Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills in Your Resume
There are endless skills that you can include on any resume, and you have to decide which ones will be the most effective. There are hard, industry-specific technical skills, as well as soft skills that every job demands.
Hard skills are technical abilities that are specific to a particular job and are often measurable. For software developers, their set of hard skills would include specific programming languages. Soft skills are personal skills or creative abilities that can come naturally or be strengthened over time. Some examples of soft skills are adaptability, self-motivation, people skills, time management, and the ability to work under pressure.
“ Some great skills employers love to see on your resume if you are looking for remote work are: written and verbal communication, the ability to work independently, time and task management, organization, comfort with technology, and specific knowledge of remote communication tools like Zoom, Skype, Dropbox, Google Suite, etc., ” shared Toni Frana, FlexJobs’ expert career coach.
Note: FlexJobs is the longtime leader in helping job seekers find the highest-quality remote, work-from-home, hybrid, and flexible jobs. You can sign up for premium-level access to our database of hand-screened job listings, as well as job search and career webinars, and many other great resources! Learn today how FlexJobs can empower your job search !
What are the best job skills on a resume?
It’s no secret that many hiring managers spend only a short amount of time looking at a resume before deciding whether to pass on a job candidate or add them to the shortlist. What you may not know is, employers today are looking for both hard and soft skills for a job. Read any job posting, for example, and you might see the following requests:
These skills and attributes, and others we discuss in this post, are essential for today’s workplace. Hard skills are the technical skills required to accomplish the tasks and responsibilities associated with the job. They’re acquired through practice, education and training. They’re measurable and easy to advertise: You either have the desired technical skills and experience, or you don’t. Your work history and certifications will speak to them.
Soft skills, or interpersonal skills, reflect one’s personality and personal attributes. They can relate to an ability to fit into a company’s work culture, handle stress, communicate clearly or play well with others, for example. They may be “soft,” but they’re important skills for a resume: When job candidates possess comparable experience levels and technical skills, soft skills can tip the balance.
How to match your resume skills to the job description
Many companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS), which acts as an electronic filter, to collect, scan, sort and rank resumes to narrow applicant pools to the most qualified candidates. That’s why you need to customize your resume and cover letter using keywords and phrases that match the job listing (so long as you possess the skills you’re listing, of course).
If an employer is looking for a graphic designer with mastery in Adobe Creative Suite, for example, you wouldn’t just claim “experience with software for creative professionals.” List the software by name, give your expertise level, and — if you have it — highlight your Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) certification. Likewise, if an employer is searching for an accountant with “experience processing daily invoices and credit,” then use similar language in your resume. Simply listing “gathering receipts” as a duty won’t likely score well with an ATS.
Repeat common words and phrases from other postings of the same role, too. But remember, every job description is different. Tailor the keywords and skills on your resume and in your cover letter for each position.
Example skills to put on a resume
While you can often easily determine hard skills to list based on details in the job description, selecting relevant soft skills is not always as clear. To help narrow down which soft skills to put on a resume, review the various duties of the position and determine which of your personal strengths will help you successfully complete those tasks.
1. Active listening skills
Active listening is the ability to focus completely on a speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information and respond thoughtfully. Active listeners use verbal and nonverbal techniques to show and keep their attention on the speaker. Developing and using active listening skills can show your colleagues that you are engaged and have an interest in the project or task at hand.
2. Communication skills
Communication skills are the abilities you use when giving and receiving different kinds of information. Some examples include communicating ideas, feelings or what’s happening around you. Communication skills involve listening, speaking, observing and empathizing. Having strong communication skills is important in every industry at every career level.
3. Computer skills
Computer skills involve the ability to learn and operate various technology. Hardware skills allow you to physically operate a computer and can be as simple as knowing how to turn devices on and off. Software skills help you to efficiently use computer programs and applications. There are some software skills that employers may consider as prerequisites to employment, like using spreadsheets or knowing a certain coding language.
4. Customer service skills
Customer service skills are traits and practices that help you address customer needs to create a positive experience. In general, customer service skills rely heavily on problem-solving and communication. Customer service is often considered a “soft skill,” including traits like active listening and reading both verbal and nonverbal cues.
5. Interpersonal skills
Interpersonal skills are traits you rely on when you interact and communicate with others. They cover a variety of scenarios where cooperation is essential. Developing interpersonal skills is important to work efficiently with others, solve problems and lead projects or teams.
6. Leadership skills
Leadership skills are skills you use when organizing other people to reach a shared goal. Whether you’re in a management position or leading a project, leadership skills require you to motivate others to complete a series of tasks, often according to a schedule.
7. Management skills
Managerial skills are qualities that help you govern both tasks and people. A good manager is organized, empathetic and communicates clearly to support a team or project. Managers should also be adept in both soft skills and certain technical skills related to their industry.
Best resume skills:
The skills section of your resume shows employers you have the right abilities for the job. Here are some of today’s most common and sought-after resume skills:
active listening, communication, computer skills, customer service, interpersonal skills, leadership, management skills, problem-solving, time management and transferable skills
8. Problem-solving skills
Problem-solving skills are qualities that help you determine the source of a problem and quickly find an effective solution. This skill is highly valued in any role for every industry. Solving problems in your role might require certain industry or job-specific technical skills.
9. Time management skills
Time management skills allow you to complete tasks and projects before deadlines while also maintaining work-life balance. Staying organized can help you allocate your workday to specific tasks by importance. Deeply understanding your individual, team and company goals can provide a starting point when deciding how to manage your time.
10. Transferable skills
Transferable skills are qualities that are useful to any employer as you change jobs or careers. Transferable skills often include soft skills like flexibility, organization, teamwork or other qualities employers seek in strong candidates. Transferable skills
The best skills to put on a resume vary by job type, career level, education and other factors. For example, the skills most important for a commercial truck driver will differ from those of a marketing manager. Before you apply to any job, take time to review the skills that are most valuable to the employer and tailor your resume based on which of your personal skills fall within their requirements.
The goal of your resume skills list is to show the recruiter or hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the role and will bring defined value to their team. By paying attention to the type of candidate an employer is looking for and making connections to your own strengths, you can quickly stand among the competition.