A study by Harvard Business School and EMSI found that 63% of occupations experienced a decline in degree requirements from 2017 to 2019. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, 27% of occupations have experienced the same decline.
What does that mean for you? Recruiters and hiring managers are now serious about identifying job-critical skills and screening for candidates who best match their skills requirements.
Now, as a job seeker, you need to prove to recruiters that you have the position-specific skills they are looking for. You can do this by including a strong resume skills section that highlights your hard and soft skills relevant to the job.
In this guide, you will learn the top resume skills employers are looking for and how to list them on your resume.
Table of Contents
- How to choose skills to include on your resume skills section
- How to match your resume to the job description
- 4 ways to write a resume skills section
- What not to do when writing a skills section in your resume
- Skills to include on your resume
- Resume skills examples by profession
- Key Takeaways
Include the right skills and make your resume stand out
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How to choose skills to include on your resume skills section
How do you know which resume skills recruiters want to see? Here’s how.
1. Take inventory of your skills
Start by listing the tasks you complete daily, weekly, or monthly. Then, walk through your process for each task and list the skills involved to complete each one.
For example, for the task of, say, writing an article, the skills required might look like:
- Using SEO Tools
- Interviewing Sources
- Grammar and Spelling
- Collaboration with Team Members
2. Note the skills and relevant keywords mentioned in the job description
Study the job description and mark the skills required for the job. Also note job-specific or industry-related keywords, especially those mentioned frequently.
Then, match the skills in the job description with those on the list you made in the previous step.
Finally, optimize your resume by including these skills to increase your chances of landing an interview and a job offer.
How to match your resume skills to the job description
Here’s an example of how to match your resume to the specific job you are interested in.
In this sample job description for an accountant, you can see the hard skills (underlined in red) and soft skills (underlined in orange) required for the job. These are the specific skills and keywords the job seeker needs to incorporate into their resume and list in their resume skills section, as these are most likely what recruiters will look for.
An optimized resume for this specific job would look like this:
In this example, Adrian incorporated the hard and soft skills found in the job description into a designated skills section in his resume. He mentioned other key skills that are not in the job ad but are necessary for a job in accounting. He also incorporated some keywords and skills in his resume summary to increase his chances of grabbing the attention of recruiters.
Pro Tip: Always customize and tailor your resume for each job you are applying for.
Keep reading to see how you can take this optimization to the next level by using these keywords in your entire resume.
4 ways to write a resume skills section
- Use a bullet list in the resume skills section
- Create a skills list with expanded bullets
- List additional skills after each job
- Break resume skills sections into categories
Here are four ways to show off what you can do with a resume skills section:
1. Create a simple bullet list resume skills section
The most straightforward way is to make a list immediately following your contact information and summary statement.
For example, a Customer Success Manager’s bullet points might look like this:
- Account Management
- Product Management
- Customer Experience
- Digital Marketing
- Product Adoption
- Customer Engagement
Hitting all the top job requirements with your skills list will make a recruiter’s ears perk up. It will also help you rank highly for a keyword search within an applicant tracking system. But don’t stop there. Just because you list these job skills on your resume doesn’t mean a corporate recruiter will believe you.
Important note: if you use this type of resume skills section, be sure to add context for every skill elsewhere in your work experience. If a recruiter is excited by “Product Adoption” in your skills section, the first thing they’ll do is skim your work experience to figure out when, how, and how much you used that skill.
The same goes for resume skills sections with rating systems. Giving yourself a 5/5 or “expert” rating on a skill doesn’t matter if that expertise isn’t communicated in other ways. Context is everything.
Want to see how to incorporate a bulleted skills section? Check out our resume templates.
2. Create a skills list with expanded bullets
One way to add context is by lengthening the bullet points.
- CRM – 4+ years leveraging Salesforce on a daily basis. Earned Salesforce Certification in January 2017. Also have experience with Pipedrive (1 year) and Highrise (6 months).
This approach is more impactful than only listing the skills. However, it takes up more room at the top of your resume. Consider trimming down your bullet list to your most important four or five skills when using this method. Then, work your remaining skills into your work experience.
3. List additional skills after each job
If you’d like to stay closer to a reverse-chronological resume format, consider adding shorter skill lists to each work experience section.
ABC Corporation, Detroit, MI
Social Media Coordinator, June 2017-Jan. 2018
Managed social media communities across multiple platforms. Grew social followings, including Twitter (113%), Instagram (85%), Pinterest (41%), and Facebook (38%). Planned content and developed publishing schedule to post an average of 15 new updates per channel each week. Created custom graphics in Adobe Photoshop, resulting in a 61% increase in engagement versus text-based posts. Wrote 1-2 articles per week for B2C and B2B blogs. Tracked traffic and paid conversions through Google Analytics.
Additional Software Used: WordPress, Hootsuite, Hubspot, Trello
Fitting all the skills into the bigger text block might make it awkward for the recruiter to read, but removing them all would make the descriptions overly vague. By working some hard skills right into the work experience and listing others afterward, you can make your experience easier to read while still covering all your bases.
4. Break resume skills sections into categories
If you’re applying for a role requiring a broad skillset and your work history lends itself to it, consider categorizing your skills into multiple lists.
This often works best for people transitioning into management roles where they need to prove that they can work with people from multiple disciplines. For example, someone applying for a role as a Marketing Manager might benefit from segmenting their skill lists as follows:
- Print Marketing
- Broadcast Marketing
- Digital Marketing
- Public Relations
The Digital Marketing list would include specifics like search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, affiliate marketing, and so on.
This approach can also be used to show off both technical know-how and softer leadership skills. Some even advocate for having a dedicated soft skills section on your resume.
You can also combine bullet points into a single section to better categorize skills. For example:
- Data Science (R, SQL, MySQL, Excel, Modeling)
- Project Management (Agile, Scrum, Cost Management)
What not to do when writing skills for your resume
Here are three things to avoid when writing your resume skills section:
- Don’t list the entire dictionary: Do not overwhelm recruiters and hiring managers with your list. Stick to your most important skills and those specifically noted in the job description. Otherwise, you might find yourself with a 5-page resume that will never even be read.
- Don’t lie: Stick to the facts, and resist the urge to overembellish or, even worse – lie about your qualifications.
- But don’t undersell yourself, either: Being too humble can actually hurt you when applying for jobs. They don’t know what your experience is if you don’t share facts about your achievements and knowledge with them! Don’t be afraid to let the hiring manager know that you are the right candidate for the role.
Skills to include on your resume
Hard skills are the job-specific abilities and expertise you need to be effective in your job. Soft skills, on the other hand, are the qualities and traits that enable you to interact effectively with others and thrive in the workplace.
You can read our full guide on hard and soft skills here.
10 soft skills that employers love to see:
- Customer Service
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Time Management
- Work Ethic
Resume skills section examples by job
Our team parsed over 8 million recent job descriptions to find the most commonly requested skills for each job type listed below. To find out more about this project—and which skills to include on your resume—check out our skills reports.
The best resume skills for accountants
- General Ledger
- Attention To Detail
- Proficient Written Communication
See the full Accountant Skills Report
Top resume skills for administrative assistants
- Administrative Support
- Work Independently
See the full Administrative Assistant Skills Report
Top skills for marketing managers
- Marketing Strategy
- Social Media
- Communication Skills
See the full Marketing Manager Skills Report
Top skills for product managers
- Product Management
- Product Strategy
See the full Product Manager Skills Report
Top skills for recruiters
- Communication Skills
- Written Communication
See the full Recruiter Skills Report
Top resume skills for UI Designers
See the full UI Designer Skills Report
Top skills for software engineers
- Computer Science
- Software Engineering
See the complete Software Engineer Skills Report
Top skills for nurses
- Patient care
- RN License
- Basic Life Support
See the complete Nurse Skills Report
Use Jobscan to discover the top skills for any job
Even if you are applying to one of the jobs above, you’ll want to match your resume skills to the desired skills listed in the job description. Study the job posting carefully, then scan it alongside your resume using Jobscan’s resume checker to see how well-matched you are for the position.
Listing down your skills on your resume is necessary to prove to recruiters and hiring managers that you have the proven experience, skill set, and abilities to perform the job well and add value to the company. Here are a few things to remember:
- Your resume skills section can be the best place to list your hard skills and soft skills. You may also incorporate these skills into your resume summary or work experience section.
- The key is to note the specific skills and keywords that are found in the job description. Try incorporating these skills into your resume to increase your chances of getting noticed by recruiters.
- Companies use Applicant Tracking Systems to filter candidates based on what’s found in their resumes, such as skills and job-specific keywords.
- When applying for multiple jobs, tailor your resume to each job application.
Save your time by using Jobscan’s resume optimization tool to check whether your resume has all the relevant skills found in the job description.
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