Whether you’re just entering the workforce or are a seasoned professional, writing a resume can be a challenge. It’s difficult to know what’s important to hiring managers and which areas in your background to focus on and promote.

However, since hiring managers only spend a few seconds screening each resume, yours needs to stand out – quickly. One way to do that is with the skills you include. These can differentiate you from other candidates, so you get a call for an interview. It can also impact the offer you get, including salary and benefits. With so much on the line, where do you even begin, though?

Here’s a look at what to include on your resume, so you get the results you want.

 

Hard Skills

Hiring managers will be scanning your resume for the right technical abilities. This means if you work in accounting, experience such as with accounting principles and knowledge of software like MS Excel are important. For working in marketing, experience with content management systems and data analytics are key. For graphic design, listing your Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certification is important.

If you’re struggling with which hard skills to include on your resume, look back to the job listing. What are the qualifications and requirements included there? These are the areas you should be focusing on when showcasing your skill set. Make sure you also list any degrees or credentials that are relevant to the job.

When you’re looking at the job listing, another important step is to identify pertinent keywords. Since most companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to sort and screen resumes first, a resume optimized with keywords is more likely to get into the hands of a hiring manager.

Soft Skills

Besides hard skills, hiring managers want to know about your soft skills and if you’ll be a fit for the role and the company culture. These reflect your personality and other personal attributes, like your ability to collaborate, cope with stress, and communicate clearly.

These can be harder to promote since they’re not easy to measure. However, look once again to the job listing for an idea of what soft skills are most important to the employer.

When you’re writing your resume, don’t just say you’re a “team player,” which is vague and generic. Instead, give specific examples of accomplishments or results you achieved through collaborating with others.

Keep in mind, soft skills can often be a deciding factor for a position. In many cases, two candidates have equally strong backgrounds when it comes to technical abilities, so an employer will use the soft skills to tip the scales one way or the other.

Examples

Whether you’re writing about soft skills or hard skills, don’t simply state the ones you have. Offer an example of what you achieved. This is the best way for you to stand out with your resume.

For instance, rather than saying you have experience in “project management,” say you “led a team of 10 to successfully complete multiple mission-critical projects, on time and on budget.”

If you want to promote your communication skills, don’t simply state that you have “strong written and verbal communication skills.” Instead, discuss how you “wrote and published weekly company emails, reaching an audience of 2,500 clients and increasing traffic to the corporate website by 18%.”

If leadership skills are important to the job, don’t just say you were on a company board. Instead, state that you: “Chaired a company volunteer board that organized the annual corporate fundraising event, raising 12% more than the previous year.”

What Not To Include:

Now that you know what to include on your resume in terms of skills, what should you avoid? Here’s a look.

  • Don’t ever lie or exaggerate your skills. During the reference checking process, the hiring manager might discover the truth. Even if you do get the job and can’t perform, you’ll be miserable and your boss will be unimpressed. It’s best to be honest about your skills and abilities, even if it means you don’t get the job. False claims aren’t worth it.
  • Too much information. Since hiring managers only scan resumes for a few seconds each, it’s important to avoid dense paragraphs and lengthy text. Instead, make sure your resume is written in a clear and concise way without flowery language, like “outside the box” or “taking a deeper dive.”
  • Mistakes and typos. When you’re done writing your resume, give it to someone you trust to proofread it. You might be missing a glaring error, simply because you’ve been looking at it for too long. A fresh eye can quickly spot with formatting, grammar, typos and inconsistencies.

Need help writing your resume?

It’s easy with the professional resume writers at ResumeSpice. We can craft an honest, authentic and impactful resume that helps you stand apart from other candidates. You’ll get more calls for interviews and find the job you want sooner. Simply call 832.930.7378 or contact us online to get started.