus on them. For example, if the position mentions multitasking as a key skill, you can add this as a skill in your list, and also prove that you have this skill by mentioning how you had to multitask in your work experience section. If it’s leadership – add how many people you supervised. 

You can also use this in your cover letter and add a story demonstrating specific soft skills. For example, a story about how you negotiated a deal with a difficult client. Using this story, you can prove your communication, negotiation, patience and sales skills. 

In conclusion, the best skills to add to your resume depend on your field, the type of job, and your own experience. Just remember that the main goal of listing your skills is proving to your potential employer that you are a good fit for the position. By identifying what is needed for the work, and connecting that to your own strengths, you will get the attention of the hiring manager. 

Make sure you perfect your resume and also write a good summary before submitting your application in response to job ads. Applying for jobs is not easy, but with the right research and attitude, you’ll be sure to land the job you deserve. Good luck!

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