Best skills to list on your resume (and some to exclude)

By Robin Reshwan, CS Advising

Here are some in-demand skills and abilities to include on your resume.

THE WORLD OF WORK HAS changed dramatically over the past year due to the need to be socially distant and the resulting employment downturn. These hurdles magnify the importance of showcasing desired skills and capabilities during your professional career – especially during the job hunt. The first step of almost every job application process is to submit a resume. With so much riding on that first impression, reflecting targeted skills in your resume is key. Here are some in-demand skills and abilities to include on your resume.

Time Management

Many employees and employers are experiencing remote work for the first time. Managers, who can no longer walk around and see that you are busy, need other ways to gauge productivity. Be sure to capture how you manage time, efficiency and results when writing your resume.

Virtual Communication Skills

An additional challenge brought on in a virtual work environment is how to build effective relationships without in-person connections. Show evidence of how you have expanded or strengthened relationships in and outside of your company using virtual communication tools. This can be as simple as listing the digital tools you use – such as Teams, Slack and Zoom. You can also write more descriptive impact statements. For example, explain how you created an online presentation template implemented by the sales team which resulted in 10 new deals. You can also explain how you increased engagement in virtual all-hands meetings by creating polls and encouraging the use of Q&A features.

Succinct Writing

With the rise in video meetings and enterprise messaging tools came the rise in Q&A and chat responses. Success with these platforms requires mastery of the art of getting to the point – succinct and well-written questions and responses are key. How you write your resume (and cover letter) are evidence of this competency. Don't overlook the importance of concise and relevant content in your resume.

Impact

An effective resume shows – not tells – how you add value. Yes, you need to list your responsibilities, but you also need to show what happened because you were there. In other words, call out your impact. For example, if you are responsible for recruiting and hiring and you would say it is one of your key strengths, include how many people you hired, how quickly you made those hires and how many of your hires have outlasted the average tenure of your firm or your industry.

Collaboration

Every job description asks for "cross-functional collaboration." This means you need to know how to play well in the sandbox with other people who aren't your immediate co-workers. To illustrate your collegial approach, describe any "enterprise-wide taskforces" you were invited to join. For example, communicate how your team was able to move through financial planning and analysis approval process two times faster than other managers because of your track record of quality work. In short, show what was accomplished when you partnered across the company.

Deadline-Driven

In a competitive, technology-infused environment, even results with a 24-hour turnaround can seem 25 hours past due. The most productive employees get stuff done fast and have tactics for setting and exceeding deadline-driven expectations. Give evidence of your ability to work under pressure.

Ability to Thrive in Chaotic Environments

When speed is king, many organizations act before all options are assessed. Employees who can survive and even thrive in cultures where priorities shift, variables change, and goals are sometimes moving targets are in greater demand than those looking for stable and fixed roles. Most growing companies are in flux and they want employees who can function even without a fully developed structure.

Analysis and Insights

No role or industry is untouched by data and analysis. If you are a doctor, you likely keep tabs on satisfaction ratings or statistics and information about the patients you treat. Delivery driver? You have tracking regarding your route time, deliveries made and lost or damaged packages. Know the quantifiable metrics for your profession and address what those indicators show about you.

Things to Not Include on Your Resume

Your home address. It is not needed at the time of application and it can have some privacy or discrimination risks.

Titles to contact information. For example, instead of "Phone: 555-123-4567" you can just list the number "555-123-4567." It will be recognized for what it is.

Years of experience. First, job posts never ask for "two decades of managerial experience" – so writing that as the lead in your summary earns you no points for applicant tracking systems or with the recruiter. And second, a reader can add up your years of experience (or make a pretty good guess) with your work history listed on your resume – so why give up your most valuable resume real estate to words that add no value to your candidacy?

Subjective or adjective-heavy soft skills. For example: Don't use phrases such as "people person," "meticulous attention to detail" or "team player." Recruiters and hiring authorities see hundreds of resumes. Subjective descriptions do not add any value. Hiring professionals have seen or met enough detail-oriented people who leave periods off sentences and forget to check spelling. If you cannot demonstrate or validate that you have a soft skill, it doesn't help your candidacy.

With remote work environments and general economic uncertainty for many companies, discerning hiring managers are looking for candidates who can walk in with the skills to do the job immediately. Make sure your resume reflects the qualifications and skills most in-demand for the role you are targeting. A customized, well-written resume is a critical component of a successful modern job search.

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