From Good to Great: Elevating Your Resume with the Right Skill Set


June 02, 2024

From Good to Great: Elevating Your Resume with the Right Skill Set

When you apply for a job, employers first see your resume. It's like your personal billboard. You want it to stand out and show off what makes you unique.

One way to do this is by highlighting your skills. Skills are things you're good at doing. They can be learned through school, work, or even hobbies.

Having the right skills on your resume can make a big difference. It's not just about impressing employers; it's about empowering yourself. This guide will help you understand how to list and describe these skills effectively and inspire you to take control of your career narrative.

By following these tips, you'll ensure your resume shines and experience a sense of accomplishment when you see a positive response from employers!

Understanding Different Types of Skills

Knowing the types of skills to include on a resume is critical. There are three main kinds: hard skills, soft skills, and transferable skills.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Hard Skills

These are specific abilities or knowledge needed for a job. They can be measured and tested. For example:

  • Coding
  • Data analysis
  • Graphic design

You learn these through school or training programs.

Soft Skills

These are personal traits that help you work well with others. They aren't easy to measure but are very important. Examples include:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

You develop these over time through experience.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills can be used in many jobs and industries. These might include:

  • Time management
  • Leadership
  • Adaptability

They show that you can handle different tasks and roles.

Understanding these skill types helps you choose what to highlight on your resume. This makes it easier for employers to see why you're a good fit for the job.

Identifying Relevant Skills for Your Industry

Unleash your resume's power by identifying the essential skills in your industry. This makes your resume stand out and shows employers you are a perfect fit for the job.

Researching Industry-Specific Skills

Start by looking at job postings in your field. Notice what skills employers ask for most often. These are the skills you should focus on.

You can also read articles or reports about trends in your industry. They often mention new tools or techniques that are becoming popular.

Analyzing Job Descriptions

When reading job descriptions, pay attention to the hard and soft skills. Hard skills include knowing how to use specific software or machines. Soft skills could consist of teamwork or problem-solving abilities. 

If you are using the NextJobPro job scan feature, it will enlist all the soft and hard skills needed in the job description.

Doing this research will help you determine which skills will make your resume shine and reassure you that you're presenting the right skills to potential employers.

How to Effectively List Skills on Your Resume

When listing skills on your resume, placement is critical. You want to make sure they stand out.

First, consider a dedicated "Skills" section. This can go near the top of your resume, right after your summary or objective statement. Here, you can list hard and soft skills relevant to the job you're applying for.

Next, think about integrating skills into your work experience section. For each job you've held, mention specific skills you used and how they helped you succeed in that role. This shows employers what you know and how you've applied it.

Prioritizing is also essential. Start with the most relevant skills mentioned in the job description or those critical to your target industry. If a company values teamwork and communication highly, put those at the top of your list.

Remember to be specific when describing your skills. Instead of saying "good at computers," say "proficient in Microsoft Office Suite." Specificity helps paint a clearer picture of what you bring to the table.

Lastly, keep updating this section as you gain new experiences and learn new things. Your skill set should evolve along with your career.

Crafting Strong Skill Descriptions

Crafting strong skill descriptions is critical to making your resume stand out. You want to show what you can do, not just list skills.

First, use action verbs. Action verbs make your skills sound more dynamic and impactful. For example, instead of saying "good at teamwork," say "led team projects."

Next, add quantifiable results. Numbers catch the eye and give a clear picture of your achievements. For example, if you increased sales by 20%, mention it! This shows that you have made fundamental contributions in past roles.

Tailor each description for the job you're applying for. Look at the job ad and match their needs with your skills. If they need someone who knows Excel, highlight how you've used Excel in past jobs.

Remember to keep it simple. Avoid jargon or complex words that might confuse readers.

You'll use these tips to create strong skill descriptions that grab attention and showcase your abilities!

Showcasing Technical Proficiency

Showcasing technical proficiency on your resume is vital. It shows you have the skills needed for the job. Here’s how to do it right.

First, highlight any certifications you have. Certifications prove that you’ve been trained and tested in specific areas. For example, if you're a web developer, mention your HTML or CSS certification.

Next, list any technical training you've completed. This could be courses or workshops related to your field. If you've taken an advanced Excel course, include it here.

Another way to show technical skills is through project examples. Describe projects where you used these skills successfully. Did you build a website? Mention what tools and languages you used.

Remember to use precise language when describing your tech skills. Avoid jargon that might need clarification for readers who aren't experts in your field.

You'll demonstrate solid technical proficiency on your resume by showcasing certifications, training, and projects.

Emphasizing Soft Skills Through Experience

Soft skills are crucial. They show how you work with others and handle tasks. Here’s how to highlight them on your resume.

Integrating Soft Skills into Work History Narratives

When listing past jobs, weave in soft skills. For example, if you managed a team, mention leadership and communication. Did you solve problems? Note your problem-solving abilities.

Providing Context with Specific Achievements or Scenarios

Give examples of when you used these skills. Instead of saying "team player," describe a time when teamwork led to success. Your collaboration could have improved project outcomes by 20%. These details make your claims stronger.

Employers see their value in action by showing soft skills through authentic experiences. This makes your resume stand out more effectively.

Using Keywords for ATS Optimization

When you apply for jobs online, your resume often goes through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This system scans resumes to find the best matches. To get noticed, you need to use the right keywords.

First, copy the job description and paste it into the NextJobPro Job Scan feature. It will enlist the soft and hard skills required for this job. These are likely keywords that the ATS will look for.

Next, include these keywords in your resume. You can add them in your skills section or work experience details. Make sure they fit naturally into sentences. Again, if you are using NextJobPro, you have the provision to write bullet points for your narrative that are likely to make an impact.

For example, if a job asks for "project management," mention it where relevant: "Led project management tasks." This shows you have what they're looking for.

Don't just list random skills, hoping they'll match something. Be specific and honest about what you can do. If you need to improve at something mentioned in the job post, don't include it to pass the ATS scan.

Remember to update your resume each time you apply for a new job. Tailor it with fresh keywords from each unique job posting.

These tips will improve your chances of getting past the ATS and landing an interview!

Related: Convert Application into Job Offer by understanding ATS

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Listing Skills

When listing skills on your resume, avoid these common mistakes. They can make a big difference.

Overloading with Too Many Irrelevant Skills

List only some skills you have. Focus on the ones that matter for the job you're applying for. If you add too many irrelevant skills, it can confuse employers and clutter your resume.

Being Vague or Using Clichés

Avoid vague terms like "good communicator" or "team player." Instead, be specific about what you've done. For example, say, "led team meetings" or "resolved customer issues."

Not Tailoring Your Skills to Each Job Application

Each job is different. Make sure your listed skills closely match the job description. This shows that you are a good fit for the role.

Ignoring Soft Skills

Soft skills are essential, too! Focus on more than just technical abilities. Include soft skills like problem-solving and time management if they apply.

Forgetting to Quantify Achievements

Whenever possible, use numbers to show your success with a skill. For instance, instead of saying “improved sales,” say “increased sales by 20%.”

By avoiding these mistakes, you'll create a more robust resume that stands out.

Read also: Hiring Manager wants to see this in resume objective, read here: Resume Objectives

In Summary

Listing the right skills on your resume can make a big difference. It shows what you can do and how well you fit the job. Remember to keep updating your skills as you grow in your career.

Constantly tailor your resume for each job application. This way, you'll stand out to employers and have a better chance of getting hired. Keep learning new things and adding them to your resume.

Good luck with your job search!