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Best Skills for a Resume (with Examples and How-to Guide)

Check the best skills to put on a resume. Learn technical skills, hard skills & soft skills examples and breeze through the recruitment process.

Olga Ber
Olga Ber
Career Expert
Best Skills for a Resume (with Examples and How-to Guide)

“No one reads the skills section on a resume,” they say.

“Resume skills are just buzzwords,” they say.

 

Well, they are wrong.

 

A well-crafted list of skills on your resume doesn’t just impress the recruiter. It’s an absolute necessity if you want your resume to get past applicant tracking systems.

 

Here’s what you’re going to find out right now:

 

  • The kinds of skills you can put on a resume
  • How to find out what skills the employer wants to see
  • How to put skills on a resume for maximum impact
  • What skills are in demand for specific jobs (we’ve got 100+ examples!)

 

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1. What are the Best Skills to Put on a Resume

 

While every job has its own set of skills, some skills are truly universal. These are the skills that employers in all fields are looking for:

 

  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Digital literacy
  • Initiative

 

These universal skills are needed to be successful in any career.

 

But they’re not the only skills you can list on your resume. Let’s look at the different types of skills in more detail, starting with a broad pair of categories: hard skills and soft skills. 

 

2. What are Soft Skills and Hard Skills for Resumes

 

The skills on your resume can be divided into two main types: hard skills and soft skills.

 

Hard skills are the technical skills and abilities that you need to do your job. You can learn them through practice, repetition, and education. Hard skills are easy to measure and you can often prove them with a certificate.

 

Soft skills, on the other hand, are a reflection of your personality. They’re personal attributes and habits that enable you to work well with others, cope with stress, solve problems, and so on.

 

Hard Skills for Resumes: Examples

 

Here are some of the most in-demand hard skills for resumes:

 

  • Languages
  • Computer skills (e.g. MS Office, G Suite)
  • Coding (e.g. Java, CSS, HTML)
  • Research
  • Data analysis
  • Data entry
  • Project management
  • Operating machinery
  • Driving
  • Network and information security

 

Some hard skills are transferable across a wide variety of jobs—for example, most office jobs require either MS Office or G Suite skills. Others are highly specific—you probably won’t need white hat hacking skills unless you’re applying for a cybersecurity job.

Expert hint: Do NOT put obsolete skills on your resume. dBase or Lotus Symphony will not impress anybody. They’ll only make you look like you’re a tech-dinosaur.

The Best Soft Skills for Resumes

 

Here’s a list of useful soft skills (also known as personal skills) for a resume:

 

As you see, most soft skills are not job-specific: for example, you’re going to need communication and time management skills no matter what job you’re applying to.

 

Soft skills are closely related to personal qualities. Here are the qualities that employers look for:

 

Top Skills for Resumes: 10 Personal Qualities Employers are Looking For

 

  • Professionalism
  • Drive
  • Enthusiasm
  • Confidence
  • Creative thinking
  • Transparency
  • Perseverance
  • Honesty
  • Strong work ethic
  • Open-mindedness

 

3. How to Decide Which Skills to Put on a Resume

 

Those generic lists of skills you’ve just seen look nice… but how do you find out what you need to put on your resume to please a specific employer?

 

Here’s how to eliminate the guesswork and find out exactly what skills your dream employer is looking for.

 

Use the Power of Keywords for Resume Skills

 

Your first step is to read the job ad carefully. Most job ads have skills-related keywords scattered throughout the entire text.

 

Here’s an example job ad for a personal banker:

 

  • Delivers exceptional customer experience by acting with a customer first attitude
  • Ability to make personal connections, engage customers and always be courteous and professional in a team environment and proactively collaborates with others to help customers
  • Exudes confidence with clients when sharing product knowledge and solutions
  • Partnering with your branch team and Specialists to connect them to experts who can help with specialized financial needs
  • Strong desire and ability to influence, educate and connect customers to technology
  • Professional, thorough and organized with strong follow-up skills
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills
  • Engage and partner with team members and other LOBs to offer most appropriate products
  • Ability to learn products, services, and procedures quickly and accurately; delivers solutions that make our One Chase products work together

 

In this example, we’ve highlighted skills-related keywords for you. Do the same with the job ad you’re going to apply for.

 

In your resume, stick to these keywords as much as possible. Your resume will probably go through an applicant tracking system (ATS), and these systems automatically filter out resumes that don’t contain the same keywords as the job ad. So while it might be tempting to paraphrase the skills in the job ad, it’s better to stick to the original wording.

 

But…

 

What if you’ve found an ad for your dream job, but it doesn’t contain skills keywords?

 

Well, there are a few tricks you can try:

 

  • Research other ads for similar jobs (It’s likely other employers have the same expectations about candidates’ skills).
  • Look up other job offers from your employer of choice and note any skills that apply to your desired position.
  • Visit the company’s website to learn more about its values and culture. Watch out for keywords to describe your core qualifications and key skills (both technical and personal).
  • Do some research on LinkedIn: Look at the people who already work in the company and those who hold similar positions elsewhere. Pay attention to the job skills they list on their profiles.

 

Pick the Best Skills and Abilities for Your Resume

 

By now, you know that only relevant skills count. And you know how to list these skills on your resume.

 

But there’s more to it.

 

When you’ve found every single skill in the job ad and on the company’s website, you might end up with a huge list of 20+ skills.

 

That’s too many, so it’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff.

 

There’s one problem, though. The task may seem impossible when every skill feels relevant.

 

Here’s what to do.

 

Assess how good you are at each of your skills and talents. A simple scale from 1 to 5, or from beginner to advanced, should do.

 

Once you’re done—

 

Get rid of all the skills you only have a basic grasp of.

 

Why?

 

Have you heard of the so-called presenter’s paradox? In short: Listing low-ranking skills does NOT add any value to your resume. 

 

More than that: it takes value from it.

 

So if you feel like some of your technical skills or computer skills are basic, keep them to yourself. Let your resume highlight your best professional side.

 

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4. Where to Put Skills and Abilities on Your Resume

Now that you’ve curated an impressive (and honest) list of your skills, where do you put those skills on your resume?

 

Well, almost anywhere: in your resume objective or resume summary, resume profile, job description, a separate key skills list, and other resume sections.

 

Separate Skills Section

 

The skills section of your resume is just a bulleted list with the main keywords you’ve extracted from the job ad and other sources.

 

For a personal banker, this list could look like this:

 

Skills for Resume: Separate Skills Section Example

 

  • Customer service
  • Rapport-building
  • Communication
  • Collaboration/teamwork
  • Problem-solving/analytical skills
  • Sales
  • Product knowledge
  • Mentoring/teaching
  • Tech-savvy

 

These are the best skills to put on this particular resume.

 

Why?

 

Because they’re relevant to the position you’re applying for. They are your best skills (assuming you’re applying for a banker job). And they’re exactly what employers look for.

 

Now—

 

Revisit the job posting to make sure you didn’t miss any important skills the employer expects.

 

Double-check if you’re using the right skills and experience resume keywords.

 

After all, collaboration and teamwork are synonyms. But if the job posting calls this skill teamwork, stick to it.

 

Remember: the ATS is smart. But not too smart.

 

If the list of skills on your resume seems long (more than 10 bullets), you can split it into two categories: soft skills list and hard skills list.

 

Weaving Skills Keywords into Your Work History

 

Having a separate list of skills isn’t enough: for optimal results, you should sprinkle skills keywords all over your resume. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing an entry-level resume or applying to a senior position.

 

Here’s how you do it when writing your resume experience section:

 

Skills for a Resume: Work Experience Example

 

  • Delivered exceptional customer experience by displaying a customer first attitude. Consistently scored 90% and above in customer satisfaction surveys.
  • Made personal connections with 50+ customers to help them with specialized financial needs and partnered with the branch team to better identify cross-sale opportunities. Over 80% of referred prospects converted into clients.
  • Gained expert knowledge of 20+ banking products and solutions in the first 3 months.
  • Educated 50+ customers about the bank’s technological solutions, e.g. online banking apps for stock exchange tracking and trading, and VIOP transactions. 70% became regular users.

 

The highlighted phrases are resume keywords from the job ad we’ve quoted above. When describing your work experience, you can basically follow this formula:

 

Skills + Numbers = Resume Achievements

 

Grab a skill keyword that fits, combine it with an impressive number, and you’ve crafted an irresistible bullet point. You can use this approach for writing a resume with no work experience, too.

Expert hint: Employers start to pay more attention to candidates’ soft skills than hard skills. Mainly because soft skills cannot be easily taught. It’s part of the so-called hiring for attitude approach.

Using Skills to Spice up Your Resume Profile

 

What are your top skills? You know, those 2–3 skills that should catch the recruiter’s eye within a second of looking at your resume?

 

These are the skills that go into your resume summary (if you’re a seasoned pro) or your resume objective (if you’re just starting out).

 

Like this:

 

Skills for Resume Profile: Example

 

Adaptable and well-organized personal banker with 10+ years of experience. Eager to take on new professional challenges at JP Morgan Chase. Thanks to excellent communication and follow-up skills diversified the client portfolio by adding 20+ high net-worth individuals. Increased the branch revenue by 30% in Q4 2018.

 

By adding key skills to your resume profile, you make sure they won’t get overlooked. But make sure you choose them wisely.

 

The skills you put on a resume can’t be random or just there.

 

You only have one or two pages, six seconds of the recruiter’s attention, and 250+ candidates to beat—there’s simply no room for anything accidental.

 

5. List of Skills for Resumes: Best Skills for Every Job

 

Now let’s look at sample skills lists for resumes in different fields.

 

We don’t recommend that you paste them directly into your resume—after all, your resume should always be tailored to a specific job ad. But we still suggest you go through them for inspiration and extra tips. After all, we’ve collected 100+ skills—some of them are sure to resonate with you and your dream employer.

 

Marketing Skills for a Resume

 

Marketing skills are used to communicate brand value and promote products or services. They’re an obvious must-have if you’re applying for a marketing position, but they can also come in handy in other fields such as sales or graphic design.

 

Here are some marketing skills you can put on your resume:

 

  • SEO
  • Storytelling
  • Visual design
  • Copywriting
  • Creative thinking
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Agile project management
  • MailChimp, GetResponse, ConvertKit and other email marketing tools
  • MS Office and/or G Suite
  • Teamwork
  • Graphic design
  • Social media marketing

 

If you’re applying for a job in marketing, be sure to check our in-depth guide to marketing skills.

 

Sales Skills to put on a Resume

 

Every business wants to make sales, so there are tons of job openings for sales jobs. Here are some of the sales skills you can put on a resume:

 

  • CRM software (such as Salesforce)
  • Account management
  • Client acquisition
  • Pitch creation
  • Team management
  • Dealing with objections
  • Active listening
  • Negotiation skills
  • Lead qualification
  • MS Office
  • Presentation skills

 

Of course, the exact list of skills on your sales resume will depend on the specifics of your chosen job opening. Learn more about writing a resume for sales jobs in our ultimate guide to writing a sales resume.

 

Interpersonal Skills for Every Kind of Job

 

To be successful at any job, you need to know how to interact with people. No matter how good you are at the technical side of things, no one’s going to hire you if you can’t accept feedback, work in a team, or solve conflicts.

 

Here are the interpersonal resume skills that every employer wants to see:

 

  • Active listening
  • Cooperation
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Leadership skills
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Confidence
  • Persuasion
  • Communication skills
  • Networking
  • Empathy

 

Discover more skills—and ways to put them on your resume—in our dedicated guide to interpersonal skills.

 

Top Computer Skills for Your Resume

 

Who doesn’t need computer skills these days?

 

Of course, the exact skillset depends on your specific job. In some fields, basic MS Office skills are enough. But when writing a resume for an IT job, you’ll need a wide range of technical skills like coding in order to succeed.

 

Here are some of the most popular computer skills:

 

  • MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook)
  • G Suite (Google Docs, Sheets, Presentations, Gmail, etc)
  • HTML
  • CSS
  • WordPress and other CMS
  • CRM software (such as Salesforce)
  • Programming languages (C++, Java, PHP…)
  • Database management
  • Touch typing
  • System administration
  • AI/Machine learning

 

Feel free to discover more skills in our article on computer skills for resumes. Just remember that lying on your resume is a big no-no, so don’t pretend you know a programming language if you’ve only written a “Hello World!” program in it!

 

The Most In-Demand Technical Skills to put on a Resume

 

You’re not going to land a technical job without the corresponding hard skills. But what technical skills are worth putting on your resume?

 

Well, we at ResumeLab have actually taken the time to analyze the stats for 900 occupations. These are the most sought-after technical skills:

 

  • Spreadsheets
  • Database user interface and query
  • Computer-aided design
  • ERP systems such as SAP
  • Medical software
  • Development environments
  • Analytical and scientific software
  • Email
  • Word processing

 

If you’re curious about our analysis, check out our full study of top tech skills.

 

Leadership Skills: Examples for Your Resume

 

Leadership skills are essential if you’re applying for a job that requires you to take responsibility for a team. To know which exact skills you should include on your resume, re-read the job ad. But here’s a bucket list of leadership skills to get you started.

 

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Active listening
  • Assessing risks
  • Project management
  • Organizational skills
  • Agility
  • Communication skills
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Conflict resolution
  • Time management
  • Mentoring
  • Team-building

 

To learn more, consult our full-length guide to putting leadership skills on a resume.

 

Nursing Skills for a Successful Nurse Resume

 

To stand out among all the other candidates applying for the same nursing job, your resume has to show your skills in all their glory. Make sure you focus on highly relevant skills and scatter skills-related keywords throughout the entire resume.

 

Here’s a sample skills list for a nursing resume:

 

  • Accuracy
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Observation
  • Decision-making skills
  • Teamwork
  • Emergency room care
  • Bedside monitoring
  • Medical software
  • Pain management
  • Administration of medications

 

Yours can be different because the nursing field is so broad. Always focus on the skills that are present in the job ad. And if you’re looking for more advice on nursing resumes, take a look at our step-by-step nurse resume writing guide.

 

Top Skills for a Customer Service Resume

 

To be successful as a customer service rep, you need a specific skillset. Don’t be afraid to showcase your soft skills on your resume, but don’t forget the hard skills as well!

 

Here’s what a skills list for a customer service resume could look like:

 

  • Communication skills
  • Self-control
  • Stress management
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Empathy
  • Adaptability
  • Active listening
  • Cross-selling / Upselling
  • SAP ERP
  • Zendesk
  • Salesforce
  • MS Office
  • G Suite

 

Also, don’t forget to check out our step-by-step writing guide for a customer service resume. You’ll find tons of examples and expert tips that will help you craft a job-winning resume without any guesswork.

 

Retail Skills for a Resume

 

Want a retail job that won’t give you burnout in three weeks? Then write an excellent retail resume that will land you a job in a place with good pay and nice customers.

 

For this, you’ll want to focus on your retail skills, such as:

 

  • Attention to detail
  • POS systems
  • Cash management
  • Communication skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Decision-making skills
  • Multitasking
  • Self-management skills
  • Awareness of business processes

 

But before you copy and paste this list, remember to re-read the job ad and focus on the keywords you’ll find there. And if you get stuck crafting the other sections of your resume, take a look at our guide to writing a retail resume.

 

A+ Skills for a Teacher Resume

 

As a teacher, you know that just being good at your teachable subject(s) isn’t enough to be good at your job. You need a lot of other skills, both soft and hard.

 

Here’s what you can include on your teacher resume:

 

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Class management
  • Active listening
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Smart blackboard skills
  • MS Office

 

Need more tips? Check out our full guide to writing a teacher resume that’s top of the class. 

 

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Key Points

When listing job skills on your resume, remember:

 

  • The skills you put on a resume are important for the ATS and recruiters alike.

  • You must always tailor your resume skills to a particular job offer, so read the job ad carefully and extract all skills-related keywords out of it.

  • Weave these skills-related keywords into all the sections of your resume

  • Your resume should only mention your top skills. Leave out the ones you only have a basic grasp of.

What do you think are the best skills to put on a resume? Have you recently landed a job because of a unique set of skills? Are you an employer looking for specific skills and talents? We’d love to get to know your opinion. Give us a shout in the comments below.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Skills to Put on a Resume

 

What are good skills for a resume?

 

Here’s how to decide which skills would look good on your resume:

 

  • Re-read the job ad and highlight any skills-related resume keywords you come across.
  • Decide which of these skills you’re actually good at (be honest here)!
  • Put these skills on your resume.

 

Check out the ResumeLab resume builder for professional resume templates and more expert tips for writing a job-winning resume.

 

What are the 7 essential soft skills?

 

These are the 7 soft skills that employers are particularly looking for:

 

  • Communication (both verbal and non-verbal)
  • Teamwork
  • Adaptability (being curious, open-minded, and able to deal with change)
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership (even if you’re not applying for a management position)
  • Work ethic
  • Time management

 

Make sure you include at least some of these key skills on your resume.

 

Should I list computer skills on my resume?

 

These days, almost any job requires computer skills. So if the job ad mentions specific hardware or software skills, make sure you add them to your resume. Some common computer skills are:

 

  • MS Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
  • G Suite (Google Docs, Sheets, Drive, Gmail etc.)
  • Spreadsheets
  • Databases
  • Email tools
  • Web development skills (HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc.)
  • Enterprise resource planning software (SAP, Oracle)
  • Network administration
  • Cybersecurity

 

Avoid adding any irrelevant computer skills and make sure you’re honest about your skillset.

To learn more, check out our guide to putting computer skills on your resume.

 

Why is it important to include soft skills on your resume?

 

Soft skills define how you manage your work and how you interact with other people.

 

This is why employers want candidates with strong soft skills like communication, teamwork, time management, and so on.

 

So, even if you’re applying for a highly technical job, always include at least a few soft skills on your resume—like the ones you’ll find in our guide to interpersonal skills.

 

How many skills should you have on your resume?

 

Shoot for a list of 5–10 skills on your resume. In most cases, 8–10 bullet points are ideal.

 

When you’ve prepared your list of resume skills, make sure to weave the relevant keywords into the other sections of your resume like your resume summary, resume objective, and resume work experience.

 

What skills to put on a resume if you have no experience?

 

First, study the job ad to find what skills the employer is looking for.

 

These are the relevant skills that go on your resume. But make sure you only include the skills that you can prove by giving examples of life events where you used them.

 

You can find real-life examples of skills for a beginner resume in our full guide to writing a resume with no experience.

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Olga Ber
Olga Ber
Olga is a career expert with a background in teaching. At ResumeLab, she writes actionable guides to help job-seekers highlight their unique strengths and unlock their career potential.

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