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At the core of every job hunt is the same thing: a resume. As a job seeker, one of the most powerful things you can do for your job search is to create an outstanding resume. A well-crafted resume will garner more interviews, making you much more likely to find your dream job. But what distinguishes your resume from the rest? Knowing which content and skills to put on your resume.

No matter how well-formatted your resume is, a recruiter or hiring manager will toss it aside in favor of a resume that features the skills they are seeking. While searching for a new position, remember that only relevant skills actually matter. Use these tips to determine the most important skills for resume success.

Hard skills vs. soft skills

Employers first look for hard skills when assessing a resume. Soft skills usually come into play during the later stages of the job search—during phone screens and interviews.

To identify hard skills versus soft skills, consider which skills can be quantified. Hard skills can typically be quantified while soft skills cannot. Typing speed or knowledge of a programming language can be reliably tested, while teamwork or patience are harder to assess. Soft skills tend to be subjective, while hard skills can be objectively identified.

Job seekers should focus on incorporating hard skills into their resume. A resume for a software development engineer should include the specific languages they know (i.e. Java, C++, Python), which methodologies they’ve used for project management (scrum, agile, waterfall, etc.), and the context in which they’ve used them.

Only list skills that you actually possess, and could demonstrate if asked. Hard skills will get your foot in the door for a phone screen or interview, at which point you can show off your soft skills.

Full article: Hard skills vs soft skills

Key accomplishments and metrics

Accomplishments and metrics go hand in hand with skills. Employers want to see that you can take your skills and turn them into results. Highlighting past accomplishments shows that you understand how to use your skills to further company objectives.  Incorporate accomplishments into your resume to prove your value.

Numbers provide the credibility you need to back up your accomplishments. Common measurables include time, growth, money, client base, and more. Prove to potential employers that you can provide value by expressing your accomplishments using metrics.

If you’re an SEO account manager with a large agency, for example, focus on what you’ve delivered. Maybe you grew site traffic by 20 percent more than you had predicted for a major account. Focus your accomplishments on the big picture.

What have you done beyond your day-to-day responsibilities? Have you helped fulfill a company mission, decreased costs, or increased efficiency? Try to tie skills you possess to accomplishments you’ve had in your previous positions. Using your skills for resume metrics will make you stand out from the crowd of job seekers who only list their responsibilities.

Industry-specific tools and lingo

Employers want to see demonstrated knowledge of their field, including common tools, technologies, and terminology. Candidates with existing knowledge of the industry usually require less training and ramp-up time.

When writing your resume, include key tools and programs you’ve used in previous jobs, especially if you’re continuing in the same or a similar industry. If you are a social media specialist hoping to make a lateral move, mention that you used Buffer for social media automation at one position but Hootsuite at another to convey your working knowledge of both tools. Listing related skills can also be useful. You might find, for example, an employer who was hoping for someone with knowledge of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising but is willing to accept experience in a different SEM (search engine marketing) capacity. Recruiters not finding the right candidates may run searches for industry keywords or similar skills to capture more candidates. Always make sure you provide context about how you learned and used specific tools.

Tailor your skills to the role

A good resume gives a potential employer a strong sense of your:

  • Hard and technical skills
  • Ability to use your skills to meet goals and contribute to the company
  • Knowledge of the industry, including specific tools

A great resume does all of the above plus tailors it to a specific role. Choosing skills for resume success can make a tremendous difference. You want your skills to be a seamless match.

Tailor your resume keywords to the job description, including the information most relevant to the role. Prioritize your resume to align with the employer’s must-have skills. To see how well you have tailored your resume for a specific role, compare your resume to the job description using Jobscan’s resume analysis tool. You’ll get instant, personalized feedback on what you have done well, and where you can make improvements.

Paying close attention to which skills you include on your resume, and how you back them up, can take your resume from good to great—and make you a much stronger candidate every time.

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