In a job market where recruiters review an average of up to 250 applications per job listing, you need to submit a resume that stands out. But where do you even start? Since you already know which skills to leave off your resume, and you’ve studied which trends to try and which to ignore, it’s time to talk about what should be on your resume. Here are three experts' takes on the skills that will have recruiters excited to see your resume come into their queue.
Hard Skills for Your Resume
Whether you’re a high-tech data scientist or a high-performing elementary school teacher, here’s a selection of hard skills that can make you stand out from the competition.
1. Data Collection and Analysis
Increased technology usage in the workplace means there’s more data than ever to collect, track and analyze. That’s why data analysis is such a huge growth area, says Matt Sigelman, the CEO of Burning Glass Technologies, in Time: “Mainstream American companies have come to realize that in order to become more effective in the marketplace, they need to analyze data,” explains Sigelman. “And we’re seeing those skills showing up at a premium in a variety of industries, including marketing, logistics jobs and operations management jobs.”
How to Highlight: Reflect on the opportunities you’ve had to capture and analyze data in your current job and include them on your resume. If you can’t think of any, consider taking a free online course in data analytics from a website like edX or Coursera, then apply what you learn on the job.
2. Social Media
Social media makes a timely addition to any resume, says career coach Bethany Wallace: “Regardless of career field and job role, possessing social media management skills is a plus for any candidate,” she remarks. “Many companies still resist hiring a social media manager, and the ability to fill that gap might make the difference in a candidate's standing.”
How to Highlight: If you completed coursework or an internship that involved social media, include it on your resume — extra points for sharing specifics on a campaign you executed. Don’t list recreational social media on your resume — limit this to times that you’ve managed social media accounts in a professional capacity.
3. Content Management Systems
Website building and design aren’t just for coders anymore. Easy-to-learn platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace and more can help you learn the basics of creating and maintaining a blog or website. "WordPress is the most popular CMS (content management system) in the world. Tons of sites, big and small, use it to power their businesses," says Laurence Bradford, creator of Learn to Code With Me, on Forbes. "WordPress is helpful to know in a range of careers from web development to writing."
How to Highlight: Learn how to use these platforms through one of the many available online classes or tutorials, then list it under the skill section of your resume. If you want to go the extra mile, build a personal website or online portfolio and include a link to it so recruiters and hiring managers can see your skills for themselves.
Soft Skills for Your Resume
Even in a technical age, it’s not all about technical skills. In fact, in a report compiled by the International Association of Administrative Professionals, OfficeTeam and HR.com, 67 percent of HR managers said they’d hire a candidate with strong soft skills even if that person’s technical skills were lacking.
While you can’t rely on being hired for a job based on soft skills alone, such a strong majority opinion among hiring managers is more than enough incentive to bring a focus to soft skills on your resume and in your interview process. Just don’t list them out point-blank — that’s an amateur (and unconvincing) way to do it. Instead, let your resume bullet points demonstrate how you've leveraged these skills.
Communication consistently ranks among the most important skills for a candidate to have — and that includes both verbal and written. "According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 73.4% of employers want a candidate with strong written communication skills," says Kaleigh Moore, contributing writer for Inc.
How to Highlight: Edit your resume for grammar and spelling, but also for clarity. Rewrite long sentences to be shorter, then read your resume out loud to make sure all of your thoughts make sense. Prove your communication skills by email and phone by being brief and to-the-point — yet warm — whenever you interact with the recruiter.
“Employees themselves are hopefully ‘solved problems,’ fulfilling their job duties and more,” writes Jessica Amidon on the AthLife blog, a career development resource for post-professional, professional and collegiate athletes. “An employee that is able to present creative solutions to complex problems creates tremendous value for the employer and makes himself indispensable.”
How to Highlight: Most resume bullet points should focus on the solution to a problem, such as “Increased email open rates 10 percent.” Whenever possible, articulate the problem as well as the solution so that recruiters can see exactly how you’ve applied your problem-solving skills.
3. Positive Attitude
It's not hard to understand why employers value this skill so highly — it can help in nearly every situation you encounter in the workplace, from collaborating with others to identifying creative solutions. “Having a positive attitude is absolutely crucial if candidates want to stand out from their peers," Wallace agrees.
How to Highlight: It’s easier to display a positive attitude in an interview than on a resume, but you can start by framing your on-the-job challenges in a positive way. Using verbs like “overcame,” “surmounted,” “succeeded” and “won” can contribute to an overall positive, energetic impression.
Whether you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for a job, or currently employed but considering your next move, list as many of these skills as you can to make your resume pop.