How Many Skills Should You List On A Resume?

By Chris Kolmar - Feb. 4, 2021

Find a Job You Really Want In

Tackling the skills section of your resume can sometimes be the hardest part of writing it. Since you only have a limited amount of space to share all of the skills you have, you want to make sure you pick the right ones and don’t sell yourself short.

Your resume’s skills section is a key part of impressing a hiring manager and recruiter, so getting it right is crucial. It can be hard to narrow down your list or figure out what looks most impressive to a hiring manager.

Luckily, there are a few tricks to narrowing down your list of skills and picking the best ones to highlight your qualifications.

No matter how little space you have or how long your list of skills is, we can help you pick the right skills and make sure your resume gets noticed. In this article, we’ll cover resume best practices, which skills to include, and which to leave behind, and show you some examples of how to list skills on your resume.

How Many Skills to List on Your Resume?

For the most part, you’ll want to have anywhere between 5 and 10 skills in the skills section of your resume. Depending on what kind of job you’re applying to, you’ll want to pick the skills that are most relevant to the job description and add them. It’s also a good idea to include the skills you have mastered or have more experience with, rather than just using everything that applies to the job description.

It might seem like a small number, but you should be able to get the most important skills on your resume in most cases. While you might think that the more skills you list the better, it’s actually good to cut down on what you include. You don’t want to make your reader go through every skill you have, no matter how much experience you have, and potentially get lost. It also shows your reader what skills you think are most important or that you’re best at if you cut it down to 5-10 skills in the section.

Don’t forget that your skills can also speak for themselves in other sections of your resume. If you include that you have a certificate in a specific skill or area, then people reading your resume will be able to infer that you have certain skills. The same goes for the experience section of your resume. If you include in your job responsibilities that you managed a team of 15, then they’ll know that you have great leadership, managerial, and teamwork skills.

When you pick your skills, it’s a good idea to split your skills between soft skills and hard skills. More than ever, employers want to see that you have technical skills as well as personal skills. If possible, try to include an equal number of soft and hard skills in your skills section so you can show off all of your capabilities.

Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

You might be wondering what the difference between hard skills and soft skills is as you prepare your resume. Hard skills are typically the technical knowledge and abilities you need to do a specific job, like Microsoft Office skills, presentation skills, or analytical skills. On the other hand, soft skills are more widely applicable and include things like communication, time management, and problem-solving.

Employers look to hire well-rounded people that have a good balance of technical know-how and more generalized skills. It’s a good idea to include a mix of hard and soft skills on your resume. Both are just as equally important to being a good employee and bringing both of these types of skills can set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool.

Top 10 Skills for Resumes

No matter what position you’re applying for or what industry you’re trying to get into, there are certain skills that employers always look for. If you’re an expert in any of these skills, you should include them on your resume.

  1. Communication

  2. Leadership

  3. Advanced computer skills

  4. Time management

  5. Teamwork

  6. Adaptability

  7. Multitasking

  8. Work ethic

  9. Decision making

  10. Creativity

Skills to Keep Off Your Resume

While there are skills that you definitely want to include on your resume, there are others that you should leave out. While none of these skills are bad to have, they take up more space on your resume than they’re worth. For the most part, these skills are assumed or not relevant enough to be on your resume. Here’s a few skills to leave behind.

  • Basic computer skills. If you include general and basic skills like typing or online research, you’re taking up valuable resume real estate. At this point, most companies assume that you already know how to use a computer and can handle basic computer operation.

  • Basic language skills. If you’re not fluent in a language, or can use it to a conversational level, you should leave it off your resume. Unless the company has branches in a country that speaks that language, it’s probably not relevant and won’t add anything special to your resume.

  • Blanket skills. It’s good to include soft skills on your resume, but be careful to make sure they’re not just generalized. It can be easy to just say you’re good at multitasking because you can skim the news while you’re in a meeting, but multitasking looks different when you really put it to work. Make sure any soft skills you list are legitimate and you can back them up. Just saying you’re good at organization doesn’t mean much, but if you can talk about how you organized a large campaign or organized a database, that can be more valuable.

  • Analog skills. As technology becomes more ingrained in the workplace, you need to make sure you’re keeping with the times. Adding current skills (like Google Docs) or even better trendy skills (think of the latest relevant software releases in your industry) can show employers that you’re up-to-date with industry news and you’ll bring valuable know-how to their company. Be sure that you’re not adding obsolete skills, like old programming languages or fax machine know-how.

  • Exaggerated skills. You should never lie on your resume, and that’s especially true for the skills section. Don’t exaggerate your skills or fabricate new ones since you never know when an interviewer will ask you about a skill you listed on your resume but haven’t mastered.

  • Funny skills. It can be tempting to add some humor to your resume to show off your personality, but it takes valuable space away from your real skills. Don’t add things about how you’re the fastest beer drinker or the best mac and cheese chef and instead focus on your valuable and impressive skills.

How to List Skills on Your Resume

The best thing you can do when it comes to the skills section of your resume is to tailor it to each job you apply to. Job descriptions typically list specific skills that they’re looking for candidates to have, so if you can match those skills, the more likely you are to land an interview.

This is especially important as many first reviews of resumes are done by applicant tracking systems (ATS) instead of by hiring teams. While ATS are great for identifying resumes with key skills, they can leave lots of applicants out if the wording in a resume is not exact. Making sure that your resume matches the exact skills in a job application is one way to make sure your resume makes it past the automated software review of ATS.

When it comes time to actually put your skills on your resume, you should create a small section just for your skills. You can list out your most important skills by category and broader skill set, or just name each skill. For example, you can include Content Management as a broad skill, then list content management systems you’re familiar with (like WordPress or Shopify). If you choose to just list the skills, you can write down the skill and indicate your familiarity or comfort level.

If you have the space, it’s always a good idea to indicate what your skill level is. You can do that by explicitly stating your skill level, or you can list your skills in order of your mastery. A good place to start is by adding expert, proficient, or novice to your skills so employers know how experienced you are.

Examples of Putting Skills on Your Resume

The skills you use on your resume should vary depending on the job you’re applying for and what your industry is, but we have a few common examples that can work for most resumes. Here’s a few different ways you can add a skills section to your resume.

Example Answer 1: Skill List

SKILLS

  • Creativity- expert

  • Adobe Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Lightroom)- expert

  • Relationship management- expert

  • Communication- proficient

  • Teamwork- proficient

  • Branding- novice

  • Typography- novice

  • Management– novice

Example Answer 2:Skill Categories

SKILLS

  • Design- Creativity, Adobe Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Lightroom), Branding, Typography

  • Interpersonal- Relationship management, communication, teamwork, management

Example Answer 3: Skill Proficiencies

SKILLS

  • Expert- creativity, Adobe Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Lightroom), relationship management

  • Proficient- communication, teamwork

  • Novice- branding, typography, management

Example Answer 4:Soft and hard skills

SKILLS

Technical: Creativity, Adobe Suite (InDesign, Photoshop, Lightroom), Branding, Typography
Interpersonal: Relationship management, communication, teamwork, management

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

Find The Best Job That Fits Your Career

Major Survey Entry Point Icon

Where do you want to work?

Related posts