Here are some good skills to put on your resume in 2021:
- Communication Skills
- Computer Skills
- Customer Service Skills
- Interpersonal Skills
- People Skills
- Leadership Skills
- Management Skills
- Organizational Skills
- Technical Skills
- Time Management Skills
Additionally, here are some job-specific skills you should include on your resume if you’re looking for work in these industries:
- Administrative Assistant Skills
- Customer Service Skills
- Marketing Skills
- Nursing Skills
- Project Manager Skills
- Sales Associate Skills
- Sales Skills
Best skills to put on a resume in 2021
Even if you already have a list of good skills to put on your resume, you can’t include all of them. You need to narrow your list down to only the skills that emphasize you’re a great fit for the job.
There are two types of job skills for a resume that hiring managers evaluate when looking at your application. They’re called hard skills and soft skills. It’s important to target both if you want to come off as a well-rounded candidate.
The best employees have both hard and soft skills. If your goal is to be the top applicant for any given position, you need to touch upon both of these areas in your resume.
Hard resume skills (examples + definition)
Hard skills are job-specific skills that must be learned through education and/or training.
Hiring managers look for hard skills on every application, because they prove that an applicant can actually handle the work at their company.
For instance, if you apply for a Chinese-English interpreting job, you must be fluent in both languages — otherwise you would simply not qualify for the position. These “hard” resume language skills are required to do the job.
There are thousands of examples of hard skills, but to make things easier, here’s a list of 20 professional hard skills employers are seeking in 2021:
- Foreign Languages
- Social Media
- Project Management
- Computer Technology
- Accounting and Finance
- Business and Data Analysis
- Automotive Services, Parts, and Design
- Marketing (SEO/SEM)
- Cloud and Distributed Computing
- Data Presentation
- Database Management and Software
- Electronic and Electrical Engineering
- Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
- User Interface Design
Additionally, since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, many businesses have shifted to remote work. If relevant to the job, show you’re ready to work from home by highlighting technical skills related to remote working on your resume. For example, mention that you know how to use Zoom.
Soft resume skills (examples + definition)
Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to your personality, how you interact with colleagues or customers, and how you handle workplace situations.
Your list of soft skills helps show hiring managers what type of employee they’re getting when they hire you. And because almost every job requires a mixture of hard and soft skills to perform at the highest level, employers want to make sure you have this mixture before they make you an offer.
Some of the major soft skills to add to a resume that will attract hiring managers include the following:
- Adaptability & Flexibility
- Attention to Detail
- Collaboration & Teamwork
- Creativity & Innovation
- Interpersonal Skills
- Leadership & Management
- Problem Solving & Analytical Thinking
- Time Management
- Work Ethic
- Written Communication
- Stress Management
How to list skills on a resume
Now that you have an idea of the top skills to put on a resume, it’s time to use them to your advantage.
There are three places you should include your skills on your resume:
- Your experience section
- Your resume introduction
- Your skills section
Now that you know where to put your resume skills, here are four steps you can take to make them stand out:
1. Identify professional skills common in your industry
Before you dive too far into writing your resume, familiarize yourself with the skills associated with the job you want.
The best way to identify these important job skills (soft and hard ones) is to analyze job openings in your target industry. Take this “Senior Digital Marketing Manager” job ad, for instance. For your convenience, we’ve highlighted soft skills in green and hard skills in blue.
In a single ad, you can quickly see several good resume skills. This includes a range of technical skills needed for the position, as well as a variety of soft skills that help define the best candidate for the role.
Once you’ve looked at several such ads within your target industry, you’ll have a clear idea of what hiring managers are looking for (in terms of job skills).
2. List them in your resume skills section
You can set up your resume skills section two different ways depending on your skillset and industry.
When to use an “Additional Skills” section
If you have several job-relevant hard and soft skills but don’t have a highly developed technical skillset, then an “Additional Skills” section is the ideal way to highlight skills on your resume.
Just make sure the skills you choose to include in your “Additional Skills” section are related to the specific job you’re applying for.
Here’s what an “Additional Skills” section looks like in practice:
When to use a “Technical Skills” section
You should use a “Technical Skills” section when you have a wide range of hard skills that are highly important to the job you’re applying for. This is particularly relevant to the tech industry, where candidates are judged primarily on their mastery of specific technical skills.
If you think this is the case for you, a dedicated “Technical Skills” section is the best way to feature your skills and abilities prominently on your resume.
Here’s an example of a “Technical Skills” section on a resume to get an idea of how this might look for you:
Since software development work demands a special skillset, this Java developer resume begins with key “Technical Skills” at the top.
Those technical skills are then broken down into core areas, which helps organize what would be an extensive resume skills list into easy-to-digest chunks for the hiring manager.
Some industries where a “Technical Skills” section may work better than an “Additional Skills” section on your resume are:
- Information Technology
- Graphic Design
- Technical Writing
- Human Resources (HR)
- Executive Level Positions, like CEO
- Marketing (experienced or manager-level)
3. Include skills in your work experience
One of the best ways to showcase your skills on a resume is by writing experience bullet points featuring your greatest professional accomplishments. This allows you to not only show that you possess certain job skills, but also helps prove you’ve used them to produce results for previous employers.
Simply follow these three steps and you’ll be able to reinforce your experience section with abilities that help you attract recruiters and impress hiring managers.
Step 1: Make a list of all your relevant skills
Put together a list of every ability you feel is relevant to your target position. If you’re struggling to think of any, you can try using the job descriptions of ads within your industry, as well as looking at LinkedIn profiles of people working in similar roles.
Once you’ve created your list, go through and circle all the skills that are relevant to you. These should be your focus.
Step 2: Create achievement-oriented bullet points
Once you have your list, the next step is to convert those basic skills into bullet points that show you can produce positive results. The easiest way to do this is by using the Problem, Action, Result (PAR) method.
- Problem: First, identify an issue or responsibility at work
- Action: Then, show how you used a skill to address the “Problem”
- Result: Finally, highlight the positive result of your “Action”
Check out how a project manager used this method to emphasize their communication skills:
- Problem: Ensuring all departments understand every aspect of a project
- Action: Communicating with departments
- Result: Smooth completion of project
Then, they took this information and turned it into an achievement-oriented bullet point:
Communicated the needs and problems of 3 different departments to department heads, ensuring the smooth and timely completion of projects.
In a single bullet point, this project manager illustrates how their communication skills helped produce actual results at a company. Using this method goes a long way toward proving your potential value as an employee and highlighting skills in your resume.
Step 3: Back up your abilities with numbers
Adding numbers to your achievements in the experience section of your resume is a great way to show exactly how you’ve used your skills in a work environment.
Numbers, percentages, and other bits of concrete data make your bullet points give hiring managers a clear picture of what you’re capable of, ultimately making you a more appealing candidate.
Here are some examples of how to use hard numbers to emphasize the skills on your resume:
- Increased conversion rates by 10% on a client’s web-based service offering through SEO/SEM campaigns
- Conducted data regression analysis of the relationship between company stock prices and industry trends, achieving a 15% more accurate prediction of performance than previous years
Leadership & Management:
- Hired, trained, and coached 50+ staff members on customer service skills, food and beverage knowledge, and health and safety standards in preparation for the restaurant’s July 2015 grand opening
For more relevant examples of quantification in action, take a look at a resume example from your industry.
4. Put your top skills in your resume introduction
Hiring managers only have seconds to look at each resume that comes across their desk.
One of the best ways to immediately grab their attention is by highlighting your relevant resume skills as quickly as possible. That’s where your resume introduction comes in handy.
A strong resume objective or resume summary provides an overview of your most valuable skills right at the top of the page. This immediately shows employers that you have the base qualifications necessary for the job.
Here’s an example of what a strong skills-based resume introduction looks like in action.
Skills-based resume introduction:
Additionally, consider adding a list of core competencies on your resume to quickly communicate your most relevant skills.
Frequently asked questions about resume skills
What are the best skills for 2021?
The best skills for resumes in 2021 are skills that make you look qualified for the specific job you’re applying for. However, it also helps to take into account recent changes to how companies operate.
Showcasing your knowledge of remote working software and emphasizing that you’re self-sufficient is a great way to prove to employers that you’re ready for the modern workplace.
What skills should I put on my resume if I have no work experience?
You should put soft skills on your resume if you have no work experience. For example:
- Critical thinking
- Positive attitude
- Time management
Additionally, listing language skills on your resume (if you have any) is a great way to set yourself apart from other more experienced applicants in the US.
How do you organize skills on a resume?
You organize skills on a resume by listing your most job-relevant abilities at the beginning of your skills section.
Additionally, you can feature your most marketable skills in your resume introduction to help catch the attention of employers right away.
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