The job market is a tough place to be. For every job opening, there are likely many candidates applying, so standing out and making yourself an attractive option for hiring managers can be quite tough. Knowing what they’re looking for and what skills make you a valuable employee is crucial. Let’s look at these skills, how to list them, and what the most valuable skills are.
What Should a Resume Tell a Potential Employer?
This is quite an easy answer!
When you compile a resume, you’re essentially writing an advertisement about yourself. Your resume sells you and your skills to a potential employer and lists the benefits they would gain to their company by employing you. Hiring managers often read hundreds of resumes and applications, so ensuring yours is perfect is a good first step.
There are many resources online that will help you create a great resume, but we’ll focus on one part of the resume – your skills. You should always be honest on your resume and not list skills you aren’t genuinely good at, as your employer will notice this very quickly once you start working for them.
Hard Skills vs Soft Skills
Your hard skills knowledge are the technical skills that you’ve been trained to do. These are things like languages or skills specific to your industry. Artisans like welders would have welding as a hard skill, accounting and finance professionals have finance as a hard skill. These are learned and require specific knowledge on how to perform your core job role.
Soft skills speak more about your personality and how you perform as a person in the workplace. You might be great at listening to people and understanding them, and thus you’re a great listener and have a high level of empathy. You might have amazing patience and the ability to interact with customers and find solutions for them, making you very good at customer service. They’re adjunct skills that compliment your hard skills and make you a desirable employee.
Create a Section on Your Resume for Skills
It’s important to highlight both skills on your resume as they’re both very important. While a resume should be short and succinct, creating a section where you can list your skills is important. Candidates who do research and read job descriptions thoroughly to adapt their resume specifically for the position often do better than those with a generic resume. Your skills section should be a reflection on how your skills, both hard skills and soft skills, will be beneficial in the role. You might do this with a short cover letter or have a full section on your resume dedicated to it. It can take the form of a list, but should have strong examples for each while remaining succinct.
Desirable Hard Skills
Computer Literacy and Expertise
A level of computer literacy is expected for almost all job roles. A strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office and email and internet literacy is expected, but don’t let that stop you from listing more nuanced computer skills. If you’re fluent in computer coding or an Excel wizard, note it on your resume, even if you think it might not be absolutely needed for the role you’re applying for. Computer skills are often transferable, and a skill like computer coding might tell a savvy hiring manager that you’re a strong problem solver.
A career path that includes a management role is quite a common promotion, regardless of what level of job you might be applying for. The ability to manage a team’s productivity and be proficient in management theory shows a hiring manager you are promotable into a management role. It may also be a good place to highlight things like your project management experience and delegation and communication abilities.
You don’t need to be a data scientist to have a core understanding and knowledge on how to apply basic data analytics principles. In the modern workplace, data analytics is almost an essential skill and hiring managers will be pleased if you are able to demonstrate proficiency in management and analytics via a degree from Aston University, this is a very sought-after skill.
Desirable Soft Skills
Listing something like being good at listening might sound a bit unnecessary on a resume, but it’s quite an important skill. The ability to give your attention completely to a speaker and be able to show that you understand them and respond to them is a learned soft skill.
Customer service is perhaps one of the most transferable skills you can learn. It also shows a great combination of other soft skills like the active listening mentioned above. Being great at customer service requires empathy, organisational skills, the ability to solve problems, and strong interpersonal skills.
Strong interpersonal skills are another skillset that is somewhat expected to be on your resume, but that doesn’t make it less important. This is where you can demonstrate how well you can work with, interact with, and communicate with others. Jobs that require teamwork will also require great interpersonal skills.
When we talk about time management, some interpret this as the ability to be at work on time and not be late for meetings, which is only a small aspect of time management called punctuality. Time management is far broader and covers your ability to manage your working day and the time available to you effectively. Showing strong time management skills means showing potential employers that you are organised, can prioritize tasks and are able to set obtainable goals for yourself.
As you can see, there is an art to crafting and listing your skills on your resume. Because of how many different resumes a hiring manager might have to read, having your skills be quick and easy to read means writing them in a way that not only lists your skills but conveys an understanding of other sub-skills.