Blog Business Writing Skills to Put on a Resume: 100 Best Examples of Hard & Soft Skills

Skills to Put on a Resume: 100 Best Examples of Hard & Soft Skills

Hannah Yang

Hannah Yang

Speculative Fiction Author

Published Dec 15, 2021

Resume Skills Title

If you’re applying to jobs, you’ll need to craft a resume that showcases your most valuable skills.

Your resume will be a document that represents you throughout the recruitment process, from your initial application to your final interview.

Hiring managers are looking for specific skills on your resume that will demonstrate your ability to succeed in the role.

So how do you choose the right skills to include?

This article will explain the most important skills to include on your resume, and some resume skills examples.

Contents:
  1. Where Do I Include Skills on My Resume?
  2. Why Is It Important to Include the Right Resume Skills?
  3. What’s the Difference Between Technical Skills and Soft Skills?
  4. How Do I Decide Which Skills to Put on My Resume?
  5. Best Hard & Soft Skills for a Resume (with Examples)

Where Do I Include Skills on My Resume?

Most resumes are organized into the following sections:

  • Contact information
  • Resume summary / objective (optional)
  • Education
  • Work experience
  • Skills
  • Hobbies / interests (optional)

The purpose of the skills section of your resume is to provide a concise list of the abilities you can offer.

The main section of a resume

In the skills section, you can mention each of the skills you have that might be relevant to the job, from language fluency to coding abilities.

You can also use a scale to show your level of expertise for each skill (e.g. beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert).

Here’s an example of what that might look like in your skills section:

  • Programming languages: C (expert), Java (expert), Python (advanced)
  • Leadership skills: people management (expert), Agile methodology (advanced)

But here’s the twist: your key skills should be included throughout the resume, not just in the skills section.

Purpose of the skill section

To really impress your hiring manager, you should mention your key skills in your work experience section, along with numbers to back them up.

Show the specific instances you’ve used those skills and how they’ve brought value to your previous employers.

Here’s an example of what that might look like in your work experience section:

  • Led an Agile team of 12 software developers to build an innovative music education app using Java and Python

Why Is It Important to Include the Right Resume Skills?

Choosing the right skills to include in your resume is important because employers are looking for specific skills that you’ll need to succeed.

Many companies use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) to screen applicants’ resumes before passing them on to the hiring manager.

The software looks for specific keywords, and if you have those in your skills section, you can get past the screening.

If you don’t, your resume will get discarded without ever being seen by human eyes.

Definition of ATS

Even if the company still uses a traditional system, the hiring manager will likely only look at your resume for seven seconds before making the decision of whether or not you progress to the next step.

Having the right skills in a prominent position will get you an interview, or maybe even the job.

What’s the Difference Between Technical Skills and Soft Skills?

Technical skills, also known as "hard skills," are skills that you’ve learned through practice and training.

You can measure your proficiency with a technical skill by taking a test or passing a class.

What are hard skills

Examples of technical skills include:

Soft skills are skills that you gain from life experience rather than formal education or work experience, such as communication skills and interpersonal skills.

Soft skills are harder to test, since they’re more qualitative than quantitative.

What are soft skills

Examples of soft skills include:

  • Empathy
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving

As a general rule, you should include more technical skills than soft skills on your resume.

Since soft skills are harder to measure, they tend to make less of an impact on your resume, even if they’re just as important in the workplace.

Anyone can claim that they’re excellent at teamwork, but this skill is hard to confirm or deny in a quantifiable way.

On the other hand, someone who claims they can fix a car engine is more likely to be able to measure that ability, and to back it up with a certification or with experience fixing cars.

How Do I Decide Which Skills to Put on My Resume?

You might be tempted to copy and paste the hottest keywords, but that will make your resume look generic at best and inaccurate at worst.

Your goal is to give the hiring managers an accurate picture of what you can do and how your abilities can bring value to the role.

Every skill you include on your resume should have the following three traits:

  • It should be relevant to the role you’re applying for
  • It should be a skill you’ve demonstrated repeatedly
  • It should be a specific skill, not a generic one

Idenitfy the best resume skills

Let’s take a closer look at each of these traits.

Choose Resume Skills that Are Relevant to the Role You’re Applying for

You should always tailor your skills to the specific role you’re applying for.

Even if you’re a world-class photographer, that skill won’t make a difference to hiring managers if you’re applying for a job with no photography involved.

So how do you find the job skills that will bring value to the role?

One great place to look for relevant skills to demonstrate is your job description.

Most likely, your job description will mention specific skills that they’d like to see from candidates. Look for keywords and phrases that require specific abilities.

For example, say you’re a graphic designer and the job description you’re looking at includes the following sentence:

The perfect candidate for this job will have experience with Adobe Creative Suite and Dreamweaver. Experience with logo design is a plus.

Looking at this sentence, you can pick out some of the top skills your position needs: Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver, and logo design.

Here’s how that might look in your skills section:

  • Adobe Creative Suite: Photoshop (expert), Dreamweaver (expert), Illustrator (advanced), InDesign (advanced)
  • Art: logo design (expert), color theory (advanced), typography (intermediate)

In addition to looking at the job description you’re applying for, you can also look at the job description for a similar role at a different company.

It will most likely mention other relevant skills that you can consider including.

Another tip is to look at related LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn is a great resource for useful skills, as many people will list their job skills on their profiles.

Where to find resume skills

Choose Resume Skills that You’ve Demonstrated Repeatedly

Your skills section shouldn’t feel separate from the rest of your resume.

Instead, it should work cohesively with your education and experience sections to highlight the abilities you’ve demonstrated in the past.

Each skill you list should be supported by evidence.

One way to do this is to look through your work experience section and see which skills stand out.

For example, if you led a team project at your past company using Agile methodology, you can consider including Agile methodology (a hard skill) and team leadership (a soft skill) in your skills section.

If you need to narrow down your list, you can rank all your skills as beginner, proficient, advanced, or expert. Prioritize the ones in the advanced or expert categories.

How to rank resume skills

You might be applying to a role that’s different from the roles you’ve had before. In that case, it’s useful to look for transferable skills from your previous experiences.

For example, if you’re applying to a health insurance job and you’ve worked in car insurance before, you can pick out the skills that are related to insurance, not the ones that are related to the transportation industry.

That way, your skills section can help tie your past experiences to your new role.

How to select resume skills

Choose Resume Skills That Are as Specific as Possible

The last criterion for choosing your job skills is specificity.

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Some skills are universal and can apply to almost any role, such as problem-solving skills, communication skills, and familiarity with Microsoft Office.

You can include these if you’d like, but they don’t tell the hiring manager as much as more specific skills do.

For example, "communication skills" is a vague soft skill.

Use ProWritingAid’s Word Explorer to help you make this vague skill more specific. The common 2-word phrase suggestions are particularly useful in this situation.

ProWritingAid's Word Explorer

Instead of "communication skills," you can say "personal communication," "verbal communication," or "mass communication."

Similarly, "programming languages" is a vague hard skill. Instead of "programming languages," you can say "Javascript," "Python," "HTML" or the other specific programming languages you’ve used in the past.

Generic and specific skills

Best Hard & Soft Skills for a Resume (with Examples)

If you’re looking for more skills to include in your skills section, you’re in the right place.

We’ve compiled a list of professional skills for each of the following job sectors:

  • Data analysis
  • Design
  • Education
  • Finance / Accounting
  • Healthcare
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Retail
  • Software development

Relevant Skills for a Data Analysis Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a data analysis role:

  • SQL and Hive
  • Programming languages (R, Python, Scala, Matlab)
  • STATA, SPSS, SAS
  • Data Mapping
  • Entity Relationship Diagrams
  • Big Data tools
  • Microsoft Visio
  • Machine learning

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a data analysis role:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Technical and non-technical communication
  • Analytical ability
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Capacity for innovation

Relevant Skills for a Design Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a design role:

  • Adobe Creative Suite: Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop
  • Dreamweaver
  • Infographics
  • Color sense & theory
  • Photo editing
  • Typography: spacing, line height, layout, choosing fonts
  • Interactive media design
  • Targeting and marketing through visual communications

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a design role:

  • Creativity
  • Eye for aesthetics
  • Communication
  • Active listening
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Persistence
  • Storytelling

Relevant Skills for an Education Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for an education role:

  • Updated curriculum knowledge
  • Foreign languages (Spanish, Mandarin, etc.)
  • Research & data analysis
  • WebCT or Blackboard Teaching skills
  • File management
  • Electronic presentation skills
  • Video conferencing skills (software like Zoom)
  • Educational platforms (software like Elearn)

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for an education role:

  • Patience
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Imagination
  • Conflict resolution
  • Critical thinking
  • Enthusiasm
  • Motivation

Relevant Skills for a Finance / Accounting Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a finance role:

  • Microsoft Excel (Advanced)
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Big Data Analysis & SQL
  • Know Your Customers (KYC)
  • Cognos Analytics (IBM)
  • Visual Basic
  • Accounting Software
  • Cash flow management

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a finance role:

  • Clear communication
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Analytical ability
  • Business knowledge
  • Numerical competence
  • Accuracy
  • Attention to detail
  • Capacity for innovation

Relevant Skills for a Healthcare Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a healthcare role:

  • CPR
  • Telemetry
  • Paperwork / record-keeping abilities
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Acute care
  • Infection control
  • Surgery preparation
  • Foreign languages (Spanish, Mandarin, etc.)

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a healthcare role:

  • Patient care and assistance
  • Compassion
  • Attention to detail
  • Physical endurance
  • Teamwork
  • Flexibility
  • Positivity
  • Empathy

Relevant Skills for a Management Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a management role:

  • Business knowledge
  • Data management and analytics
  • Agile project management
  • Six Sigma techniques
  • The McKinsey 7s Framework
  • Porter’s Five Forces
  • PESTEL
  • Proposal writing

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a management role:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Charisma
  • Task delegation
  • People management
  • Negotiation
  • Planning
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Innovation

Relevant Skills for a Marketing Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a marketing role:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
  • A/B testing
  • Data analysis
  • HTML & CSS
  • WordPress
  • Social media and mobile marketing
  • Email marketing

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a marketing role:

  • Storytelling
  • Sales
  • Creativity
  • Charisma
  • Curiosity
  • Multitasking
  • Flexibility
  • Intuition

Relevant Skills for a Retail Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a retail role:

  • Inventory
  • Loss prevention
  • Operations
  • Product knowledge
  • Visual merchandising
  • Window displays
  • Cash registers
  • Point of sale (POS) systems

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a retail role:

  • Customer service skills
  • Resolving complaints
  • Organization
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management
  • Flexibility
  • Friendliness
  • Positivity

Relevant Skills for a Software Development Role

Here are some of the hard skills you could include for a software development role:

  • Programming languages (R, Python, Java, Javascript, C)
  • Object-oriented design (OOD)
  • Software testing and debugging
  • Git/Version control (Github, gitlab)
  • Graphic User Interfaces (GUI)
  • Application Programming Interface (API)
  • Content Management Systems (CMS)
  • Responsive design principles

Here are some of the soft skills you could include for a software development role:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Time management
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Flexibility
  • Problem solving
  • Analytical ability
  • Creativity

The Most In-Demand Technical Skills Right Now

Finally, we’ve also researched the skills that are most in demand right now.

The need for different skills evolves quickly, and the ones employers are looking for have changed a lot over the years.

A 2020 LinkedIn Talent blog survey found that ten of the top technical skills today are:

  • Cloud and Distributed Computing
  • Statistical Analysis and Data Mining
  • Middleware and Integration Software
  • Web Architecture and Development Framework
  • UI Design
  • Software Revision Control Systems
  • Data Presentation
  • SEO / SEM Marketing
  • Mobile Development
  • Network and Information Security

The most in demand hard skills

If any of these hard and soft skills might be relevant to your role, it could be a great idea to include them on your resume.

Don’t worry, however, if these skills aren’t applicable to the role you’re applying for.

Employers won’t care about skills that aren’t relevant. You should focus on the ones that are most useful for you.

The Most In-Demand Soft Skills Right Now

According to The Ladders, the seven soft skills employers are looking for are:

  • Active listening
  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Innovation
  • Teamwork
  • Work ethic

Given the pandemic, adaptability is likely to be a key skill. Companies are looking for employees who are flexible and can roll with the punches.

Emotional intelligence includes empathy, motivation, and self-awareness. These are increasingly important in the workplace today.

The most in demand soft skills

Mentioning some of these soft skills on your resume could show your hiring manager how well you’d fit into the company culture.

Final Words

There you have it: a complete guide for choosing which skills to include on your resume.

Let us know in the comments if there are any important skills you’d recommend including. Best of luck with your job search!


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Hannah Yang

Hannah Yang

Speculative Fiction Author

Hannah is a speculative fiction writer who loves all things strange and surreal. She holds a BA from Yale University and lives in Colorado. When she’s not busy writing, you can find her painting watercolors, playing her ukulele, or hiking in the Rockies. Follow her work on hannahyang.com or on Twitter at @hannahxyang.

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