Writing a resume is a difficult and challenging task. The writer needs to make a lasting impression on the reader(s). The document needs to be short enough to be easily read yet long enough to contain all necessary information and tailored for the specific role being applied for. Ideally, a resume shows off the applicant’s skills, particularly those that differentiate the candidate from the competition. But what skills should you include? Soft skills? Hard skills? Both?
What are hard skills?
Hard skills are the technical abilities required to accomplish the tasks and responsibilities of a position/job. These skills are gained through practice, education and training. They’re easily measurable using work history, certifications, a portfolio and/or skill assessment tests. It’s possible to prove that an applicant does or does not have the technical skill and experience requested. For some professions, advanced degrees and rigorous testing is needed to prove hard skills. For other professions, hard skills can be learned on the job and a candidate can prove their hard skills with a portfolio of work. To determine which skills to include in your resume, use the job description as a guide. It’s acceptable to apply for a position that matches your interests and expertise, even if you’re missing some of the required hard skills. Highlight related hard skills, your ability to learn quickly and your willingness to do any training necessary to learn the required hard skill(s).
Examples of hard skills:
- Foreign languages
- Certifications or licenses
- Website development
- Content development
- SEO marketing
- Statistical analysis
- User interface (UI) design
- Presentation skills
- Process automation
- Negotiation skills
- Research skills
- Management skills
- Project Management skills
- Graphic design
- Data analysis
- Customer service
- Administrative skills
- Enterprise resource planning
- Human resource skills
- Business development
- Digital marketing
- Sales management
- Financial analysis
- Social media marketing
- Typing skills
- Structured query language (SQL)
What are soft skills?
Soft skills, also called interpersonal or people skills, are traits and abilities that are developed throughout life. They reflect an individual’s personality and personal attributes and show how a candidate might fit into a company’s culture, handle stress, communicate and work with others. Soft skills are difficult to define and measure, yet crucial in the workplace. When determining which soft skills to include in a resume, consider the job description, looking for requirements that relate to what motivates you or how you work with other people. Your cover letter is an ideal place to highlight your soft skills.
Examples of soft skills:
- Critical thinking
- Emotional intelligence
- Attention to detail
- Ability to multitask
- Positive attitude
- Willingness to learn
- Work ethic
- Time management
- Stress management
- Conflict management
- Openness to criticism/correction
How to include hard and soft skills in your resume:
- Create a skills section in your resume and list all relevant hard skills.
- Create bullet points beneath each of your job experiences and include the soft skills used and learned.
- Sort skills by relevance: Emphasize experience(s) that are applicable to the role being applied for.
- Add a highlights section: Select the top four roles you have had and incorporate them and the relevant skills used/gained into a career highlights section.
- Categorize by skill: With task-based information and achievements, categorize the content into sections to illustrate the diversity of your responsibilities.
- Highlight skills in your work history, volunteer activities and professional certifications.
- Show rather than name skills, using concrete examples and results.
- Customize your resume and cover letter using keywords and phrases that match the job listing.
- Research potential employers to gain insight into the workplace culture and company values. Attempt to discover additional qualities that would be prized by the employer.
- Check websites such as Glassdoor for company reviews by employees and former employees, gaining insight into the values of the company.
What not to do with the skills section of your resume:
- Don’t exaggerate and/or lie: False claims (inflated job title, certifications you haven’t earned, skills you don’t have, etc.) are not worth the risk. Falsehoods are easily discovered through background checks and contact with your references.
- Don’t forget to include numbers: Be specific. Try to quantify your value. How much did you reduce expenses for your company? What percent did sales increase under your leadership?
- Don’t misuse words: Never use words you don’t understand. Never use two words when one will do. Avoid jargon and cliches.
- Don’t forget to proofread: Go over your resume thoroughly. Ask someone who understands your goals to look it over.
Include hard and soft skills in your resume. Make sure your resume and the hard and soft skills you include are accurate, well-written, to the point and backed by numbers. The time and attention you put into your resume will pay off.
Looking for a new position/job? Need some expert advice and assistance with your resume? Call the Calgary recruiting agency, Equation Staffing Solutions at 1-844-367-9618. We are a reliable, innovative, collaborative agency here to support you in your search for a position and/or personnel. Our experience will assist you! Contact us today.