woman writing resume skills section

Choosing the right skills for your resume is the ticket to getting noticed, interviewed, and hired for a job. But how do you know which resume skills recruiters want to see? 

In this article, we’ll help you determine which skills employers are looking for and how to include them on your resume. 

Read on to learn:

Let’s start with why resume skills are important

Recruiters and hiring managers can see hundreds or even thousands of resumes each day. In their search to find the best candidates, they look first and foremost at skills and ask: Does this candidate’s skill set match the job requirements?  

Additionally, many companies, including 99% of Fortune 500 companies, employ an applicant tracking system (ATS) to streamline the hiring process. An ATS sorts and ranks resumes based on important keywords, primarily hard skills. 

That’s why highlighting the right skills on your resume is vital to getting the job. If it’s not immediately apparent that you have the right skills for the position, your resume could be—and likely will be—passed over. 

10 soft skills to include on your resume

Before we dive into hard skills and ATS optimization, let’s talk about soft skills. Soft skills, like communication, time management, and teamwork are more subjective in nature and easily transferable. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important. 

Recruiters and hiring managers want to know that your soft skills are well matched to the job. And the easiest way to communicate these abilities is to explicitly list them on your resume. 

Here are 10 skills that employers love to see: 

  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Problem Solving 
  • Teamwork 
  • Time Management
  • Work Ethic 

How to get past the ATS: customize your resume skills for each job

The best skills to include on a resume are the required skills that are present in the job description.

For example, if you’re applying for a job in Customer Support, the job description might include skills like IT, Stripe, Zendesk, troubleshooting, etc. These hard skills and software then become the top skills for your resume.

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, that means each job you apply for requires its own unique set of resume skills. A one-size-fits-all resume does not work in the world of online job applications and ATS.

Want to see if you’ve included the most important resume skills for the job you’re applying to? Scan your resume and the job description side-by-side in Jobscan.

Make sure your resume or cv is ready for ats

4 ways to write a resume skills section

Whether you’re trying to catch a recruiter’s eye or rise to the top of an applicant tracking system’s rankings, seeding your resume with relevant resume keywords should be a top priority. One simple way to do this is through a resume skills section.

A designated skills list is an optional resume section and not part of a traditional resume format. Find a good hybrid/combination or functional resume template if you want a skills section on your resume.

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 straight-forward 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
  • Training
  • Product Management
  • Customer Experience
  • Digital Marketing
  • CRM
  • Product Adoption
  • On-boarding
  • 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. It’s an attention-getter, but don’t stop there. Just because you list these skills on your resume doesn’t mean a corporate recruiter will believe you.

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. For example:

  • 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. For example:

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 afterwards, 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:

  • Software development (php, Javascript, CSS, HTML, Ruby)
  • Data Science (R, SQL, MySQL, Excel, Modeling)
  • Project Management (Agile, Scrum, Cost Management)

Top resume skills by job

Our engineers have 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.

Below you’ll find the most commonly required skills for:

The best resume skills for accountants

Hard skills:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • General Ledger
  • Journal Entries
  • Reporting
  • Excel
  • Tax
  • Financial Statements
  • Audit
  • Policies

Soft skills:

  • Attention To Detail 
  • Vision 
  • Proficient Written Communication 
  • Detail Oriented 
  • Work Independently 
  • Communication Skills
  • Integrity 
  • Flexible
  • Interpersonal Skills

See the full Accountant Skills Report

Top resume skills for administrative assistants

Hard skills:

  • Excel
  • Administrative Support
  • Correspondence
  • High School Diploma
  • Customer Service
  • Filing
  • Policies
  • Microsoft Office
  • Scheduling
  • Travel Arrangements

Soft skills:

  • Attention To Detail 
  • Proficient Written Communication 
  • Vision 
  • Communications 
  • Coordination 
  • Work Independently 
  • Organized 
  • Flexible 
  • Communication Skills

See the full Administrative Assistant Skills Report

Top skills for marketing managers

Hard skills

  • Marketing Strategy
  • Sales
  • Brand
  • Product
  • Content Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Social Media
  • Budget

Soft skills

  • Creative 
  • Leadership 
  • Communication Skills 
  • Driven 
  • Management Skills 
  • Impact 
  • Competitive 
  • Collaboration 
  • Innovative 
  • Attention To Detail

See the full Marketing Manager Skills Report

Top skills for product managers

Hard skills:

  • Product
  • Product Management
  • Product Strategy
  • Strategy
  • ProductRoadmap
  • Engineering
  • Design
  • Technical
  • Marketing
  • Research

Soft skills:

  • Innovative 
  • Vision 
  • Creative 
  • Leadership 
  • Passion

See the full Product Manager Skills Report

Top skills for recruiters

Soft skills

  • Hiring
  • Recruitment
  • Sourcing
  • Staffing
  • Human Resources
  • Networking
  • Excel
  • Customer Service

Soft skills

  • Creative 
  • Innovative 
  • Leadership 
  • Vision
  •  Fast Paced Environment 
  • Passion 
  • Best Practices 
  • Communication Skills 
  • Written Communication

See the full Recruiter Skills Report

Top resume skills for UI Designers

Hard skills

  • UI
  • Design
  • UX
  • Interaction Design
  • Product
  • Visual Design
  • Mobile
  • Research
  • Invision
  • User Experience

Soft skills

  • Creative 
  • Collaborate 
  • Communications
  • Innovative 
  • Attention To Detail 
  • Best Practices 
  • Fast Paced 
  • Passion

See the full UI Designer Skills Report

Top skills for software engineers

Hard skills

  • Engineering
  • Design
  • Computer Science
  • Technical
  • Java
  • Programming
  • Product
  • Software Engineering
  • Python
  • Software Development

Soft skills:

  • Innovative 
  • Passion
  • Collaborative 
  • Hands On

See the complete Software Engineer 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 can it alongside your resume in the Jobscan resume checker to see how well matched you are for the position.

Quick Answers: Resume Skills FAQs

How many skills should I include on my resume?

Put as many relevant skills as possible on your resume. Highlight your most applicable skills in you “skills section” and include the rest in your summary and work experience copy.

What soft skills should I put on my resume?

Desired soft skills vary by role, but here are 10 soft skills recruiters love to see: Adaptability. Communication. Creativity. Customer Service. Leadership. Organization. Problem Solving. Teamwork. Time Management. Work Ethic.

What hard skills should I include on my resume?

That depends on the job! You can take a close look at the job description to see which skills are required. Be sure to include as many relevant hard skills as possible on your resume. Use Jobscan to scan your resume beside any job description.

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