You have a distinctive and impressive skillset that sets you apart from other candidates, making you the best fit for a new role. But how can you effectively showcase your exceptional abilities and capture the attention of recruiters?
If you’re ready to make a career move, it’s time to dust off your resume. And when you’re adding your latest professional experience, you should also highlight your innate talents and special skills — these attributes make your application exciting and memorable.
Of course, crafting a compelling resume can be challenging. The stakes are high, and resumes follow a fairly strict format, meaning you don’t have much creative (or spatial) leeway.
Deciding on the right unique skills for your resume can make or break the success of an application. Sit down, open your laptop, and seize this opportunity to stand out in the job market.
13 skills examples for resumes that grab recruiters’ attention
The best skills to put on a resume are the ones that best describe you. Don’t stretch the truth — keep descriptions accurate. But don’t be shy to show off what makes you an unbeatable fit for the role.
If you’re struggling to brainstorm, we can help. Check out these 13 attention-grabbing hard and soft skills:
Hard skills are learned abilities, often technical or creative. These are key skills to put on a resume because they demonstrate how well you’ll be able to meet and exceed the granular, day-to-day expectations of a position.
If you’re applying for a UX position and have graphic design skills, adding this tidbit to your resume tips off a hiring manager and tells them you would bring a keen visual eye to the role. Similarly, highlighting strong editing skills for a marketing job could be a plus, as you’ll likely have to produce snappy copy.
Here are a few essential hard skills to consider adding to your resume:
Writing: Most roles, particularly ones that involve client interactions, demand excellent writing skills. Whether you expect to craft perfect emails to customers or generate blurbs for social media, having a solid understanding of style and grammar is worth highlighting on your resume.
If you’re applying for a writing-forward position, such as SEO content generation, advertising your skills in this area is a must. Include what type of content you’ve generated, the publications or companies you’ve worked with, and any relevant metrics that demonstrate the content’s success.
Project management: While it’s obvious that a project manager needs to highlight this skill, any person applying for a leadership or tech role should include this point on their resume.
Consider a software developer: they may spend most of their time coding but likely also participate in Agile sprints or similar project management structures. And working knowledge of project management methodologies is a resume booster across various industries and niches.
Data analysis: Aspiring data analysts should itemize technical skills. (You could even list them in a spreadsheet.) Be sure to use search-browser-friendly terms that align with those hiring managers seek for data analysis roles, such as SQL, data modeling, and business intelligence.
Graphic design: Anyone in a design-focused career — including marketers, content creators, and developers — should highlight graphic design skills. If you’re applying for a design-based role, you might get more specific and call out unique knowledge or qualifications, such as the specific applications you’re proficient in.
Language skills: In the age of remote work, language skills are a plus — and sometimes a must. Many tech companies, for example, have cross-cultural teams. Speaking a second language that promotes better understanding between you and your coworkers in another part of the world makes you a more versatile, empathetic candidate.
Soft skills define a person’s character. Some socially-oriented abilities are inherent, but you accumulate or perfect others in your professional and personal relationships. Everyone communicates, but it takes work to become an expert listener or great at public speaking.
Not everyone has the same soft abilities — that’s what makes them stand out as special skills for your resumes. Some people are natural-born leaders, while others prefer collaborative work in a team setting. There’s room for everyone’s soft skills at most companies, and many recruiters — 93% of them, to be exact — want to see them.
Here are a few in-demand soft skills worth listing on your resume:
Communication: Are you excellent at active listening? Do you have the patience to facilitate difficult conversations?Briefly describe what’s unique about your interpersonal skills instead of simply stating that communication is a strong suit.
Problem-solving: Conflict and obstacles are inevitable in any workplace. Being able to think critically about issues, draft potential solutions, and select the correct route forward is a valuable skill. Highlighting the skill implies you can face a roadblock with a clear head, which is what employers want to hear.
Leadership: Anyone in a workplace can be a leader, no matter their position or seniority. A team member who steps up because they have specific knowledge that can help a project is a leader. A relatively new employee who shows an even newer one the ropes is a leader, too. Listing this soft skill tells a recruiter you can motivate, guide, and support others.
Highlight this skill and let the work experience on your resume do the rest. Perhaps one of the bullet points under your last job is that you “Led a team of five developers to complete an app development project successfully” or “Took the initiative to introduce an innovative planning method.” These anecdotes demonstrate leadership and back up your skills section.
Time management: This top skill for resumes is important because virtually all employees must possess it. Whether you’re coordinating a project for a team or ensuring you finish your tasks on time, you must prioritize and schedule work and respect others’ expectations in order to mesh with a team.
Ability to work on a team (and independently): Hiring managers want to know how you’ll fit into the team. Highlight your ability to collaborate with others and take initiative on solo work by listing specific and relevant skills, such as conflict resolution and the ability to perform research.
Adaptability: In the workplace, you have to shift to meet changing project landscapes and circumvent roadblocks. Show — don’t tell — your ability to do so by listing various unique tasks and projects in which you’ve been involved. Tailor the list to the needs of the role: for example, if you’re applying to a development job, include some of the most out-of-the-box pieces of software you’ve worked on.
Self-motivation: Show hiring managers that you take the initiative to learn and grow by highlighting your ability to self-motivate. Cite a specific occasion when you taught yourself a new skill, vied for a promotion, or devised a new way of working.
Customer service skills: Relating to clients is a communication skill that not everyone has — if you’ve got it, flaunt it. Someone needs to handle client-facing work, so if you excel at explaining concepts to others, selling products or services, or representing a company well, let potential employers know.
What skills should you put on your resume?
Your resume is a powerful marketing tool — use it to showcase your unique abilities and align with the specific requirements of each job you apply for. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to selecting the perfect skills for your potential employer, here are some tips to help your application stand out:
- Customize for the role: Tailor your resume to each role by thoroughly analyzing the job description. Extract essential keywords and phrases like “takes initiative” or “knowledge of InDesign” and incorporate them into your resume using the same language. This approach allows recruiters to quickly identify key qualifications that align with their needs.
- Avoid excessive lists: Be selective and intentional with the skills you include. If you’re applying for an advanced developer role, there’s no need to state basic skills like using Microsoft Office (recruiters will assume you know this). Focus on relevant assets that add clear value to the specific role you’re applying for.
- Create a balanced resume: While customizing your resume to match the job description is important, don’t forget to make it stand out. Strike a balance between showcasing the skills recruiters are looking for and emphasizing what makes you special.
- Expand on your talents: Consider creating a dedicated skills section to list languages, software proficiency, and other abilities that don’t require elaboration. However, ensure your experience section also highlights your talents with specific examples of professional growth and successful initiatives.
Write a resume as unique as you
You’re the only person in the world with your blend of talents, experience, and skills. A resume is your opportunity to prove this to potential employers.
Editing your resume to fit every role you apply to can be tedious work, but it’s worthwhile. Your resume may be your first and only chance to present yourself to a recruiter. Put your best foot forward and include the most impactful and unique skills on your resume.