What are the skills to put on a resume that make you different from other candidates and make your resume worth reading?
We are going to discuss that in the following article.
Writing a resume is not as simple as it sounds to be. You need a lot of things to consider, including the format, branding statement, how to list your work experience, and how to highlight your skills etc.
You win the game when you highlight your skills the right way and make them worth-reading. This is a fact that there are many job seekers who spend too much time making a list of their skills like “detail-oriented” and “hard worker.” This is totally a wastage of time as these are meaningless. Thus they forget to mention those skills that greatly enhance the chances of landing them to an interview.
Listing the right skills on your resume, the right way, means the difference between getting an interview, and not. Take your time. Absorb the pain of writing yet another version of your resume. And get ahead of every other applicant!
Knowing how to make your resume worth-reading and the one that shows your expertise is only one element in the job hunting game. Even if your resume fails to capture the attention of the recruiter during this short interval, it will land in the trash and will be of no use for you.
What to do to grab the attention of the recruiters and get invited to more job interviews? The secret lies in skills that are mentioned on the resume. You should know the art of putting skills on a resume and where to place these skills in the resume to cast maximum impact on the recruiter. These things are just the foundation of grabbing the recruiter’s attention.
List of a Few Skills that Should be Written on Your Resume
Instead of writing too many irrelevant skills or appreciating your own self in kind words, you can use exact skills that prove how much eligible you are. These skills will make you stand out from all those still using those irrelevant ones. The exact skills you want to list on your resume vary depending on the brand and job title you are trying to create and your research. Below is mentioned a list of some general keywords that easily can help you out and match any job position. The list of those skills includes:
- Accelerated career track
- Best in class
- Business process redesign
- Capturing cost reductions
- Catalyst for change
- Change agent
- Competitive market positioning
- Core competencies
- Cross-functional team leadership
- Deliver strong and sustainable gains
- Distinguished performance
- Driving customer loyalty initiatives
- Driving performance improvement
- Emerging business ventures
- Entrepreneurial drive / vision
- Market dominance
- High impact / performance / quality
- Organizational driver
- Outperforming market competition
- Peak performer
- Top flight leadership competencies
- Visionary leadership
Which Skills Do You Need?
First you need to clearly understand and have a look at the job description of the position you’re targeting carefully. Read every single detail related to it present-mindedly. You’ll see a variety of skills the employer wants candidates to have. These skills are divided into three types:
1. Job Related Skills
Job related skills and qualifications are always necessary for a particular job. Without having these skills, you can’t perform the job. That’s why you should make sure that recruiters instantly spot them on your resume. You should write them accurately and concisely, listing all of them. Place them in your resume skills section and consider adding them to your resume objective or summary as well. For catching extra attention of the recruiter, put these skills in bold. Your resume needs to prove your abilities as well. Use education, training, or professional experience in your job skills as a part of your evidence.
2. Transferable Skills
Transferable sills are the skills that you’ve acquired at a job, or in some other life experience. You can adapt them to the job you’re seeking. Examples of these include time management, organizational skills, and written and verbal communication. Even though they are commonplace, employers look for transferable skills. Don’t forget to make sure you add transferable skills that will help you stand out from other candidates and get noticed by recruiters.
3. Adaptive Skills
These are the skills that rely more on your individual personality traits than experience. Examples include attention to detail, honesty, integrity, and responsibility. Sprinkle these skills all over your resume to prove that you match the professional profile recruiters are seeking for the position.
Types of Skill Set
There are two types of skill sets
1. Hard Skills
Hard skills are those type of technical skills and qualifications you need to perform a particular job. For example, if you’re applying for the position of Java Developer, a necessary hard skill is coding in Java. These hard skill sets are crucial in sectors such as engineering, IT, or medicine because they act as proof of specific abilities.
2. Soft Skills
Soft skills are also referred to as people skills or social skills, as they reflect an individual’s personality and emotional intelligence. Examples include creativity, communication, and relationship building. Also, they’re harder to demonstrate and define than technical skills. And that’s why recruiters value them. So, if you include excellent soft skills on your resume, you’ll be more attractive than a candidate who demonstrates nothing more than the required technical skill set. According to a survey, among all the employers, only 67.5% of employers look for technical expertise in fresh graduates. In contrast, 77.8% seek skills like leadership and ability to work in a team.
How To Choose The Right Skills And Where To Put Them On Your Resume
The first point of reference for you is the job description. It is based on the kind of qualifications and competencies that are most desired by the employer. But even you can step up your game with some research. Moreover, you can have a look at LinkedIn and check profiles of professionals who already have the job you want. Researching matters a lot and helps you to see their skill sets and understand which skills and abilities are valued in the sector.
Putting your competencies in a side column is a smart idea. Employers look for specific skills and qualifications, so these two sections are critical for grabbing the attention of recruiters. A professional skills section and resume summary deserve a prominent place on your resume.
Placing skills on your resume depends on the kind of job for which you’re applying. You have to mention your skills in accordance to the job position mentioned. If technical expertise is essential for the position, you should locate hard skills in the top third of your resume. Recruiters know how to find skills on a resume, so focus on selecting the right skills that will make an impression.
Sayings OF SOME RECRUITERS ABOUT PUTTING SKILLS
Let’s have a look at sayings of a few recruiters. What they have got to say about putting skills on resume and making them effective enough.
- Bob Myhal, CEO of NextHire.biz says, “The most important thing to remember about recruiters is that they review hundreds if not thousands of job candidates per month. Standing out in this sea of candidates is not about gimmicks. Unless you’re applying for a creative, design type job, forget about the colorful resume or unique font. Focus on appealing to the professional eye of the recruiter with sharp and professional credentials. Here are three specific ways you can manage your career to help you get noticed by recruiters:
- Embrace added responsibility. Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for more responsibility. If the added responsibility comes with a new job title, then great. If it doesn’t, just make sure that your LinkedIn profile and resume clearly document your growth.
- be consistent. There’s nothing more troubling to a recruiter than inconsistency. I’m not referring to the ups and downs that we all experience in our careers. I’m talking about large swings in performance or commitment that indicate a lack of focus. And by all means, make sure your resume and Linkedin profile match up.
- Build your professional network and don’t be afraid to showcase it. Recruiters love it when they see a cover letter, resume or profile that indicates a robust network. Add some well-placed testimonials to your credentials to really shine.”
- Tracey Russell, an experienced recruiter, in this regard, says, “When I tell people I’m a recruiter, most of the time they have no idea what my positions entails. I think the biggest misconception people have about my job and my employer is that we get paid to help individuals find jobs. In reality, we work for businesses and get paid to find the companies qualified, potential hires.
Part of my job is to search for these quality candidates. I have the most success finding candidates through job boards or referrals. Since I am searching through hundreds of resumes a day, I have to quickly discern top talent. Resumes that are specific and well-formatted often catch my attention. For example, don’t just say you helped your company grow. Instead, say you helped grow business by 20 percent. The more specific the better and always use hard numbers to reinforce your expertise or skills.
If someone is looking to attract the attention of a recruiter, my advice would be as transparent as possible. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and post a current resume on various job boards. Choose major job boards like Monster or indeed, but also try to find niche job boards in your industry. If a hiring manager wants to connect on LinkedIn, don’t be afraid to accept. Recruiters and hiring managers want to see if you’re a good fit for a position, and may keep you in mind for future positions, but won’t be able to do this if you don’t connect with them.”
- Similarly, another recruiter Bethany Perkins, Manager of Recruiting and Human Resources, says, “The number one strategy I recommend is to manage your social presence. Sure, it’s important to make sure there aren’t any compromising pictures proudly displayed on your public Facebook page, but that’s kids’ stuff. The biggest issue I have with candidates’ social profiles is a lack thereof. Not having a LinkedIn profile during a job search is like going fishing without any bait.It’s possible to catch a fish on a bare hook, but it’s going to take a whole lot longer. Having a detailed and descriptive LinkedIn profile is crucial if you want to get noticed by recruiters. LinkedIn is one of our top resources for scouting passive talent.
Put effort into your profile. The second biggest mistake I see is candidates who have a LinkedIn profile but put zero effort into it. Recruiters use Boolean searches to peruse LinkedIn profiles, so if you only list companies you worked for, you likely won’t be found.
Tell your story. Use the words that you see in the descriptions of the jobs you want. Even if you’re happy where you are, you most likely want to progress your career in the future and might even have the chance at your dream job. If you want to get noticed by the people recruiting for that dream job, make sure it’s easy for them to find you.
Another good way to ‘get found’ is to join and participate in relevant LinkedIn groups. Groups are an easy way to expand your network very quickly, meet other professionals in your field, and show recruiters you’re serious about your line of work.”
- Joe Kosakowski, CEO of Quest Groups says, “I lead a company, Quest Groups that recruits tech candidates in Silicon Valley, Austin, and New York. We don’t just scour job boards and send 100 candidate lists to the client company. We use personal relationships and connections to place the best candidate with the best job. It takes me about 45-50 seconds to read a resume.
When I look at a resume, I look for:
- A short and precise objective;
2. How long you have been at your current company;
3. What you’ve been working on recently and how relevant it is (my firm only works in the high growth tech market, so it is important that you have helped to build cutting-edge technology);
4. Previous job and how long and how relevant the company was at the time;
The bottom line is that I only look to see how the candidate can add value to an emerging market, so always build upon your career.”
- Bill Peppler, Managing Partner at Kavaliro Staffing Services says “Become as active as possible in your industry. Be involved with technology user groups in the local community; use Google+ hangouts, software community meet ups, Java user groups etc. Recruiters attend these types of meetings all the time and it’s a great way to get recognized and network.
Of course there are job search platforms like the Kavaliro Job Database, Monster, and CareerBuilder that will aid and facilitate your job hunt, but nothing will ever replace word of mouth to land of a job. The best piece of advice I can give to get recognized is to not be bashful about your job search. Let people know you are looking for a job and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Telling your family members, neighbors, or friends will always be a great way to put yourself on the market and make people aware you’re in search of a new job.”
- Jackie Ducci, President of Ducci & Associates says, “The best way to attract the respect and interest of a recruiter is to actually be a fit for a position they currently have available.Don’t just blast resumes around aimlessly. Nothing is more annoying to a recruiter than when an unqualified candidate reaches out to them (sometimes multiple times!) For example, if a job posting clearly states that a college degree is required but you don’t have one, DO NOT apply for that specific position. It is a waste of the recruiter’s time, and it makes the candidate look like they either can’t follow directions, didn’t read the posting, or just don’t care. This does not make a good first impression!
Although I know it can be difficult, candidates should also refrain from following up with recruiters. A VERY occasional check-in can be ok, but believe me, if you are a good fit for any position that a recruiter has available, they WILL call you! Recruiters deal with so many people on a daily basis, they need to focus their time on those candidates who are the best fit for their current openings. If a recruiter is not calling you, it’s because they do not have anything currently that would be suitable. But if you are a match, you will get a call from them without having to reach out – I promise.
This point is crucial: A common misunderstanding is that recruiters are ‘job finders’ for job seekers – the truth is that we are not! In reality, we are paid by companies to go out and headhunt the specific type of candidate they are looking for. We sift through hundreds of people to find one needle in a haystack every time a client reaches out to us to fill one of their open positions. Job seekers tend not to understand this, and instead expect us to find jobs that we can market them for. Even if we genuinely like someone and would love to help, doing so is just an impossibility, especially in an economy where there are way more applicants than actual job opportunities. Candidates should be respectful of this point, and not have any false expectations when entering into a relationship with any recruiter. Please don’t think we are being cold or that we don’t want to help you; it’s just impossible for us to help the vast majority of people who contact us.”
- Sharon Hulce, President/CEO of Employment Resource Group says, “Things that make working with a recruiter successful:
- Come to the table prepared. Recruiters use their interview with you as their assessment as to how you will fare with their clients. Be prepared to explain and answer the following:
– What is the next ideal position for you? What skills and behaviors have you demonstrated that would prove you would be a good hire in this role?
– People can train and educate themselves to be good at a lot of things, but you also have ‘natural gifts,’ things that you do well that seem to be part of your DNA. What are your natural gifts?
– Be prepared to explain work history, short-term stints and what your greatest accomplishment within each role has been. Understand frequent job movement can eliminate a recruiter’s ability to place you in one of their clients companies. Our ‘knockout’ is three or more jobs in a ten-year timespan.
– If my client should hire you, what is the ROI (return on their investment)?
Before you meet or talk to the recruiter, do your homework. What firms are of interest to you? If you have found positions that are of interest, talk to the recruiter about their network within these firms. They should also have suggestions of potential firms of interest.
- More is not better, it’s just more. A frequent mistake made by candidates is they market their resume to every recruiter they can find. Here are a few facts on this:
– A top notch recruiter will insist you work exclusively with them if they are taking you to market. Reality is, we get paid by companies, so if we deem you worthy of marketing, being loyal is key.
– Being ‘mass-marketed’ by many recruiters only dilutes your worth. If everyone is calling on your behalf, most clients will think you’re desperate, therefore no longer that special talent they can only get from one source.
– Understand that sometimes a recruiter can hinder your search more than help. It cost money to pay a recruiter, so clients only want to pay for the best of the best. If you’re unemployed, had too many jobs or been fired by a high profile company in your industry, you may be better off to go it alone. Then there won’t be a fee to hire you!
- The biggest advantage a recruiter offers is the opportunity to get an audience with their client without your resume sitting on the stack of resumes on the HR person’s desk. You are still responsible for the interview so make us proud!
– Dress appropriately and put your best foot forward. Communication skills are critical. Maintain eye contact. Smile.
– Ask if you have answered all their questions to their satisfaction or if you can clarify anything further.
– My favorite question for you, the candidate, to ask: If a year from now you have hired me and you feel I have done a great job, what would I have accomplished?
Good luck. We love supporting great folks who are passionate and respectful. We will give you our respect and attention in return.”
- Kevin Maas, Division Manager for the Philadelphia branch of Jobspring Partners says, “Resume key words are just that: key. When we find those key words – in our case the technology and software lingo – we call everyone. We give the benefit of the doubt, because even if it’s a horrible resume it could just be their ignorance in writing. However, it’s the conversation that follows which convinces us as recruiters to move forward with finding a candidate a job. If we are going to be their representatives, it’s because they are who and what they say that they are.
As a recruiter, a badly written resume isn’t going to keep us from calling. If you have the keywords on your resume and the skills to back them up, we can rewrite it and line you up for the best opportunities.
Don’t have long stints of unemployment that are recent if you’re in the tech world. There are too many jobs out there and too little talent. If you’re unemployed for a year right now, there’s something wrong.”
- Adam Kirsch, COO and hiring manager of Ithaca-based software firm “Yorango” says, “Typically, we find the best candidates through referrals and professional development programs, and we look for individuals with T-shaped skills. This means your resume and interview should convey the depth of your skill set as well as your ability to effectively work with other parts of the company. In today’s competitive environment, interdisciplinary skill sets are more important than ever, so refining T-shaped skills is a great way to manage your career and set yourself apart.
Professional development programs show us that people are serious about learning their craft and taking the next step in their career. If you are at networking events, career events, or training sessions, we know that you are motivated and willing to expand your knowledge of a subject.
Referrals from our team members show us that candidates may already be a good skill and culture fit, so it removes a bit of guesswork from the recruiting process. It’s also a very low-cost method of conducting an initial screen. Our team members find referrals through alumni networks and traditional networking events. We also work with other companies to host professional development events where we meet potential hires. Our last hires were recruited through employee referrals and a university career fair.”
- Aaron Wandtke, Senior Partner, Executive Staffing Solutions, a national search firm that specializes in recruiting for healthcare and managed care organizations says, “When I look on a profile on LinkedIn or any other tool, I look for tenure and a track record of making money or saving money. If I look at accomplishments for each position (NOT just a vague career summary), I can tell if the person makes a difference for the people they work for. I also look for career progression within 3-5 year periods at the same company. Someone who is promoted internally rather than having to change jobs to get promoted is more desirable. If someone has been in the same position for 10 years, they either are not strong enough to be promoted or do not have the drive to move to the next level. There are plenty of jobs for these individuals, they are just not the type of people a recruiter will notice quickly.”
- John Francis, Owner of HR consulting company, Theonera Inc. says, “It is my experience that as times have changed and we have more ways of communicating we do a poorer job of it today then back in early 1990s when I started in the business. My number one piece of advice to anyone looking for work and wanting to attract a company’s attention is to treat the relationship as a personal relationship. If a candidate wants to attract my attention, I need open and honest and straightforward communication. When I receive emails with a name and an unsolicited resume attached, this does nothing to entice me to contact the person, let alone open the file. Provide me with some detail about who you are in the email, call me and leave a detailed phone message, tell me who you are and what you are looking for. This is the first positive step to attracting my attention. It may sound very simple but it amazes me how many times I receive resumes without any explanation to them.”
- Amin Ariana, founder of AminAriana.com says, “I’m a Founding CTO and advisor to several growing Silicon Valley startups, and a technology consultant to innovative Fortune 500 companies. I get pitched Senior Engineering, Director, VP, and CTO opportunities several times a week without actively looking. The following is my formula for turning the marketing of my engineering skills and services inbound:
- Write (but don’t print) a fantastic resume. Just write it. Don’t make excuses about whatever you think you don’t have in terms of experience. If you don’t write it down, you will not find out where the gaps are and you won’t focus your efforts. Revise it a few times to highlight the impacts you’ve made and the value you’ve create from the employer’s perspective. Don’t just list your abilities.
- Register a domain for your full name, and publish your resume online. The age of paper resumes is almost over. What you need is a searchable web site that shows up when recruiters are looking for your skills. This is why you need to write a resume from their perspective, not your own. Inevitably they’ll be looking for a problem they’re trying to solve. You want your website resume to show up in their results.
- Take LinkedIn seriously. Use its ‘my homepage’ linking feature to point to your resume web site. This boosts your web site’s rankings on Google and makes it come up higher in Google results. Connect to as many people in your industry as possible. Be indiscriminate; others are! Connect to friends, because they know recruiters. Connect to recruiters, because you’re helping them find candidates when they need candidates (i.e. you and your friends). Connect to respected people whom you can help: being connected with them increases the odds that people will want to connect with you.
Why connect at all? Because first, you want to inverse your relationship with the job. You want the job to find you, not spend all of your time finding the job. That’s why you build a network. And second, the Law of Network Effect says that the power (or value) of your network is the square of the number of connections you have. Compare someone who has 100 connections with someone who has 1000 connections: the former can reach about 10,000 second-degree contacts (smaller than one large corporation). The latter can reach about 1,000,000 (almost all movers and shakers in an entire industry)
- Pay acute attention to what your network wants. Once you’ve reversed the relationship to an inbound one, you need to focus on actually providing the value that the recruiters are looking for. Most folks such as engineers make the mistake of burning themselves out on trying to sell a skill that doesn’t resonate. It’s not that your skill is outdated. It’s that recruiters and hiring managers have their own language for things that they’re attracted to. Learn how to rephrase your values in their terms. If there’s a technical gap, often reading a 50 page technical book related to your skills over a week of nightly reading can put you years ahead of others competing for jobs under the same skillset.
- Speak with authority. If you’ve been working with a certain toolset or skills, you’re already more of an expert than people who have had that same skill on their resume for years, because your knowledge is more recent. The rest of the journey depends on attitude and some imagination. The insecurity during screening and interviews usually stems from the impostor syndrome, observed in high achievers.
- Never answer questions about your salary. The fastest way to kill your chances with a recruiter is to tell them how much you’re making. There is no correct answer. As soon as you answer the question, you’ve turned yourself from a potential valuable candidate to a data point for negotiating with other candidates. Practice ways of not answering this question, such as ‘Sorry, but I’m not comfortable sharing that information at this stage of the process. I’m looking for a fair market salary for the value that I bring to the table.’ Many recruiters are pushy negotiators and are fishing for early data points. If their repeat their question, simply repeat the above answer, until they’re embarrassed and stop asking. If they repeat the pattern over three times, simply give them a five second silent treatment, then repeat the above answer. Never answer a salary question until you have a written offer — this is your right.
- Embrace failure. Too many people confuse being rejected with being found out. Even a child knows that she’s more likely to hit the bullseye by throwing multiple times in a row or at the same time. It’s simple statistics. But with job interviews, most people put all their eggs in one basket. Instead, you should learn to think in the following manner: if the odds of failing with one recruiter is 90% (or pick your own number), the odds of failing with 10 of them in a row is (90% ^ 10 = 35%. In other words, if you tried 10 times in a row or at the same time, you’d have 65% of failing at failing (succeeding). This should be great news, even to those of us with the terrible record of 90% failure.
It may sound too simple. It is! I’m closely connected with multiple engineering networks (University of Waterloo, Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft, Google, Silicon Valley startups, etc.) and yet, of the many people who come to me for advice, almost all of them have skipped some or all of these steps. When I tell them about these steps, most acknowledge them but few, almost none, implement them.
That’s probably why we have the saying: There is no secret to success.”
Some Useful Tips about Skills To Put On Your Resume
1. Do Research Always
Research should be your priority. There are many big companies that are now using the applicant tracking systems to track and scan for the right keywords, and if your resume fail in having the right keywords, then it will most likely never be seen by human eyes. In this regard, researching matters a lot and including the right skills on your resume remedies this situation.
There are a lot of professions in the world to adopt, and each profession has its own key skills. For instance, if you’re in banking, skills like asset based lending, asset management, and branch operations should probably find their way onto your resume. If you are in hospitality the terms amenities, back-of-the-house operations, and catering operations are common. How about IT? Then you should use application development, benchmarking, and capacity planning. Matching your skills to the position is not just a good way to land an interview, it is also a way to increase your chances of job satisfaction.
Your fulfillment in the job will rely on upon how well your aptitudes coordinate the job. How cheerful would you be able to be at work on the off chance that you are continually overpowered by your obligations? How happy would you be able to be in the employment is so ailing in test that you are tired more often than not?
However, industry specific skills are not the only type you should include. There are many chances that your next job will not be accurately like your last, so you need skills that will move from job to job with you. Your main focus should be on those skills that are transferable to multiple jobs making you viable to a variety of employers.
Work-based skills and qualification add to your good reputation and describe job-specific characteristics, skills, and abilities, such as fluency in the English language, or the ability to read topographical maps. These can vary from person to person. Also, the behavior-based competencies describe all the other personal stuff you need, in addition to technical skills to do the job well. These are more focused towards your behavior and side stuff that can be personal too.
2. No More “Detail Oriented”
How many irrelevant skills are on your resume now? Remove them! They aren’t helping you – because everyone uses them. “Hard worker”, “team player” and “effective leader” are not helping you win interviews.
Avoid going in too much depth or detail related to some particular skill. Instead be precise and accurate enough. Remember your mentioned skill should be extremely professional and meaningful to save the time of the recruiter.
3. List Your Skills the Right Way by Reinforcing Them
You should list you skills the right way by reinforcing them. Including transferable skills, or competencies, on your resume allows you to highlight those abilities that have worked for you in the past and contribute to a company or firm’s success in the future. However, you can’t just list these skills verbatim in a summary section and hope hiring managers believe you. Once you claim a skill you need your resume to reinforce it.
Let’s say you list excellent communication skills in your resume summary. Then, in your work history you mention how you helped draft the company training manual for new employees. This pairing creates a powerful image to a potential employer. For each skill you list, do your best to provide evidence later on in your resume to reinforce the claim. This is part of the overall branding process that is vitally important in a tight job market.
4. Boost Your Skill Set With Numbers and Facts
One important thing to keep in mind is that empty adjectives won’t give you a serious competitive advantage. Try using the facts and figures that convince the recruiters that you’re the perfect match for the job and an ideal candidate to be selected for the particular job position. For instance, consider these two descriptions of the same skill
1.Good at sales conversions
2.Able to raise sales conversions by 35%.
Which one looks better to your eyes?
This shows that adding details to your skill set helps to attract and gain the attention of recruiters towards your skills.