Impressive skills you should never leave off your resume


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Some companies receive thousands of applications for coveted positions, making writing an effective resume a critical step in any job search. The only way you will be granted an interview when there is a lot of competition is to make your application stand out from the masses. To do so, you must include your skills on your resume.  

But how do you know what skills to include? What skills do employers seek the most in a candidate?

In this article, you will learn: 

  • The difference between hard skills and soft skills
  • 25 in-demand skills employers are looking for
  • How to identify your best skills
  • How to identify the skills employers want
  • Why listing the right skills for a resume is important
  • How to best list your relevant skills on a resume 

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

There are two types of in-demand skills to focus on when building your resume – hard skills and soft skills. The first type of skills employees look for in all candidates are soft skills. Soft skills, also known as professional or personal skills, include your interpersonal skills such as critical thinking and flexibility.

Hard skills, which are also known as technical skills, are more tangible. These include skills that require specialized training, talent or study, like speaking a foreign language, computer coding or artistic ability. These are important to include on your resume as you never know when an employer might think having someone on their staff who can speak Portuguese or fly a private plane would be valuable. 

Whereas soft skills are typically intangible and required for most jobs, hard resume skills are concrete and are specific to certain job positions or industries.

The 25 Best Skills to List on Your Resume

While there are a plethora of resume skills, here are the 25 best skills to include on your resume.

1. Active Listening Skills

Active listening essentially means that you pay attention so that you understand what others are saying. It requires focusing on the person speaking, keeping an open mind, waiting until they have finished before you respond and asking questions for clarification. 

2. Administrative Experience

Many positions that do not necessarily fall under the specific title of “administrator” often require administrative skills and experience. The administrative skill set involves various soft skills that show your attention to detail, such as organizing, planning, time management, and managing personnel or projects.

3. Analytical Skills

Employers want workers who can investigate a problem and consider different solutions. The level of analytical skills can vary widely depending on the sector and position. For example, analyzing computer data requires a somewhat different skill set than figuring out why employee productivity has fallen. 

4. Attention to Detail

Similar to being organized, attention to detail shows employers you can properly follow instructions. The easiest way to demonstrate this skill when job searching is to carefully follow the directions provided in the job posting. You can also mention an instance when and how you caught an error in your cover letter or during the job interview.

5. Communication Skills

Employers see candidates who possess strong written and verbal communication skills as valuable additions to their teams, as every job demands communicating with others. This is because people who can communicate tend to get along well with others in various situations. It also helps to prevent issues like miscommunication or arguments from happening.

Public speaking is another skill related to communication that employers often look for. These skills are useful for various roles that involve giving presentations, such as teaching, sales, broadcasting, and legal positions.

6. Computer Skills 

There are far more positions that require using a computer than do not. This can be anything from word processing and spreadsheets to being an expert with a specific software program, like an architectural program or scheduling system.

Along the same lines, web development and information technology skills are also in high demand across most industries. If you have these job skills or experience in this area, be sure to include them on your resume, even if you aren’t applying for a technology-specific role.  

7. Creativity and Innovation Skills

Creativity is one of the many skills employers love. You can demonstrate your creative skills in numerous ways, from coming up with new ideas, making connections and solving problems. Like critical thinking, being able to come up with innovative solutions further shows your problem-solving ability. This can be illustrated on your resume by highlighting a creative solution you came up with to an unusual problem. 

8. Critical Thinking and Decision-Making Skills

Every employer wants to hire employees who can think clearly and rationally. Employers see critical thinking skills as an indispensable skill that allows employees to figure out the best steps to take when working on projects or assisting customers.

9. Customer Service Skills

Many jobs involve working with customers, clients or patients, making good customer service one of the most common top skills employers seek. Whether you communicate with clients in person or online, you need to understand what your customers want, acknowledge their feelings and assist them by providing a service or finding a solution. 

10. Data Analysis 

The business world is becoming more digital every day, making data analysis an extremely valuable skill to have on your resume. Many large and small organizations are looking for people who can analyze and extrapolate information from raw data, such as website visitor traffic and sales conversion rates.

11. Design

Because people are highly visual creatures, having good design skills make you a valuable commodity. Design skills range from graphic and web design to advertising to creating presentations for internal and external stakeholders.

12. Emotional Intelligence and Maturity

Maturity shows you have emotional intelligence and can productively handle your emotions, particularly during a difficult situation. This can also encompass helping others deal with their emotions in a productive manner.

13. Foreign Languages

Speaking multiple languages is a sought-after skill in many industries. Since most people in North America are monolingual, bilingual and multilingual candidates have a real advantage. They are needed for everything from translators to negotiating international business contracts and even government treaties.

14. Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills involve how you communicate and forge relationships with other people. They incorporate your personality and how you have learned to deal with specific social situations. Every job involves working with others in some capacity. For a business to succeed, there needs to be open communication and collaboration between staff and management to exchange ideas and information and to ensure productivity and employee satisfaction. 

15. Leadership and Management Skills

You don’t need to be a manager to be a leader. Between team projects, training new staff, facilitating discussions and stepping up when a problem needs to be solved, employees at every level can benefit from strong leadership skills. 

16. Marketing

Marketing is often thought of as the link between advertisement and sales. While advertising is about making a product or service desirable, marketing is figuring out the best way to promote it. Knowing how to promote products and services effectively is not an easy skill to master. As such, this is one of those hard skills that many employers are always looking to recruit. Even if you have never explicitly worked in marketing, having extensive experience in sales or advertising may get you consideration.

17. Mathematics

Various industries, such as finance, engineering, construction and healthcare, require people who possess strong math skills. If you have multiple math skills, list each separately or group similar skills together on your resume.

18. Negotiation and Persuasion Skills

Negotiation and persuasion skills are useful for everything from conflict resolution, making deals, settling contracts and advancing your career. Flexibility is an important aspect of successful negotiations. With a bit of give and take, all parties will ideally reach a solution that works for everyone. If you also have strong persuasion skills, you can get others to understand your perspective and, thus, support your ideas or suggestions. 

19. Problem Solving

Every employer wants their employees to be able to deal with problems when they come up. Some positions are specifically designed to solve problems, such as tech support and customer service roles. Problem-solving is often considered a separate skill from being analytical. While some people may be very good at analyzing data and spotting a problem, not everyone can develop a creative solution.

20. Project Management 

Project management skills show a prospective employer that you can take charge and complete assignments correctly and on time. Knowing how to use project management software is a bonus that you should also include in your resume.

21. Organization

Employers see organized prospects as productive employees. This skill is easy to show off your resume by making sure it is neat, well structured and properly formatted. You can also demonstrate this skill at a job interview by being on time, bringing extra copies of your resume and having a list of references ready.

22. Responsibility 

Employers don’t want to hire someone who will need constant monitoring to ensure they are doing their job. They want someone responsible who is also willing to own up to their mistakes.

23. Teamwork

Most jobs require working in a team environment where you interact with other people. Working well and effectively communicating with team members is considered a must-have skill by most employers. They need to know their employees can work together and be part of a team that works toward achieving the goals and objectives of the company. Your ability to work as a team member shows your effectiveness at collaborating with others.

24. Time Management Skills

In a busy work environment, time management skills are critical. But good time management skills involve more than just being on time. Employers want their staff to know how to prioritize tasks, plan ahead, delegate or ask for help when needed, and use their time wisely to ensure the works gets done and that deadlines are met. 

25. Writing Skills

As most people can only write at the 10th-grade level, having solid writing skills will make you a strong candidate for many positions. Even if the position does not call for writing skills specifically, this is a hard skill you should always include on your resume. Employers often become tired of reading reports and emails (not to mention resumes) filled with typos and simple grammatical errors. 

How to Identify Your Best Skills

Some people find it challenging to look at their own skill set objectively. Even experienced workers aren’t sure what their strengths are or how to make their key skills stand out from the crowd. If you fall in this category, you can do a few things to hone in on the attributes you want to impress upon an employer.

1. Reflect on Your Career

Many job seekers do not take the time to really assess what skills they bring to the table. Begin by asking yourself what previous jobs you both enjoyed and excelled at. Think back to the job postings and job descriptions for your current and prior positions. What sort of things did you do? What skills were required?

The hard skills, like math or marketing, are the easiest to zero in on simply because they are the most obvious. Soft skills are typically more challenging for most candidates to identify because they are developed as part of our everyday lives, and people don’t like to talk or think about themselves in abstract ways. For example, some people with natural-born leadership abilities may have never officially been in charge of anything. However, this type of introspection is critical to identify your soft skills thoroughly.

Be as specific as possible when making a list. So instead of just writing down that you speak Spanish and French, be specific as to how long you have spoken the language and what level of fluency you have. List any degrees, certifications and training you have taken and tie those to your previous work experience.

2. Performance Evaluations

You can learn a lot by carefully going over previous performance evaluations. This is how your supervisors see your skills, and these typically focus on your soft-skill set. While you are obviously looking for strengths that you can include in your resume, take note of your weaknesses and think of ways to improve in these areas.

3. Feedback

Seek feedback from past and present coworkers and supervisors and ask them what skills they think you have that make you a valuable employee. Be mindful of who you ask, though, as your coworkers that are also your friends may just tell you what you want to hear.

4. Evaluation Tests

Several free online personality tests can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. One popular test is the Myers-Briggs self-assessment that evaluates your personality traits such as emotional intelligence, values and interests.

5. Refine Your List of Skills 

You probably have a lot of different skills. And while it may be tempting to include them all on your resume, doing so may actually cause more harm than good. A hiring manager doesn’t want to read a long list of skills. They want to know what your strongest attributes are, and they want to know them quickly. Including too many skills on your resume will only bury the relevant ones.

To determine what your best skills are, take your list and grade how proficient you are for each one, as well as how long you’ve had and used that skill. Skills that are new to you or used casually shouldn’t be on your resume. For example, there’s a big difference between using social media in your personal life to share updates and pictures vs. having 15 years of professional experience in social media marketing with a major company. 

Identifying the Skills That Employers Are Looking For

Identifying the skills employers want is as easy as carefully reading through the job posting and job description. Most of the time, these will specifically mention what skills are required for the job. But sometimes, you have to read between the lines a little. For example, if the job ad mentions receptionist duties, employers want someone with customer service, interpersonal, time management and administrative skills.

Suppose you don’t have a specific job ad to tailor your resume to. In that case, you can narrow down the list of potential skills you should include by searching job postings from companies in the business sector you want to work in. While searching, note what soft and hard skills frequently appear in these postings and pinpoint where your skills overlap. If you keep coming across a skill that you don’t have, find a way to build that skill, such as taking an online course, doing some research or finding a mentor.

Why You Need to List the Right Skills on Your Resume

As mentioned, hiring managers don’t want to spend a long time reviewing your resume. In fact, most of them won’t spend more than a few seconds before deciding if they will move forward with your application or discard it altogether. For your resume to pass this glance test and pass any applicant tracking system (ATS) software, it needs to highlight your skills and include keywords. These keywords will consist of the relevant skills they are looking for in a candidate. 

How to List Skills on Your Resume

Once you know what skills you have and what an employer is looking for, the last step is actually putting them on your resume. In general, you’ll want to follow these tips when listing your resume skills:

  • Customize your resume for each position you apply for
  • Place the skills you have from the job posting at or near the top of your resume 
  • Use the same vocabulary and wording from the job ad or job description
  • Focus on transferable skills that are useful in multiple positions
  • Group related skills together
  • List your skills by relevance 
  • Create a separate resume skills section that highlights your top 5-10 skills
  • Indicate your proficiency level (such as basic, intermediate or advanced)
  • Include examples that demonstrate your skills, achievements and professional experience throughout the rest of your resume 
  • Be sure your references can verify the skills you include 

While this is not an all-inclusive list of the must-have skills for a resume, these tips will help you impress potential employers and land you an interview instead of falling off the hiring radar. 


This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

Resume mistakes to avoid at all costs

Resume mistakes to avoid at all costs

The average hiring manager takes less than 10 seconds to decide whether to throw your resume in the trash or call you in for an interview.

As the Director of IT, it often took me less than that.

Before retiring, I worked a wide variety of jobs in the tech sector. One of them included managing an information technology department for a healthcare not-for-profit, and hiring staff was a big responsibility. Hiring the right staff was crucial to our success.

As the director, my time was extremely valuable. I reviewed hundreds of candidates for jobs. If your resume didn’t efficiently sell your skillset for the job, I would toss it aside in seconds.

It did not take me long.

In fact, I couldn’t afford to spend more than 10 or 15 seconds on each resume, but most of the time, I did not need that long.

I’ve seen every resume under the sun. The good ones. The bad ones. And, everything in-between. I can spot a great resume from a mile away, but I can also pick out the elements of a resume that would kill your chances of a callback.

Below are the top 5 mistakes that too many job seekers make on their resumes, and those mistakes are sentencing resumes to a life in the circular repository.

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This is especially true if you’ve misspelled one of the technologies or skillsets that I am looking for. If you can’t at least spell those things correctly, then that tells me your attention to detail is not what it needs to be for the job.

Or, any job.

Spelling and grammar errors are the best way to encourage the hiring manager to ditch your resume outright.

Remember, your resume should put your best foot forward. Your absolute best work. If you overlook spelling and grammar errors on something as important as a resume, then what assurance do they have that you’ll add value as an employee?

Pro tip: This includes more than just spelling words correctly. It’s also about using the correct word (ie: there vs. their, etc) and using commas and periods properly. Yes, most recruiters and hiring managers pick up on these mistakes, quickly.

To avoid making this mistake, ask friends and family to proof-read your resume. A fresh pair of eyes is much better equipped to pick out problems that you, as the author of the resume, read right over.

And, someone else might identify a gap or inconsistency on your resume that might give a recruiter cause for concern. That gap is clear in your head, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be clear in the head of the recruiter. Remember he or she doesn’t know you.

Another technique is to use applications with built-in spell-checkers, like Microsoft Word, to design your resume. Or, install a writing and spelling tool like Grammarly into your browser to help catch the easy errors that are quick to correct.

Spelling is often one of the easiest resume mistakes to fix.


Believe it or not, resumes that are too long or include too many achievements or recognitions may not boost the likelihood of a callback for an interview. Why?

Because you’re trying too hard, and hiring managers are busy.

A hiring manager’s time is valuable, and he or she doesn’t want to read about that project you completed in the nick of time 10 years ago, or a laundry list of computer apps that you’re “proficient” in when all they are looking for is a basic understanding of Microsoft Office.

Remember that most managers read hundreds (or thousands) of resumes every year, and the average recruiter only takes 6 seconds to read each resume.

To avoid making this mistake, aim for a pointed and direct one-page resume. Respect the hiring manager’s time by only including your qualifications specific to the job.

And, this is related to the next mistake. If your resume isn’t tailored for the position that you’re applying for, it tends to show and you are diminishing your chances of a callback.


I’ve seen so many stock boilerplate resumes in my time that I could pick them out almost instantly. These resumes include experience and knowledge that are unrelated to the job.

Most recruiters can quickly pick out the resumes that were sent in bulk to a long list of organizations. And, there’s no possible way that a single version of your resume will be right for every job opportunity.

The best resumes are those that were built specifically for the job requirements. These job seekers wouldn’t just plop down everything under the sun onto their resumes, assuming that knowledge in unrelated topic areas would somehow help.

As I said above, including too much can hurt your chances at getting a callback.

Instead, the best resumes were short and focused.

They included only what I needed to know to properly vet the candidate for the position. Nothing more. They were typically a page long – maybe a page and a half, max.

Anything over two pages and I’d quickly lose interest. Too much unrelated material. I don’t care about your general competencies, or that you’re a “team player” or a good “problem solver”. Everybody claims to be a good problem solver.

That tells me nothing.

I care about your experience and knowledge that directly relates to the position. Tell me what I need to know, not what I don’t.

To avoid making this mistake, carefully read the job requirements and pick out specific listed qualifications. Then, craft your resume so it prioritizes and highlights your experience that relates to them.

If you’re a seasoned professional, you will probably have enough experience under your belt to NOT include every little achievement that you’ve ever had in the workforce.

An example: I would often need a candidate with specific expertise in two or three different programming technologies. I would get resumes from job seekers with 15 or 20 technologies listed, and the ones that I was looking for were jammed somewhere in the middle of the list.

More times than not, I’d plop that resume into the trash.

After all, a programmer who has worked with JavaScript is far different than a JavaScript developer. If you list another skill or qualification first, that tells me your resume wasn’t tailored for this position, and I have no assurance that your mastery of the skills I need are above that of high-level, cursory knowledge.


Once again, I need to go back to how important it is to respect the time of the recruiter or hiring manager. Buzzwords almost never improve your chances of a callback because they don’t reflect your achievements or qualifications for the job.

And, it takes the hiring manager more time to read your resume.

What are some of the buzzwords that you should leave off of your resume? Here are several examples:

  • Passionate
  • Detailed oriented
  • Spearhead
  • Synergies
  • Team player
  • Problem solver
  • Proactive
  • Objective

There are too many to list, but those are some of the most common buzzwords I’ve seen, and while their inclusion didn’t always convince me to ditch the resume, they certainly didn’t help.

And, don’t begin your job responsibilities with “My responsibilities included” or “Responsible for”. Instead, use a more active term like “Managed”, “Lead”, “Built” or “Created”.

To avoid making this mistake, just write like you normally would. Most of us don’t use words like “Ideate”, “Ninja” and “Disruptor” in our everyday lives.

And guess what? The recruiter doesn’t either.

Write professionally, but resist the temptation to include big words or annoying buzzwords or phrases. Usually they won’t help.

Another one of those easy resume mistakes to fix.


For most of us, the goal is to get that callback. We want to land the interview. It is your job to make that process as easy as possible.

So, don’t make the recruiter or hiring manager hunt for your contact information. Make it clear and obvious, and never include an email address that’s unprofessional.

What’s an unprofessional email address:


You get the idea. The email address that you put on your resume is a reflection on you, so make sure that it’s professional. If you have to create a brand new Gmail address just for your resume, do it.

And, this includes the voicemail recording on your phone, which is something that many candidates forget about.

Make it professional.

Also, here is a pro tip: Never embed your contact information inside of an image on your resume.

Why avoid using an image? Because many organizations use automated text readers to grab the contact information for candidates, and most text readers cannot read the “text” inside of images.

To avoid making this mistake, always include your contact information at the very top of your resume.

What should be included? It is customary to include the following contact details on your resume:

  • Your full name
  • Mailing address
  • Email address
  • Telephone number

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Resume mistakes are common, and most recruiters get way more resumes than there are jobs. As a result, they have the luxury of being picky, and to ruthlessly ditch resumes with mistakes.

Check your resume. Then check it again. Never forget that your resume is very often your first (and only) impression that you’ll give to a recruiter or hiring manager.

Make it your best.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by


Featured Image Credit: Mylifeiguess.