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Must Have Skills To Put on Resume (Soft and Hard Skills)

Optimize your resume with essential skills. Learn about hard and soft skills and how to effectively showcase them for maximum impact.
By Synkdup Editorial Team  |  15 February 2024
Hard and Soft Skills

In today's competitive job market, standing out to recruiters requires more than a well-structured resume and a compelling cover letter. It's about presenting a complete package that demonstrates your ability to not only excel in your role but also thrive in a collaborative and dynamic work environment.

Recruiters seek candidates who possess a unique blend of hard and soft skills that not only match the specific job requirements but also fit seamlessly into the company culture.

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In this blog, we will delve into the best skills that can make you a magnet for recruiters, guiding you on the path to not just landing a job but also finding the perfect career fit. These tips can also help you write a better and more effective resume.

Types Of Skills To Put On A Resume

Skills that you add to a resume are probably one of the most important parts of a resume. If you have skills that are relevant to the job description, along with a good job interview, then there is every chance that you may get hired. Skills can be classified into three different categories:

  • Hard Skills
  • Soft Skills
  • Transferrable Skills

This article deals with hard and soft skills. It is important to understand the purposes of both and how to use them both in a resume and cover letter. It is also important to know how to highlight them. You can have the best skills, but if you do not know how to present them well on paper, it will act against you.

Diving into the Distinction Between Hard and Soft Skills

Now, let's break it down further. When we talk about skills, we're typically referring to two main categories: hard skills and soft skills. It's not just about what you can do, but also how you do it.

Hard skills are the technical and specific abilities required for a job, like coding or graphic design. On the flip side, soft skills are the interpersonal, communication, and emotional intelligence traits that make you a great team player and a valuable asset to any workplace.

In your resume, it's crucial to strike a balance between showcasing your hard skills – technical competencies – and highlighting your soft skills – those personal qualities that make you a well-rounded professional.

Together, they create a compelling portrait of your qualifications, making your resume a standout document in your job search journey.

The Significance of Hard Skills In A Resume

In the world of job hunting, hard skills are like the sharp tools in a craftsman's kit – they're specific, tangible, and get the job done. But what exactly are hard skills, and why are they crucial for your resume? In this section, we'll delve into the definition and examples of hard skills, showcasing how they demonstrate your qualifications and their pivotal role in job applications. Plus, we'll share some valuable tips on how to effectively spotlight these skills on your resume, ensuring that your potential employers see your capabilities at a glance.

The Power of Soft Skills In A Resume

Now, let's shift our focus to the often underestimated heroes of the workplace – soft skills. They're like the secret ingredient that makes every dish unforgettable. In this section, we'll define and provide examples of soft skills, highlighting why they hold immense value for employers. Discover how soft skills contribute to your success in a professional setting and learn the art of incorporating them seamlessly into your resume. After all, in today's job market, it's not just what you can do but how you do it that sets you apart.

Hard Skills to Consider For The Skills Section Of Resume

In the ever-evolving landscape of the job market, hard skills stand as your foundational building blocks. These concrete abilities not only validate your qualifications but also open doors to a myriad of career opportunities.

From mastering data analysis for data-driven roles to delving into programming languages essential for software development, your arsenal of hard skills can set you apart in various industries.

Let's explore the key hard skills that are not just in demand but also highly relevant to today's professional landscape:

Data Analysis: Proficiency in data analysis tools such as Excel, SQL, or data visualization software.

Relevance: Vital for data-driven roles in finance, marketing, and analytics.

Programming Languages: Mastery of programming languages like Python, Java, or JavaScript.

Relevance: Essential for software development, web development, and IT roles.

Project Management: Expertise in project management methodologies like Agile or Scrum.

Relevance: Crucial for managing projects in various industries.

Digital Marketing: Competence in digital marketing techniques, including SEO, SEM, and social media advertising.

Relevance: Valuable for marketing and e-commerce positions.

Graphic Design: Proficiency in graphic design tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

Relevance: Important for creative and design-oriented roles.

Financial Analysis: Strong financial analysis skills, including financial modeling and forecasting.

Relevance: Key for finance and investment-related roles.

Data Science: Knowledge of data science techniques, including machine learning and data mining.

Relevance: In high demand for data science and artificial intelligence positions.

Must have Soft Skills for Resume

Soft skills are your compass, guiding you through the intricacies of professional life. From effective communication that fosters collaboration to adaptability that lets you thrive in changing environments, soft skills are the unsung heroes in your journey. Let's uncover the essential soft skills that go beyond job titles and industries, offering you the keys to unlock your true potential:

Communication: Effective verbal and written communication, including active listening and articulating ideas clearly.

Relevance: Crucial for almost all roles to convey ideas and collaborate. How clearly you can put your thoughts into words is a crucial metric on which you would be judged by any hiring manager. So, focus on your dynamic speaking ability and work on improving it if it is subpar.

Teamwork: The ability to collaborate and work effectively within diverse teams.

Relevance: Essential for fostering a positive workplace environment. How well you coordinate with others as a link in a chain is an important measure for your candidature in almost every position out there. So, try to be more open and outgoing if you find yourself on the introverted side.

Adaptability: Flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and learn new skills quickly.

Relevance: Valued in dynamic industries and fast-paced environments. How well you learn new things and relinquish old patterns is typically taken as a measure of your crisis handling.

Problem Solving: Strong problem-solving skills, including critical thinking and analytical reasoning.

Relevance: Important for addressing challenges in various roles. How many tabs you can run in your head at once is, or how good your working or functional memory is the strongest predictor of your response to sudden challenges.

Leadership: Demonstrated leadership qualities, including the ability to motivate and guide others.

Relevance: Essential for managerial and supervisory positions. All companies prefer promoting within the organization rather than hiring managers. So, your leadership potential is always paramount in the evaluation of your candidature.

Emotional Intelligence: Understanding and managing emotions, both one's own and those of others.

Relevance: Crucial for effective interpersonal relationships. Empathy and the ability to put yourself into another person’s shoes are perhaps the most important soft skills or interpersonal skills one needs to succeed in a corporate workplace.

Time Management: Efficiently managing time and priorities to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

Relevance: Valued in roles requiring multitasking and productivity. Time-speed efficiency is a highly sought-after skill, particularly in client-based work, though it is no less valued on in-house projects either.

How To Develop Skills To Put on A Resume?

Knowing how to add to your skill set is important if you aspire to excel and maintain it in your line of work. This should include both hard and soft skills. Acquiring the right combination of hard and soft skills for your role is important.

Hard Skills

The best way to develop hard skills is to enroll in relevant courses and workshops. Also, work on applying those concepts in the workplace to help get a better grasp of them. You can also use free websites for learning, like YouTube, for instance. These are great ways to learn new ideas, and one can even learn from the best in their field.

Another great way to acquire more hard skills is to have a mentor. Growing up under their guidance can teach you a lot about the job and prepare you to take on more responsibility in the future. A mentor is typically a senior figure in your department who is more experienced and, hence, can guide you better and help you develop both as a person and as a professional.

Soft Skills

One of the best ways to develop many of the soft skills out there is to interact with more people at work and get more exposure in general in a professional environment. Most soft skills, like communication, leadership, empathy, etc., can be developed this way.

Reading books from reputed authors and articles from personal development gurus can help you massively. There are many good books out there on management, leadership, communication, etc. These can help us develop many important qualities. We can also learn from others who already have these attributes.

How Many Skills To List On Resume?

Having the right skills is important, but we must also know how to list them out intelligently on paper. Only then will we get noticed. Finding the right number of skills to put on a resume is important to appeal to employers. Typically, one should list 5-10 skills in total in their resume. If you are a bit more experienced, you can go for 10-15.

Getting this wrong can hurt your chances of getting recruited. Too few skills on your resume can make you seem seriously unqualified for the job and may even be interpreted by some as a sign of low self-esteem. Too many skills can make the most important not stand out, and they can even make it boring.

One common reason why a lot of candidates have listed too few skills is due to a lack of proficiency in the language. For example, if a person is not the best English speaker but has to make a CV in English, he may have certain skills but may not know how to articulate them into words.

In such a case, it may be better to list out their skills in their native language and use online tools to find the right translation for them. They can also seek assistance from someone they know who is proficient in the language.

Too many skills are often listed when candidates unnecessarily add irrelevant details about their abilities. Cut out all the skills that you feel are not related to the job description and add weight to the skills section of your resume.

For example, if you are applying for the job of an electrician, adding skills data entry is not needed if the skills section is getting too big. Only mention abilities connected to the job title in your resume.

If you feel you have good skills to add but the section is becoming too long, you can opt to use some of the less important ones in the cover letter.

Deciding On Skills To Put On A Resume

Knowing what to add (and what not to) can make all the difference in landing that dream job. This will require some introspection and other forms of analysis. Pick the right skills to list for the job you apply for after looking at the following tips.

Consider Previous Accomplishments

Reflect on your past and consider accomplishments in your life and the skills called upon to achieve them. For instance, a person was very active in school and college days at anchoring events or participated in several debates. They can write things like public speaking or communication on their resume.

Take Feedback From Others

Often, people we know see things in us that we fail to see. Taking multiple perspectives other than our own into consideration can help us massively. For example, let’s assume you are talking to your friends, and they tell you you are great at taking charge. They support their claims with incidents in the past where you showcased these qualities.

Now, after you’re done blushing, you realize they’re right and that you are a responsible person who can make a good leader.

Examine The Job Description

Thoroughly going through the job description can help job seekers understand the intent of the recruiters better. This can help them better understand what skills are relevant to the profile and what skills are not.

One should also avoid adding too many unnecessary skills, as they can make the resume too long and not as appealing. Some skills that one wants to add but fears may make the resume too long can be included only in the cover letter.

Guidelines For Skills Section Of Resume

Now that you’ve decided what to add and what not to, the next step is the presentation of the resume. A resume well presented may not guarantee you the job, but it sure will improve the odds. Here are some tips to help you out:

Put The Good Stuff First

The most relevant and important skills must come first. You can add the less important ones lower down. This will grab their attention and get them hooked. A lot of times, recruiters have several candidates to choose from and may not read everything word for word.

The last thing you want is to list the important skills at the end and realize the reader has already moved on to another resume before that. Avoid this error and always analyze what is important before writing it.

Get The Format Right

Before starting with writing the resume, one should take special care in ensuring they get things like the sequencing of headings, the visual appeal, including all the right sections, etc. right. They should research resume formats from multiple sources to get a clear idea of what to include.

Make It Formal

There is no real need to make it too colorful with fancy designs. Make it look simple and more official. It should mostly be black and white, except if you've added your photo. The page with the photo can be colored, and the rest is black and white.

Also, adding a simple passport-size photo to your resume can improve its appeal. This is especially true if you are applying online, as it makes the recruiter feel more like you’re a real person applying and not some fake account, which is very common on the internet these days.

Examples Of Skills To Put On A Resume By Industry

Now that you’ve gotten an idea of various skills and their types, let’s put them into practice with some examples. Below, we have put multiple industries under the microscope and analyzed what type of skills we need to apply to them:

Power Generation

If you are interested in pursuing Power Generation as a career path, then you need to know the kind of skills needed to get a job in this industry. There are a lot of good job profiles in this field that have a lot of scope for growth.

In terms of hard skills, most jobs require at least a bachelor's degree qualification related to electricity and power generation. They must also be adept at operating various machines, devices, and systems in the power plants. Be prepared for some on-the-job learning as well.

Soft skills that can help are good communication, as they will have to interact with other workers operating in the facility, so they will need to coordinate with each other regularly. Apart from that, they also need skills like adaptability; in case something goes wrong, they must be able to cope with it and make quick decisions on the spot.

Consumer Services

This is a job type that is on the rise at present, but is consumer services a good career path?

The customer service sector has a wide range of profiles available in varied work environments. Its numerous possibilities make it very appealing. There are also openings for such roles in companies across diverse industries.

Another plus about this field is that most jobs at entry level only require high school graduate qualifications. It is also a job type that requires a lot more soft skills than hard skills. The main objective of such roles is to improve the overall experience for customers.

In terms of hard skills, they require a lot of knowledge about the company and its products and services. However, most of these can be learned on the job as well.

Soft Skills are a lot more in demand in this line of work, such as active listening, social awareness, empathy, a calm head to handle rude customers, etc.

Consumer Durables

It is a very big industry with a wide scope. As the name suggests, the industry typically deals with manufacturing goods that do not wear out easily and are usually for long-term use. Many such items are also in day-to-day use like bicycles, blenders, furniture, etc.

There are a lot of good jobs that are available in this industry for one to check out. Many of them pay well, too. Most jobs in this industry require college graduates at the very least. They must have a good level of technical knowledge regarding their role as part of their hard skills. While soft skills include basics like teamwork, leadership, communication, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How to improve soft skills?

Ans: Soft skills, just like hard skills, can be improved with practice. For example, if a person is not good at written communication, they should practice writing more. They can also read the opinions of experts on how to improve this skill.

Q: How to list soft skills on a resume?

Ans: These can be listed together with hard skills on the resume. One must also look at the job description and figure out what skills will be most relevant in the role. It is preferable to list them in points rather than paragraphs.

Q: Is communication a soft skill?

Ans: Yes, it is a soft skill. This is because it is not a technical skill and prevails across many fields. It also helps improve the quality of work and relationships at the office.

Q: Why are soft skills important to employers?

Ans: The soft skills of the individuals pooled together help contribute to forming a healthy office environment and work culture. In the modern workplace, technical proficiency alone is not enough and must be supplemented by soft skills.

Q: Should I list soft skills on my resume?

Ans: Absolutely, they add something extra to your resume and can help you stand out. Employers are also paying more and more attention to them in current times.


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