How To List Skills On Your Resume Skills Section (With Examples)

By Ryan Morris and Experts - Feb. 3, 2021

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The skills section of your resume is your chance to emphasize your qualifications for the job. It doesn’t matter what resume format you’re using or what your experience level is — hiring managers look at your skills section to determine whether you’d fit well in the position.

The skills you include in this section should be relevant to the job, suitably impressive, and look well organized on your resume. While it’s only a short section that takes up very little space compared to your work experience, it can have a big impact on recruiters’ decisions.

So if this section is so high stakes, how do you make sure that the skills you choose are absolutely perfect to make sure you’ve got the best chance of getting invited for an interview?

Fortunately, your friends here at Zippia have put together a guide to help you figure it out. We’ll cover the differences between hard and soft skills, show you how to list your skills, give tips on how many and which skills to put down, and give examples of in-demand skills for today’s job market.

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What’s the Difference Between Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills?

Hard skills are skills you learn through training and indicate expertise with a job-specifc responsibility, while soft skills are your personality traits, interpersonal abilities, and intangible qualities that make you more effective in the workplace.

The best job applicants will demonstrate a healhty mix of hard and soft skills on their resumes. For the best shot at being called in for an interview, your resume should include at least a few hard skills from the job description. After all, those are usually non-negotiable (or at least 1-2 key ones are).

Soft skills are just as important, and more employers are seeking applicants who possess strong interpersonal abilities. Since soft skills are more transferable between industries and positions, you shouldn’t need to customize these for each job application as much. Still, if you notice that a soft skill like communication comes up a lot in the job description, consider adding it.

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75 Hard Skills Examples for Your Resume

Hard skills are just what you need to get a competitive edge in the job market. It’s tough to say outright what hard skills are most in-demand, because it’s heavily industry-dependent. But to give you a better idea of hard skills you can list on your resume, we’ve broken them down into categories:

  1. Computer skills. Computer skills can range from pretty basic to super advanced, but they all count as hard skills.

    • Microsoft Office (Excel, Powerpoint, etc.)

    • Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, etc.)

    • QuickBooks

    • Scheduling software

    • Database management

    • Billing software

    • HTML/CSS

    • Javascript

    • Other coding languages (Python, SQL, PHP, etc.)

    • Cloud computing

    • CAD

    • CRM Platforms

  2. Management skills. If you’re applying for a supervisory position, soft skills are important. But it’s equally important to show you have the hard skills required of a manager.

    • Project management

    • Agile software

    • Business analytics

    • Project management software

    • Financial planning

    • Project lifestyle management

    • Scrum management

    • KPI tracking

  3. Marketing skills. Marketing may have always been around, but marketing in today’s world is filled with new techniques and technologies that qualify as hard skills.

    • SEO/SEM (search engine optimization/marketing)

    • AdWords, Facebook ads

    • Google analytics

    • A/B testing

    • CMS like WordPress

    • Social media marketing

    • Marketing campaign management

    • PPC (pay-per-click)

    • Graphic design skills

    • Data visualization

  4. Accounting skills. Hard accounting skills are pretty essential in the daily life of an accountant. But many of these hard skills are applicable for non-accountant jobs as well.

    • QuickBooks

    • Advanced Excel

    • Financial statement preparation

    • Data modeling

    • Microsoft Visual Basic

    • Hyperion

    • Auditing

    • Accounting software

  5. Analytical skills. Data has become one of the most important assets in our economy. But it’s not worth very much if you don’t have the right analytical skills to make sense of it.

    • Data mining

    • Data presentation

    • Research

    • Diagnostics

    • Data engineering

    • Web analytics

    • Analytical reasoning

  6. Design skills. Design skills are a must for those in visually creative fields. However, they can be equally imporant skills for those involved in marketing and web development.

    • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweave, Acrobat, etc.)

    • Illustrator

    • User interface design

    • Video production

    • UX design

    • Digital product design software

    • Print design

    • Typography

    • Sketching

    • Corel Draw

  7. Hard communication skills. Communication skills usually fall under the soft skill category, but some can be categorized as hard skills.

    • Language fluency (multilingual)

    • Press releases

    • Translation

    • Transcription

    • Proposal writing

    • Technical writing

    • Academic writing

    • Medical writing

    • Editing

    • Journalism

    • SEO copywriting

  8. Sales and retail skills. Those who work in sales need a bunch of soft skills to make the client feel comfortable and understood. But these jobs also require hard skills.

    • CRM software like Salesforce

    • Referral marketing

    • Contract negotiation

    • Customer lifetime value

    • POS (point of sale) systems

    • Lead generation and qualification

    • Product-specific knowledge

    • Customer acquisition cost

    • Window display design

25 Soft Skills Examples for Your Resume

You can and definitely should include some in-demand soft skills on your resume. Keep in mind that soft skills are more difficult to prove than hard skills.

With that in mind, make sure the rest of your work experience provides proof of your soft skills in action. After all, anyone can call themselves a “team player,” but having numbers to back up your successful collaborative efforts is much more impressive.

  1. Leadership

  2. Organizational skills

  3. Written and verbal communication

  4. Active listening

  5. Emotional intelligence

  6. Decision-making

  7. Time management

  8. Creativity

  9. Collaboration

  10. Goal-oriented

  11. Persuasion

  12. Detail-oriented

  13. Reliable

  14. Positivity

  15. Motivated

  16. Reliable

  17. Adaptable

  18. Conflict resolution

  19. Problem-solving

  20. Integrity

  21. Flexibility

  22. Work ethic

  23. Negotiation skills

  24. Innovative

  25. Patient

How to List Skills on Your Resume

Depending on your resume format, you can put your skills section in a few different places. Regardless of the fomrat you choose, a stand-alone skills section should be on your resume, so a hiring manager can find it at a glance.

  • The chronological resume format is the most popular, and we recommed putting your skills section near the bottom of the page for this format. Your work history is the star of the show, but a recruiter can also easily find your skills and check that they’re relevant.

    For a chronological resume, you can separate skills your into hard and soft skills or list them all together. Use a bullet point for each skill. You can also put them side by side to save space, separating each skill with a comma or line.

    Additional Skills

    Hard Skills:

    • Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweave, Acrobat, etc.)

    • Illustrator

    • UX design

    • Print design

    Soft Skills:

    • Creativity

    • Adaptability

    • Time management

    • Problem-solving

  • Here’s an example of a chronological resume with the skills section at the bottom:

    Accountant Resume

  • For the functional resume format, your skills and qualifications are front and center, while your work history takes a back seat. It’s good for people with gaps in their employment or without formal experience in the field of their target-job.

    You should still open with your contact info and a resume summary statement, but follow that with your skills section. Make a subheading for each skill, and then explain it further with bullet points or a short few sentences.

    Technical Skills

    Programming Languages

    • Expert with HTML/CSS and Javacript

    • Proficient with Python and SQL

    • Some experience with PHP

    Security

    • SSL certificate configuratoin and management

    • FireEye CMS/ETP

    • Juniper Netscreen

    Operating Systems

    • Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10

    • Linux + CentOS

    • Ubuntu

    • Kali

  • A combination resume format (you guessed it) combines the above two formats. It’s usually used for senior-level positions and career changes, so we still recommend putting your skills section before your work history.

    You should also spend time explaining each skill more fully, as you would with a functional resume format.

    Relevant Skills

    Audit Engagments
    Audited financial statements for compliance with GAAP under US Audit Standards. Maintained clear lines of communcation between management and associates throughout. Worked with CPA’s and other staff accountants on the audit team for governmental and nonprofit audits.

    Financial Statements
    Prepared and analyzed financial statements along with a monthly, semi-annual, and annual reports in accordance wiht SEC (GAAP) requirements. Researched corporate actions, past due incomes, and income entitlements. Posted income adjustments according to fund policies.

    Payroll
    Administered payroll using ADP into QuickBooks with full accountability for hiring, trianing, and performance assessment. Assisted in the investigation of various outstanding payroll tax liabilities with a team of other contractors. Managed and processed daily payroll and reconciled credit card activity with bank statements.

Regardless of which format you choose or where you put your skills section, make sure that it’s clearly labeled. You can call it “Skills,” “Additional Skills,” “Relevant Skills,” or “Technical Skills” — whatever you think works best with the rest of your resume.

For example, someone in sales might call their section “Additional Skills,” someone in IT might label it “Technical Skills,” and someone making a career change might use “Relevant Skills.”

Just make sure the word skills is in there, because that’s probably what the applicant tracking system (ATS) is looking for to assess your skill set.

One caveat: don’t use the term “Additional Skills” as your section header unless it’s at or near the bottom of your resume, or it will look strange.

Our resume builder tool will walk you through the process of creating a stand-out Architect resume.

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What Skills Should I Put on My Resume?

Deciding what skills to list on your resume is all about reading the job description closely. The ultimate goal is that your skills align so perfectly with what the recruiter is looking for that they have no choice but to call you in for an interview.

Here’s a five-step process for choosing the skills you list on your resume:

  1. Create a master list of all the skills you possess. Not only is it a truly self-affirming experience, but you’ll have a much easier time picking and choosing relevant skills for your customized resume if you have a big list to begin with.

    Brainstorm without judgment and challenge yourself to come up with 50 skills — the last few might be huge stretches, but it’s still a good exercise.

  2. Separate your list into hard and soft skills. As you sort and rearrange your list, also try to loosely organize them based on marketability. You should end up with one list that has your most impressive hard skills at the top, and another your most impressive soft skills.

  3. Edit your list for a specific job title. Remove all the obviously irrelevant skills for the type of job you’re looking for. For example, your customer service skills won’t help you land an accounting job that has no customer interaction. If you’re on the fence about whether a skill is relevant, leave it in for now.

  4. Review the job description. Highlight any skills or action verbs closely related to skills. Use a different color for hard and soft skills.

    You may need to read between the lines for some hints, but you can find out what skills hiring mangers are looking for in job seekers if you pay attention. Feel free to add new skills to your master list if you pick up on any extras in your research.

  5. Tailor your skills to the job description. Some of your skills might not be an exact match, but it’s okay to bend the truth a bit. In general, try to keep a similar number of hard and soft skills. But the role has a lot to do with your decision. For example, a programmer might list more hard skills, while a waitress might list more soft skills.

If the job description you’re working with doesn’t provide a whole lot of skills to work with, try reading similar job descriptions in the same industry. Similar roles in similar industries usually require the same skills, so it’s a safe bet to use this as a guide.

You can also check company website for a mission statement that might clue you in to what they value.

If all else fails, check out LinkedIn profiles of people who have the job you want. Read their resumes and summaries to find out what sorts of keywords they use to talk about themselves.

What tips would you give to optimize a resume?

Amanda Traugutt
Content Director | Career Coach
Elevated Resumes

The best way to optimize your resume is to identify your core values and skills that align with the type of position and industry you are looking to enter.

To do so, start by doing some research on other people who have been successful in that type of role. Identify trends and skills that you often find yourself using in your current or past positions. Then, position your resume around those skill sets and expand on the experience that will help you be successful in your new role.

Keep these core themes consistent throughout your resume by highlighting how you have used these relevant skills throughout your career.

resume document image

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How Many Skills Should I Put on My Resume?

You should include anywhere between 3-10 skills, with a healthy mix of hard and soft skills, in the skills section of your resume. For a chronological resume, aim for the higher end of that range and for a functional resume aim for the lower end.

A functional resume is skills-focused, so you should go more in-depth for each skill and write about how you’ve leveraged that skill for professional success.

If you feel that you have more than 10 skills that align with the job description, use your strongest skills or the skills you feel are most relevant for the job. It’s up to you whether you separate your hard and soft skills.

Additionally, consider putting a proficiency level beside each skill you list. You don’t have to do this, but it can be helpful if you want to emphasize your strongest skills and not mislead a recruiter about skills you only have a basic grasp of.

class="fancy">Where to Put Skills on Your Resume

We’ve covered the standalone skills section your resume should have, but that’s not the only place your skills should appear. That’s just where you summarize your skills and quickly tell the recruiter what qualifies you for job. Alone, though, they don’t count for much.

You should try to include 2-3 key skills in your resume summary, profile, or objective. This is your quick pitch, and likely one of the only things the hiring manager will read. Use those keywords that came up multiple times in the job description if you can.

Additionally, try to incorporate the same sorts of action verbs used in the job posting to give your skills greater relevant context.

Your work history section is another place to emphasize your skills. A recruiter who’s impressed with your skills section will turn to your professional history next to see when you actually leveraged these skills.

That’s why you need to make sure that every skill listed in your skills section comes up somewhere in your work history, even if you don’t use the exact wording. Whenever possible, quantify your accomplishments.

Depending on the role you’re applying for and your relevant experience, you may also include some skills in the volunteering or education sections of your resume. This is especially helpful for recent graduates wtihout much more experience who still want to demonstrate their skills in action.

Finally, certain positions might have specific certification requirements. In these cases, it’s usually best to have a separate certification section in addition to your skills section.

class="fancy">Final Thoughts

The skills section of your resume may be small, but it should pack a punch if you want to hear back from hiring managers. Remember to customize your skills section for the position, provide a healthy mix of hard and soft skills, and ensure that the rest of your resume shows your skills in action.

Don’t forget about the power your cover letter has to further emphasize your skill set. It can be tough accurately describe your relevant skills on a one-page resume, but a cover letter gives you a chance to tell a richer story of how you’ve excelled with certain skills in the past.

That’s your skills section done — now it’s time for the other resume sections.

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Author

Ryan Morris

Ryan Morris was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog who tried to make the job process a little more entertaining for all those involved. He obtained his BA and Masters from Appalachian State University.

Expert

Don Pippin, MHRM, CPRW, CDCS

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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