Skills To Put On A Resume – [The Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills]
When somebody says the word “skills” to you, what immediately comes to mind?
For most people, the answer is “things I am good at“.
Typing. Woodworking. Public speaking… Cartwheels.
Yes, all of the things listed above can be considered skills, but when it comes to the job hunt, you have to be selective as to which of these to include on your resume.
Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills
There are two basic types of skill-sets that a job seeker can have and include on their resume, and those are either hard skills or soft skills.
Hard skills are the skills or abilities that are easily quantifiable…that can be learned through classroom work, apprenticeships or other forms of learning. These include things like operating tools, computer programming, speaking foreign languages or typing.
Soft skills are more subjective and harder to quantify, and are often grouped together by what we know as “people skills”. Some examples of soft skills include communication, relationship building, self-awareness and patience.
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Which Skills Are More Important?
The debate rages on about which of these two types of skills are more important.
On one hand, in a tough job market, job seekers with a proficiency in a specific hard skill may get hired more quickly as companies look to hire people that can deliver value with fewer resources (ex. the need for training, etc.).
However, we are also seeing that many hiring managers are choosing to hire candidates with highly developed soft skills.
Because they feel that they can always train the candidate in the hard skill that is required to complete the job, but soft skills are often skills that cannot necessarily be taught.
So what does this mean for you?
But before we get started you should sign up for our new “Job Alerts” program…As we always say “Always Be Applying!” Give yourself as many chances as possible to land your dream job.
How Do You Choose The Skills To Put On a Resume
Here’s the deal.
You know what you’re good at. You know the things you grew up doing as a kid, or the things you learned in school (and excelled in), or the activities you did after school (ex. sports, fine arts, clubs, etc.).
So you should already have a list of things that you would consider yourself proficient in.
This is a good place to start.
Here are the steps for choosing the right skills:
1) Make a List of The Skills You Know You Have
Or better yet, take a look at the list below and make a note of the skills you have an above-average proficiency in.
List of Skills for Resume
Hard Skills List
- Word Processing
- Computer Programming
- Heavy Machinery Operation
- Spanish Fluency
- Advanced Bookkeeping
- Schedule Management
- Systems Analysis
- Automotive Repair
- Environmental Cleanup
Soft Skills List
- Problem Solving
- Strong Work Ethic
- Time Management
- Critical Thinking
- Handling Pressure
Okay, so chances are you don’t necessarily have many (or even one) of the hard skills on the list, but these examples should give you an idea of the type of skills you should be thinking of.
2) “Mine” the Job Descriptions For Must-Have Skills
The next step is take a look at the job description for the position you are applying for and make a list of the required skills that are listed. Are any of the skills on both of the lists you just created? If so, these are must-haves for your resume.
Now notice if there are any skills on the job description that you don’t have. If there aren’t any, great!
But if there are…don’t panic. You just need to dig a little deeper into your past in order to demonstrate that you have the skill… more on that in a minute.
3) Tailor Your Skills to the Company/Position
As you may have read in our other blog articles, it is always very important to “tailor” your job interview to the company and position you are interviewing with/for (for a more in depth look on our Tailoring Method, check out our article Job Interview Questions and Answers 101). This includes your resume and the skills you include on your resume as well!
As we mentioned before, the company will have a specific set of skills that they will require the successful candidate to have in order to do the job to their standard.
So as you might have guessed, it is absolutely essential that these skills make an appearance on your resume.
You need to spend some more time researching the company, and this means going through all of their various web properties including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Because they will leave clues about the types of people they hire, which will give you a better idea of the skills that you need to inlcude in your resume. This especially applies to soft skills.
Ask yourself this. “Do I have a similar skill-set to the types of employees they hire?”
If the answer is yes, great!
If the answer is no… read on!
And as we said before, REALLY dig into the job description to make sure you have a strong understanding of the skills that are required for the job, and make darn sure you put those skills in the skill section of your resume.
What If I Don’t Have The Required Skill?
We brought up the earlier scenario in which you didn’t necessarily have the skills required to do the job.
Here’s where you have to be honest with yourself. If the skills required are part of the core competencies of doing the job, you may want to reconsider your application.
For example, if a golf course posts a job posting for a golf pro, you probably shouldn’t apply if you’ve never swung a golf club.
Use your common sense to determine whether or not you are a suitable candidate for the job.
Quite often though you will come across a situation where it is close…where you kind of have the skill.
This is where you need to get creative (and NO we don’t mean lie).
You need to be able to demonstrate, using examples from your past, that you are capable of doing the required skill. So go over your work history with a fine-tooth comb and try to come up with a few examples of you doing the skill.
They are going to ask about it in your interview, so don’t think you can just wing it and everything will be fine.
Where Do You Put Skills On Your Resume?
There are a few different schools of thought when it comes to deciding where to put the “skills” section on your resume. There isn’t one right answer, because just like everything else in the job interview world…
It depends on the industry, company and position you are interviewing with/for.
For example, for a job where technical competencies are of the utmost importance, it is often beneficial to list the skills closer to the top of the resume, right underneath the resume objective or resume summary statement.
However, if through your research you determine that the hiring manager will put more weight into your experience, you may want to lead with your experience and put the skill section further down your resume.
At the end of the day, the selection of the skills themselves (and ensuring that the right skills are chosen) is the most important thing.
After all, most hiring managers will easily find your skill section regardless of where it is on your resume.