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Excellent Key Skills to Include In A Resume

If you’re job hunting, your resume can significantly influence the kind of opportunities you land. 

That’s because it’s only with a well-drafted resume that you can create a great first impression for a role. Resume writing is an essential part of interview preparation, especially if you’re considering preparing for interviews at the biggest firms. As such, an important part of FAANG interview preparation involves crafting a well-documented and crisp resume that perfectly highlights your experience and career highs. (For the starters, FAANG organizations stand for Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google.)

So, how do you go about creating the perfect resume - perhaps one that evidently stands out and sets you on course to land your dream job?  Well, in this article, our focus isn’t on helping you create a full-fledged resume, but on how to fill-out the skill section in your resume.  The skill section on your resume can be quite the differential factor, which can indeed help you crack technical interviews.

We've mentioned below a list of key skills to include in resumes for various professions.

Excellent Key Skills to Include on a Resume

Why is the skill section in a resume so important, you may ask? Well, while your past experiences including your stints with previous organizations matter to employers, it is your skills that eventually attract their attention. Your skills will highlight the value you will bring in, and your ability to accomplish tasks.

The skills section in your resume must elucidate your hard skills and soft skills separately. Most importantly, it must also draw attention to how these skills added value to your past roles in previous organizations.. 

Below is a detailed breakup of Hard and Soft skills to put on your resume and how highlighting the best skills on your resume can be significantly impactful.

Hard skills to put on a resume

Hard skills are technical skills that you would've acquired through studying or working. It includes your formal training that’s specific to your industry, and can be measured through degrees/ diplomas, and additional certifications that you’ve obtained over time. 

Examples of hard skills: Include data analysis, foreign languages, database management, marketing campaign management, financial analysis, and so on. 

Below are technical skills to put in your resume, and how to best highlight them for potential employers. We’ve listed them for different industries.

IT Hard Skills

The best way to prepare for an interview in the IT sector is to have a well-tailored resume. Here’s how you can create yours. 

●        Programming languages: For a successful career in IT, learn your languages thoroughly. Yes, we really mean it. The more you know about Python, JAVA, JavaScript, C++, and other languages, the better are your chances to rise higher in your career. Make proper note of all languages that you have working knowledge about, and place it on your resume. 

o   Machine Learning (ML): Your language expertise will also enhance your Artificial Intelligence and ML knowledge. These are in-demand skills so don’t miss these whatsoever.

●        Open-Source Experience: As hard skills, also highlight your familiarity with open-source programming. Many organizations use open-source codes with modifications; your working knowledge can be an added advantage  to your overall experience.

●        Debugging: As an IT professional, bugs give you nightmares, don’t they? List your debugging skills explicitly because a person who can find errors and fix them is the ‘ideal candidate’ IT recruiters are interested in.  

●        UX/UI: Research, prototyping, visual communication, collaboration, and wire-framing: Besides coding, these are the  essentials of front and back-end development. Do we need to elaborate further? 

●        Web Development: To build and manage websites effectively, as a web developer, you need to have extensive  understanding of HTML and CSS, JavaScript, elements that create responsive and adaptive web designs, and testing and debugging skills. Highlight these on your resume and see how well they work in your favor.

●        Cloud management: As an admin, list your cloud computing experience by appropriately highlighting the different tools you have used, different activities you managed, and your backup and recovery strategies that came in handy during a fault. Your Google interview preparation is incomplete without this.

●        Security: Companies don’t wait for their web assets to be under attack to think about their security. It is the onus of IT professionals to ensure that all assets are duly secured. From firewall security to DDoS protection, highlight your understanding of different security concepts and how your efforts made a difference.

●        Agile Development: Irrespective of the agile development phase you have specifically worked on, highlight your knowledge level and how you created the best collaborative solutions for your organization to ease cross-functional coordination.

Technical Skills on a Resume for Engineering and other Technical Jobs 

As an engineer in the manufacturing, software, or mechanical industry, a few good skills to put on a resume can include the below. Check how many you possess and at what level.

●        STEM Skills: To use technology and apply design thinking, STEM skills are not only essential to apply  for base-level technical jobs, but also move to higher positions. Highlight your science, technology, engineering and math skills on your resume to build a strong case for getting selected

●        CAD: Sound knowledge of design principles, manufacturing processes and computer skills are noteworthy when listing technical skills in this domain.

o   SolidWorks: List your SolidWorks experience and how it helped you to create designs faster and in a professional manner – from the beginning to the end. Your working knowledge of this tool will definitely interest your recruiter.

o   Prototyping: In addition to the above, list your hands-on experience on creating prototypes, and your suggested design changes that resulted in better outcomes than planned.

●        Testing and Troubleshooting: No technical task is complete without proper testing and debugging. Make note of all such instances where your eye for detail saved the day for the project.

●        Lean Manufacturing: Are you familiar with the principles of lean manufacturing? Your experience in this domain could seal the deal in your next interview. 

Hard Skills for Sales, Retail, and Customer Service Jobs

Sales, retail and customer service jobs are primarily end-user facing profiles, and therefore, hard skills are centered on making customers happy. The hard and soft skills in this domain majorly overlap - we have, nonetheless, tried to highlight a few core-skills that you can include in the list of technical skills.

●        Product knowledge: Deep understanding of the product you are selling or offering support to is necessary and needs to be listed on the top. Remember to note down different versions of the product/service you’re familiar with for better impact during the screening process. 

●        POS Skills: Most retail outlets use Point of Sale systems to manage inventory, generate bills, print receipts, etc. Your working knowledge of a POS system (device and software) can come in handy while preparing for a retail job. Name the systems you have used and highlight your familiarity level in using the different features.

o   Cashier skills: Additionally, mention your cash management, financial transaction, and record-keeping skills to interest your recruiter.

●        Lead qualification: The foremost technical skill for a professional in the sales domain is the creation and use of a lead scoring model. Mention your experience in this as a key hard skill on your resume. Quantify the outcomes of such a model on your achievements.

o   Customer needs analysis: Based on your lead scoring funnel, you should be able to analyze your customers and create personalized channels to engage them better. List all the campaigns you executed and quantify the outcomes.

o   Increasing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): A satisfactory outcome of a successful lead qualification strategy is increasing the CLV. This not only reduces customer acquisition costs but also keeps satisfied customers associated with brands for longer. Don’t miss to list your achievements in this regard.

o   Referral marketing: Also, include your referral marketing strategy outcomes as a follow-up to your lead qualification skills.

●        Contract negotiation: As a sales and customer service professional, you must also have decent contract negotiation skills. From procuring resources to entering into agreements with your clients and customers, you’ll need hard skills to keep the ball rolling. 

●        CRM Software (Salesforce, Hubspot, Zoho, Freshsales): Irrespective of whether you’re a sales professional or a customer service manager – working knowledge of customer relationship management software is a must-have on your resume. List the CRM platforms you have worked on and your familiarity with their different features.

General Management and Project Management skills for Resume

In the role of a project manager, you’ll not only be managing your team but also the project in hand. From analyzing the requirements to project ideation, from delegating tasks to maintaining the lifecycle and delivering with zero defects – it is all your onus and you need to prepare yourself for that. Here are some key management skills that you can include

●        Project Lifecycle Management (PLM): The foremost technical skill that every project manager needs to appropriately highlight on their resumes is PLM. List your accomplishments across the different stages: initiation, planning, execution, and delivery. All the accolades you won with your high-quality resource and financial planning, your risk management abilities, your assessment of project spend against the budget – this is the space where you need to highlight them all.

●        Agile: Particularly relevant in software development and generally used elsewhere as well, Agile is the iterative approach or methodology that managers follow to quickly build their projects, fix errors, improve the components, and finally deliver results as per expectations. When put on your resume, Agile will help your hiring manager to trust your project management skills.

o   Scrum: As an Agile methodology, Scrum is a major technical skill to include on your CV, which will show your collaborative, organizational, and problem-solving skills to your potential employer. 

o   Managing cross-functional teams: As a part of Agile management, you can also note down your cross-functional team management abilities on your resume. This will highlight your leadership and delegation skills and ensure that you come across as a responsible manager. 

●        Contract management: If the company that you are applying to works with third-party agencies or individuals, highlighting your contract management skills will prove handy. From recommending and procuring talent to negotiating deals with candidates to managing contracts, emphasize on each and how they added value to your role.

●        Budget and scheduling: As a project manager, you’ll need to estimate the budget as well as the time-frame to deliver a project. To do this, you’d need to apply your knowledge of calculating costs, profit and loss, and also define the milestones in the project. Underline your achievements in this area and refine your skill section on the resume.  

Skills to list on Resume for Nursing and Healthcare Professionals

As a healthcare professional, you’ll need to apply your academic learning to real-life situations, day in and out. Below are a few key hard skills every nurse must qualify with.

●        Patient care: Goes without saying that this is the primary responsibility of a nurse and every healthcare professional in general. Patient care may vary depending on the case; from standard medical care (physical examinations, wound dressing) to critical care (bedridden patients or people with a terminal illness) to emergency patients (accident cases) nurses are expected to provide all.

o   Phlebotomy: As a phlebotomist, you’d need to be an expert with placing cannulas and drawing blood for examination/ donation, removing extra blood cells, or facilitating transfusion.

o   Rehabilitation therapy: As a nurse, you may get opportunities to assist in rehabilitation therapies of patients. Although such sessions are always supervised by trained therapists, you may, nonetheless, assist your patients with following instructions and helping them exercise. 

o   Hygiene assistance: For critical patients, nurses also have to provide hygiene assistance, such as helping them to brush their teeth, dress up, and general grooming support. You can quantify your achievements for a better impression.

●        Patient assessment: This is a quintessential skill for every nurse, typically characterized by speed and accuracy. Taking the vital signs (body temperature, pulse rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, glucose checks, etc.), assessing the pain, obtaining the medical history, and systematically documenting the findings are a few of the skills to be listed here.

●        Recording patient medical history: For patients to continue enjoying the benefits of treatment, it’s critical that the medical history is duly recorded and stored. Nurses can offer absolute help in this; from correctly entering the patient’s personal information to recording past illnesses/ allergies, and from mentioning the insurance service entitled to the patient to emergency contact details – every bit counts.   

o   With electronic medical records (EMR) now available, nurses are now electronically recording the medical history of patients. This makes it essential for them to also be familiar with operating computers and specific EMR platforms where records are stored. 

●        Medicine administration: To enable patients to recover completely, nurses need to administer medicines timely and appropriately. To do this, in-depth knowledge of the medicine as well as the route of administering the medicine is important. Oral, nasal, ocular, and injection – you need to be well-versed with all of them.

●        Medical imaging: As a radiology nurse, you’d be around your patient when they go in for a radiology procedure (X-ray, CT scan, MRI, ECG, EEG, etc.). From preparing the patient for a test to administering medicines and injections before or after a procedure to ensuring the radiation safety of the patient – you’d be responsible for it all.

Technical Skills for Advertising and Marketing Professionals

If you are planning to take up a job in advertising or digital marketing, you’d need to have a good working knowledge of the below.

●        Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO helps website owners to boost traffic on their websites and thereby improve search rankings in the process. A professional with good SEO skills plays around with keywords relevant to their domain and brings in web traffic by helping a website to rank high in search engine results. 

Quantify your SEO skills (non-paid or organic marketing) by showcasing how your understanding of META tags, keywords and key-phrases, use of the different SEO tools (Google Analytics, content publishing platforms, etc.), and tactics for on-page and off-page optimization, helped websites to boost ranking and sales. 

●        Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM, including PPC, is a paid-marketing tactic wherein SEM specialists bid on high-ranking keywords relevant to their domain, to help their websites rank on top of all organic and paid search results. As for must-haves, SEM experts must be familiar with competitor analysis, campaign creation techniques, and leverage the best bids to drive web traffic to their landing pages (websites), which convert into sales.

Don’t miss to quantify your conversion rate optimization (CRO) and cost per click (CPC) success rates. Also, mention how your A/B testing skills drove your campaigns to fetch the best results.

o   Sales Funnel Management: As additional skills on your resume, don’t forget to highlight your understanding of the sales funnel. Funnels depict the sales model of an organization – though they may appear different, working knowledge of analyzing the funnel can take you a long way.

●        Social Media Marketing (SMO) and paid social media advertising: As a digital marketer, you can carve your niche as an SMO specialist by creating innovative strategies to attract audiences on SMO platforms and prompting them to make a purchase. To do so, you can engage with your audience, promote thought leadership content, announce your brand’s latest releases, and publish grab-worthy discounts on the different social media platforms. Additionally, you can also create paid SMO campaigns for the best results. Don’t miss to quantify the results on your resume.

●        Email marketing and automation: Whether it is to nurture your customers, introduce yourself to prospects, or share your latest eBook or Whitepaper, email marketing is the perfect channel to do it all. Highlight your email marketing skills by learning to create capturing subject lines; crisp yet comprehensible body text; and the use of different email marketing tools such as Constant Contact, MailChimp, Sender, Hubspot email marketing tool, amongst others. Email marketing automation helps you to not just personalize emails, but also segment your database as per the level of interaction, behavior, and preference. 

●        CMS tools: As a content manager, you’d be expected to know the use of the different CMS tools such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, SharePoint, and others to create, publish, manage, and organize website content – blogs, corporate websites, intranet messages, etc.

●        Data visualization: As a digital marketer, you need to be thorough with data – analyzing it, interpreting it, reproducing it, and so on. As a visualizer, you’d need to play around with graphs, charts, maps, etc., to highlight trends, predict changes and segregate the useful from the useless data available.

●        Print design: For print designers, besides formal training with design institutes, working knowledge of conceptualizing a print, preparing the layouts, knowledge of print materials, and creating different styles of print such as brochures, logos, magazine covers, etc., is important. 

●        Photography branding: If you are good with pictures, photography branding can be your calling. As for must-haves, you need to understand colors, styles, typography, and be able to consistently tell your tale via photos. Most business owners these days are beginning to explore this area creating opportunities for professionals to explore this area.

Hard skills to list on resume when applying for Office and Administrative jobs 

For the smooth running of an office, irrespective of the strength of the staff, every business requires the support of an administrator. From answering phones to managing mails, and from welcoming visitors to organizing the calendars of people in senior management – the hands of an administrator are seldom free. 

●        Data entry: Businesses that require organizing and storing documents of clients and associates hire the services of data entry operators. As imperative skills for this role, working knowledge of computers, MS Office suite, good written and verbal skills, and fast typing speed, can be listed as a few. 

●        Secretarial practice: As an administrator, you may also be assigned the task of  assisting a senior manager or CEO of your organization. To perform well, you must know how to manage expenditure, file receipts, record meetings, and on-board new joiners.  

Soft skills on the other hand are mostly personality traits that no college or formal institution can ‘teach’ you or give you a certificate for. Either you have the traits or you don’t. These can also be gained through experience. By constantly trying to improve them, you can actually be a master within no time. 

Now that you have clarity on the essentials of technical skills to put your resume, it’s time to comprehend soft skills. Highlighted below are the key soft skills that can interest your potential employers, irrespective of your industry and position.

Top must-have Resume Soft Skills 

●        Empathy: This one should ideally top the list when applying for a job. Empathy towards team members not only makes you a great leader but also establishes you as an emotionally invested asset who can nurture warm relationships with associates and clients. Highlight all instances where your empathetic qualities resolved conflicts and motivated people around you to work better.

●        Leadership:  Your leadership quality can be broken down into the below. Spare a line or two describing as many as possible with your personal experiences at previous organizations.

o   Decision making: This is not only critical for you but can also affect your organization’s performance. Sound decisions are your choices that can fetch great outcomes. Elaborate on the instances when prompt or timely decisions fetched you remarkable outcomes.

o   Management (time/budget/resources): Management and leadership go hand in hand. Highlight how well you managed time and resources within the confines of a specific budget.

o   Interpersonal communication: Communication skills define a leader to a large extent. The clarity in communication and body language matters a lot. In your soft skills section, do not miss to include how your communication skills helped enrich your own experience and that of others.

o   Feedback: Leaders are always regular with giving and receiving feedback. Mention how you managed feedback and actionable suggestions by highlighting the outcomes.

●        Conflict resolution: No amount of preparing for the rainy-day is enough when tackling real-life situations at the workplace. Professionals need to possess certain traits that will not only benefit them but also others around; the ability to resolve conflicts is one of those. Mention appropriately how you managed disruption without hindering the workflow.

o   Troubleshooting: It’s easy to find faults and problems but only someone with a good troubleshooting attitude will be able to fix issues without complaining. Companies are interested in hiring talents who possess this skill because it ensures that project deliveries would be smooth and clients will remain happy as well. Highlight all instances where you helped to get a faulty printer fixed or you resolved a customer complaint (even if you walked an extra mile)replacing a co-worker in need.

o   Negotiation: Particularly for professionals in project management roles, good negotiation skills always add a few brownie points. On your resume, mention all instances where you played an instrumental role in hiring good talents without expanding the organization’s budget. Or, highlight the instances where you worked around other limitations (other than budget) and yet fetched desirable outcomes. Your organization may have benefitted by hiring good talents within budget or you may have been able to work around particular limitations and even got your team to perform well – mention them all.

●        Critical thinking: To be able to use the data and information you have to derive the best outcomes, you have to apply your critical thinking ability. Highlight your observation skills, and your eye for detail to complete the additional skills for your resume.

●        Teamwork: Last but not the least, highlight your collaboration skills to showcase you will be an asset to your team. Mention your cross-function management ability, your active listening skills, your task delegation skills, and your motivation skills – it is teamwork after all, remember?

Mentioning skills on your resume

From the above information, we hope you got a fair idea of what hard skills and soft skills to include in your resume. But the question now is how can you best mention the skills on your resume?

Well, you can simply create sections dedicated to both, and there you go! Just remember to include the below step-wise description.

Step 1: Be thorough with the job description the organization has posted and identify as many areas you can to support your accomplishments.

Step 2: Mention all relevant skills segregating the hard skills from soft skills.

Step 3: Use a bulleted list to draw quick attention from the hiring manager; achievement-oriented points capture best views.

Step 4: Don’t miss to add additional skills that are specific to your role/position and mention how they may have driven outcomes for you.

✔  Mention the ‘problem’ first 

✔  Follow it up with the ‘action’ you took to address the problem

✔  Highlight the ‘result’ as a positive outcome of your action

Step 5: Measure your abilities by quantifying the outcomes. Mention the numbers you chased and achieved, and the overall impact you created for your organization.

For example

For project managers: “Managed the project budget of $10M by saving 12% overhead costs annually”.

For digital marketers: “Successfully boosted web traffic (over 65%) in 9 months via PPC, SEO, and social media campaigns”.

For engineers: “<5% production errors for 3 straight years during my stint as engineer/production manager with ABC company”.

For customer service professionals: “Handled 75+ daily calls and enjoyed 80% customer satisfaction rating for 2 consecutive years. Rose to the position of team lead and thereafter supervised a team of 25 service agents”.

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