Employment is a critical issue these days as the job market has become too demanding for candidates. Now, if you’re a job hunter, know that it’s tough out there. You are going to be looking at some fierce competition. You walk this difficult path, and one best friend who will always support you is your resume. Your resume will help you bag the interview and land the position that you want.
It is a difficult task, crafting a good resume. Sometimes you want to add the right skills for resume, but you don’t get the length correct. It’s a challenge to make quality and quantity walk together and make a lasting impact on your employer. The hiring managers will be interested in your skills, and you will be assessed based on the skills you have already mentioned in your resume.
What is a skill?
In layman’s terms, skill is your ability to perform a specific action. Skill is often acquired with practice. It is your ability to use the knowledge gained from education to execute a specific task and make your life easy. Skill is your competence and your expertise to perform a certain work assigned to you effectively. You must include a skill section in your resume. There is no defined skill set for a resume. There are certain must-have skills for your resume that every employer is looking for in his employee. Since there is a lack of experience, skills in resume for freshersis the most important section. You must decide carefully on what skills to include in your resume.
What are the types of skills?
A person has endless skills to add to his resume. But as mentioned above, there are certain must-have skills for your resume. These must-have skills for a resume are divided into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. The candidate must spend some time deciding on the skills that will be most effective for the current job opening. You should be aware that the current employer is looking for a person with both hard and soft skills. Your resume, particularly how effectively you have mentioned your skills, keeping in mind the relevance, increases your chance of getting called for the interview. It can determine how far along you advance in the hiring process. Your resume skills can also influence your package.
Hard skills are also known as technical skills that may be required to accomplish a particular task as a part of your job. These skills will determine your responsibilities for the post. Hard skills are fully acquired through education or practice, or training. You either have these skills, or you don’t. These skills are specific to a particular job. For example, software development skills would include computer programming and languages. This again is a hard skill acquired through a degree or diploma course.
An employer is looking to hire a person and not a machine, or else he would have hired a robot. Soft skills are people skills. These skills determine your personality and personal attributes. Your soft skills are as important as your hard skills as they determine how well you will be able to fit into the company and how well you will be able to adapt to its culture and work ethic. When a candidate has comparable experience levels and technical skills, your soft skills can be an extra cherry on top.
What are the best skills to put on your resume?
Since the recruitment managers are loaded with applications, we all know that it’s highly crucial for the applicants to make themselves stand out by making their resumes unique and interesting. A recruiter will spend at max only 2-3 minutes on a resume and decide whether to weed out the candidate or to shortlist him for the interview. Soft skills on your resume are as necessary as your hard skills. Hence, keep in mind to include both of them in your resume in a particular order of their relevance. Computer skills, leadership experience, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving talent, and organizational skills are some of the skills to add to your resume to make it more appealing.
Top soft skills to put on resume
Your soft skills improve or reduce your chances of being recruited. It interests your hiring manager as much as any other skills. They want to know you as a person or whether you’ll be able to fit well into the institution. Smart managers know that a person will have poor communication and no team spirit will create pressure on the entire team and environment of the office culture, and this may take a heavy toll on the workplace. Your resume, skills, and performance in the interview will help the employer be assured that you will not only do your job well but also add to the team and help it thrive. So before adding the soft skill set for your resume, review the duties of the position you are applying for and pick only the relevant skills.
Here are ten soft skills and personal attributes that you can add to your resume:
This skill is as important for a fresher as it is for an experienced individual. Whether you’re trying to kickstart your career or trying to shift company priorities, you will face some problems. There can be a number of situations in your work life where you will face a lot of disruptions. Companies want employees who can easily adjust and adapt to the changing scenarios around them.
2. Attention to detail
We are human beings, and one trait that makes our nature is making mistakes and learning from them. Even though mistakes are bound to happen, mistakes in businesses make you pay in time and money. One way to showcase this trait to your probable employer is by submitting an error-ridden resume and cover letter. A tailored resume that exemplifies your diligence is a perfect way to make an excellent first impression.
Your interpersonal skills will come in handy if you are going to work in a team. How well a rapport you share with the members of your own team and the members of other departments will be an essential soft skill to have. You can cite examples from your college life when you were an active participant in a project or incidents where you have demonstrated successful partnership.
Communication is the most sought-after key skill. The importance of this skill transcends industries and positions. Verbal writing and presentation skills are important skills to have. Employers look for people who can present in front of an audience with confidence.
One can never deny the importance of a fresh new idea to solve a problem at hand. You need to be creative with your problem-solving skills. Employers are looking for people who can bring in new approaches to old problems. They look for candidates who actively challenge the status quo and offer novel solutions.
6. Customer service
The success of a company is measured in the effectiveness of its customer service. Employers want their staff to be on time, whether it’s about the submission of a project on time or merely coming to the office on time. Employers want someone dedicated and someone who can meet the client’s expectations.
7. Decision making
Allowing a person to make their own decisions gives them a certain level of autonomy and a little confidence to the employee that his boss believes in his sagacity. The managers must allow their employees to assess a situation and determine the next steps and not rely on their superior’s guidance at every step.
Empathy is a valuable trait as it allows the candidate to put himself in other’s shoes and relate to their feelings. It is crucial if you want to engage with them and share a good rapport effectively.
No matter the position, leadership is a must-have trait in any candidate. A person with leadership skills can inspire and motivate his team. He acts with integrity and fairness. It’s always a good choice to highlight this skill on your resume and cite instances where you have to lead a team or a group. Also, you can give the results and back them up with solid numbers.
Today we are working in a hustle. Present-day offices are way busier than in the past. A strong resume that demonstrates that you can multitask can hold you in good stead.
Besides these 10 significant skills, you can also mention these general skills:
A positive approach is required to navigate a difficult situation. A positive attitude is about sheer grit and resilience. It is about determination to get the work done but not with the negative approach and mind.
Life is all about challenges and hurdles. You cross one, and there comes the other. The same is the case with your job. There’s always going to be one problem or the other to solve. The ability to resolve conflicts using creative solutions is the prized skill for a resume.
No employer wants to keep giving the pep talk to an employee. Nobody’s boss has that much time in the fast-paced world today. Instead of doing that, he’d fire that employee and hire one who can actually keep himself motivated and who’s always excited to do his job.
4. Time management
Time management is a primary skill to have. Demonstrate your time management skills on your resume by mentioning your time management skills and how you get the most of your workday.
5. Work ethic
Your work ethic involves a number of other soft skills like responsibility, integrity, honesty, punctuality, and reliability. Mention all those qualities and elaborate on them briefly in your cover letter.
Top hard skills to put on resume:
Hard skills are the skills you have acquired through your certifications and degrees. However, they are also skills to add to a resume. Include only specific proficiencies on your resume. For example, software developer skills would include their expertise in different computer languages like C, C++, JAVA, HTML, etc. you can also mention other skills as mentioned in the job opening if your skills match. Keep in mind that your software skills resume and cover letter should highlight where you have utilized your mentioned skills. Also, keep it short, do not go rambling on for pages and pages.
Here are a few technical skills to mention in your resume which are in demand based on the field.
1. Data analysis
Analytical skills are an extremely valuable asset to have. Businesses are based on various forms of data, from technical to other relational databases. A hard skill in this field, along with strong writing and verbal skills, can hold you in good stead in the job market.
It’s not just the finance sector that requires an individual to find percentages and create data charts. For instance, a marketing professional is likely to work on survey results from time to time. Even a teacher, for that matter, surveys the result of a student and calculates their percentages.
Other than the apparent design professions, like fashion and web design. There are jobs in almost every field now that require some type of design skills. Even working on a presentation would require some design skills so that the ppts don’t look too shabby and the audience is able to relate it with your explanation.
4. Computer software and application knowledge
COVID pandemic has brought into fashion remote hiring. It has allowed individuals to work from the comfort of their homes. There is hardly any work now that is not being done via the internet or computers. Hence, it’s necessary to develop basic computer skills, if not the languages.
5. Writing skills
Jobs involve writing. Filing a report also demands you to be able to write. Hence, having basic writing skills is an absolute necessity and can fetch you some extra points on your resume. Your resume filled with grammatical errors, wrong choice of words, and tone will push you back in the race. One way to demonstrate this skill is via your cover letter and emails to your recruiter. Read them over and over again and ensure that there are not any typos and silly errors. You can also list any heavy writing projects you have completed.
Every company handles its accounts section. The skills required in accounting are invoicing, payments, collections, and proficiency in software like FreshBooks and QuickBooks.
7. Data privacy
With cloud computing, cybersecurity is an important asset of any organisation. The skills vary as per the field and position.
8. Human resources and planning
HR specialists are responsible for hiring new candidates and build a solid and able workforce for the organisation. These individuals also handle employee engagement. They are also responsible for organising training programs and cultivating team-building skills among the employees. Strong communication and management skills are a must to have if you have an interest in this area.
This skill allows you to be a great asset for the company as you can deal with more customers than those who can speak only one or two languages. The more clients you serve, the greater is your value as an employee. This is a unique skill, and possessing it will help you stand out from the crowd. The most sought-after second languages are French, Arabic, German, and Spanish, but it also depends a lot on the type of industry you are working in.
10. Typing skills
Certain desk jobs like that of a clerk, transcribers, data entry specialists, etc, should have fast typing skills. Their speed is determined by the industry in which they’re working. Words per minute will be mentioned in your job description. These skills can be developed easily by taking free online classes and tests on various websites.
You can also put SEO (search engine optimization) as an additional skill if you are well-versed in this area. SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) are key aspects of most jobs these days. Whether you’re a writer or editor, or a publicist, reviewing your experience with google analytics and keyword planner, keyword optimization, and content creation will provide you with an edge over other applicants.
How to effectively organise your skill section?
Now that we know how important the skill section is in your resume, you must know how to create a skill section in your resume to advertise and highlight your best key skills to the employer.
When you write a resume, it must contain all the relevant information in a short and crisp manner. Organise your content in a way that is succinct and easy to read for the employer. The most commonly used way to make your skill section neat and look more put together is by creating a table above your professional experience. List your skills in this table. Or you can mention your skills as a bulleted list in your resume.
Follow the steps below to have a well organised skill section
Sort by relevance
If you are applying for a marketing position, your prior experience with a garage is not of the most relevance. However, you can always look through your responsibilities in your previous job and try to find relevance with the current position you are applying to.
In the garage, if you were responsible for providing customer service, that is something transferable to a marketing job.
- Add a highlights section.
Your resume must only have value-oriented content. Your employer wants the results to assess how well you can perform a task. Hence, follow the achievement-based approach as opposed to the task-based. If you’ve had various roles and achieved different heights in each of them, list only the ones you are very proud of and that are relevant. Don’t make the lust too long. 4-5 achievements are okay, and add them to your career highlights.
- Categorize by skill
If you are higher up in your career, you probably must have had very diverse roles. If you are a manager, your daily tasks would include managing staff, communicating with clients, developing and managing projects, maintaining smooth daily operations, and hiring and training staff. You can always categorise your content into sections to illustrate the diversity in your responsibilities.
How to discover the skills that the company values and match your resume skills to the job description?
We have laid enough emphasis on the fact that your resume must be customized. One way to do it is by using the job description to its best. But you can always go the extra mile and search the employer to gain more insights into the company’s ethics, values, and goals. You can ask if you know someone who has previously worked with that company or is currently an employee. You can also use popular websites for company reviews. You can get an idea about the company’s demands from a candidate and even their interviewing process. You can also reach out to the company’s official website.
Many companies nowadays use ATS to collect, scan and sort a resume. This software ranks the individual in the order of most to least qualified candidates. A customised resume crafted with relevant top skills will rank you higher and in the most qualified candidates. You must use keywords and phrases to match the job listing. You repeat common words and phrases from similar postings. But remember to tailor your resume as every job description is not the same.
If the required skill is mastery is Adobe Creative Suite, listing “experience with software for creative professionals won’t help you. Instead, mention your expertise level and be specific with the certifications.
Skills in resume for freshers
A student works hard in his college and in his studies to be able to find a job and earn a living at the end of three years of college. But when you start working on your resume, you learned during your research that work experience is important to be considered for any job. But being a fresh graduate, you know that you will fall short here. Now what to do so that despite having only academic experience, you can stand opposite an experienced individual.
There are a few skills that if you mention effectively on your resume, you will be able to compete better in your job hunt. The skills for a resume for freshers need to be organized properly.
1. Technical skills
Technical skills are your hard skills, knowledge of your subject, and the knowledge you have acquired from school or internship. For certain industries, you must do a specialised course. Take, for example, for the IT industry, a coder must have knowledge of different machine languages. Other industries also consider employees with impressive skills.
2. Communication skills
This is a must-have skill, whether you are a fresher or an experienced individual. Employers look for candidates who have excellent written and oral communication skills.
One part of any job demands you to deal with clients, talk to your peers, and work together to achieve the same goal. Communication skill is essential to communicate with managers effectively. It helps you get the job done peacefully and in time. And fortunately, it is a skill that can be learned. It can be acquired through rigorous and continuous practice.
3. Team spirit as well as ability to work individually
The ability to work effectively in a team is an excellent skill to have as institutions are built on the pillars of teamwork. But sometimes your manager will not have time to supervise and check all your work. Hence, you must also possess the ability to work individually. You must be flexible to do any kind of work that is thrown your way.
4. Organisation skills
Any plan cannot be considered successful unless it is also executed effectively. And a part of the execution process is to organise. Plan, prioritize and organise to achieve your goals. Thus, organisational skills become crucial for any employer to look for in his probable employee. An employee with good organisational skills can increase productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
5. Leadership skills
Leadership skills allow you to interact with people successfully. A leader tends to put people first. He has the knowledge of emotional intelligence, analytical skill, patience, etc. they have integrity and tend to lead by example.
Software skills resume example.
Top skills to include if you are an experienced individual in any field
- Readiness to learn and grow
What you shouldn’t do with skills on your CV?
We have discussed all the important information above about what you should be doing to make your resume skill section more attractive, lucrative and effective. While there are Dos, there ought to be Don’ts.
Let’s have a recap of things that you should avoid doing:
You need to be picky about the information that you are furnishing the employer with. Don’t be vague in writing your CV. Don’t lie on your CV about your skill. Don’t inflate the job title. Don’t add certification courses that you have no knowledge of. You must not embellish your CV with false claims and stretch the truth. Companies these days conduct background checks and call references. In such a case, any false claims on your CV are more likely to cause damage than benefit. Plus, you will lose your trustworthiness and any future changes to apply again with the company.
Don’t leave out numbers.
Numbers are necessary. They highlight your achievements. Try to quantify your value by adding numbers like the number of members in a team that you lead or the number of sales increase with your assistance etc. use percentages wherever necessary. Don’t leave out accomplishments that involve numbers.
Don’t misuse words
Your resume is not a place where you can go rambling for pages. Don’t get too flowery with your language. Check your resume for wordiness. Add or subtract words where it is required. Avoid using business jargon and clichés.
Don’t forget to proofread
Make it a habit to proofread any document before you submit it. Go over your resume before submission to check for any typos or other grammatical mistakes. You can also take the help of someone you trust and make them read your resume, get their feedback, and make considerable changes. Also, review a printed copy. It is easier to catch errors in print.
How important is a resume?
Your resume is more like an advertisement, and its purpose is to bag you an interview with the employer. Its job is to stimulate the employer’s interest in you, enough to call you for an interview because he wants to know more about you. A resume provides a brief overview of your professional life and career. They demonstrate your skill in a clear, concise, and easy to understand manner. Your resume will come in handy at job fairs and interviews. It can also assist your request for a letter of recommendation. A resume is also for your graduate school application.
Why do I need an objective on my resume?
Objective communicates your needs to the employer. It gives precise information to the probable employer about what you are looking for from the very beginning. It is not necessary but is often recommended to make your resume stand out. It grabs the reader’s attention at once, and it is more effective if it is relatively specific. They know what you are interested in, and it becomes easier for them to decide where you would fit.
What is the appropriate length of a resume?
The most appropriate length of a resume is one page, but of course, it can go over a page. But keep in mind don’t write unnecessary information and experience. No need to blabber on your resume. Add only relevant information. For recent graduates and college students, a resume should fit into one page. Describe your experiences clearly and comprehensively.
What is the best format for a resume?
There is “no” best format as such for resume writing. Your resume is more about the content. Follow any format, but what matters more is how well you have utilised its sections. Your success depends on what you have done with your resume and what you are trying to accomplish. However, the most widely used format for a resume is the chronological resume. But you may use a functional/skills resume if you are a fresher or have little work experience. You can also use a functional or a skill resume if you are changing your field and if your education is very different from your chosen career path.
Should I include my volunteer experience on my resume?
Yes absolutely. Volunteer work allows you to acquire the same experience that any paid position will do. All an employer is looking for is your skills and how well you have demonstrated them in a working environment. Volunteer positions do not need to be designated as “volunteer” or listed separately. They can listen alongside your work experience in the same list.
Can hobbies and interests be added to the resume?
Hobbies and interests are personal information. Adding this information to your resume will help the employer gain insights into your personality and who you are as an individual. However, this is not one of the most important sections of your resume and also the first one to be removed if you run out of room. Most important are the activities that helped you develop and demonstrate other important soft or hard skills.
How can I get more help with my resume?
If you need more help with your resume, you can hunt the internet for more information and tips to improve your effectiveness. There are a number of websites counsellors who assist clients online. You can take their help in reviewing, creating, or updating your resume.
What is an ATS, and how do I make an ATS-friendly resume?
ATS stands for applicant tracking system. This is the same place where you upload your resume if you are applying online. Companies and organisations take the help of different tracking systems with different calibre. Hence, you must always write an ATS-friendly resume. Now, what does it mean? It means you use standard formatting, that is, standard fonts, section titles, work history. Also, list every information in the decreasing order of their relevance. Avoid the use of tables, charts, headers, footers, font colors, pictures, and graphics. Prepare it in a word or .doc file and convert it to PDF before uploading it on ATS.
Must I include my honours and GPA on my resume?
Adding honours degree specifications is entirely voluntary. There is no compulsion if you have studied it, so you have to put it on your resume. Add it only if you have impressive grades or distinction in it. You don’t want it to do more harm than good.
If you are a fresher, your academic achievement will be your most valuable asset. You can apply the thumb rule here, “flaunt it if you’ve got it.”
Do I need more than one version of my resume?
Yes, most likely, you would need a different version of your resume if you’re applying to different posts or companies.
- You may need more organisational format for your resume i.e., chronological, functional, or combination formats. The Chrono format is the most sought-after and can be used in extreme situations. Purely functional resumes are less popular and least preferred by employers. Most ATS do not even accept this format.
- You may need more than one delivery format. For example, a formatted, print version is used for postal mailing and interview (usually in MS word with . doc file extension). One page version of the same is used for networking. If you submit it as an attachment electronically, use a plain, simple version again in the MS Word .doc file. Use a text version for submitting to job boards, recruiter, or employer websites. For publishing on a webpage, use the HTML/web version. Submitting your resume as a PDF offers an added advantage as it is not vulnerable to viruses and is totally compatible across computer systems.