Your resume is a potential employers window into you and your professional background and aspirations. When paired with a cover letter, it becomes a particularly powerful tool in your job search toolbox. However, even without a cover letter, you can build up your resume in such a way to provide insights into not only your job history, but also the sets of skills you possess and can bring to your next job.
Types of resumes
The three most popular types of resumes are
- Chronological resume
Probably the type you’re used to seeing, the chronological resume lists out your jobs from most recent to oldest, along with titles, companies, dates, and details of your accomplishments and responsibilities. It’s an easy style to follow, but it may have drawbacks, particularly if you had long periods of unemployment, which will be readily visible on this type.
- Functional resume
A functional resume is much more fluid, and focuses more on showcasing your strengths and abilities, rather than your detailed work history. While this can be a great way to draw attention to unique skills and attributes you think an employer would appreciate, it may also make it look like you’re trying to hide facts about your employment history.
- Combination resume
A combination resume incorporates the best of both types of resumes--chronological and functional. If you want to show off how your skills have directly impacted a company or job, this is a good resume format to follow. However, be advised that large unemployment gaps may raise additional questions.
What skills do employers want to see on a resume
In many cases, the skills you should be listing will go hand-in-hand with the role or industry you’re applying for. A doctor should certainly be a good, active listener, and detail-oriented and have a great bed-side manner. An electrician may not need to be a listener so much as have a good technical grasp and be honed in on the details.
But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t crossover skills that everyone could benefit from possessing. These types of skills are known as Soft Skills, and are highly sought after in every job. Soft Skills are relational skills like empathy, being a good listener, admitting when you’re wrong, making others feel comfortable. Teamwork. Problem solving. Leadership. These are just a few of the skills that are typically outside of the realm of the textbook. That said, they can certainly be practiced and developed.
Employees that have a good combination of hard skills (for technical aspects of a job) and soft skills often have the upper hand in the job search game--but only if you position them for maximum exposure on your resume.
So what are the top skills that employers want to see on your resume when it shows up on their desk? For more than a decade, CareerBliss has been matching individuals and jobs for career satisfaction and happiness. In that time, we’ve worked with thousands of companies, so we’ve learned a thing or two (okay, a whole lot) about what employers want to see on a resume. So get ready, because we’re about to help you completely reshape your resume, removing the fluff so you can give potential employers the substance they want to see to make a decision for you.
Top skills to include on your resume
Desirable skills change over time, based on what’s happening and trending in the moment. For 2020 and the foreseeable future, Automation and computer skills are in-demand, and it’s no wonder: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, “Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. These occupations are projected to add about 531,200 new jobs.” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). So if you’ve got computer skills, make sure you flaunt those!
- Computer skills and artificial intelligence
They are the way of the present, and the continued waves of the future. There’s no going back from our increasingly automated lives. If you know anything about computers, programming, robots--you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of those who don’t.
The blockchain is “a digital record of transactions. The name comes from its structure, in which individual records, called blocks, are linked together in single list, called a chain. Blockchains are used for recording transactions made with cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, and have many other applications.” (techterms.com). Blockchain has many promising applications beyond finances--you’ll definitely stand out if you wave this skill around.
- UX design,
UX design, also known as User Experience, is “the process of designing (digital or physical) products that are useful, easy to use, and delightful to interact with. It’s about enhancing the experience that people have while interacting with your product, and making sure they find value in what you’re providing.” (usertesting.com) In a crowded online space, UX design is vital, as it can determine why a customer chooses to do business with your company over any other one.
- Adobe Photoshop
Knowing how to use Adobe Suite or other design software is always in style. Not only can design programs be complex, but an eye for design is also honed by time and experience. This is a hard-skill that is beneficial to many jobs.
- Active listening
Hearing and really listening are completely different things. “Active listening refers to a pattern of listening that keeps you engaged with your conversation partner in a positive way. It is the process of listening attentively while someone else speaks, paraphrasing and reflecting back what is said, and withholding judgment and advice.” (verywellmind). Active listeners are critical to getting things done right, as they don’t listen passively while multitasking on 5 different things. They listen. They comprehend. And then they take the needed action.
In the age of computers and social media, people are quickly losing the ability to communicate well. If you can look someone in the eye, get your point across clearly in speaking and/or writing, provide clear instructions (or clear interpretation of instructions), you are likely a good communicator and should be lauded for it. Communication is vital to every job, so if you have it, flaunt it. If you don’t, start to develop it as soon as possible.
When joining a company, you’re becoming part of a team. So it’s important to show how you’ve worked with others in the past to indicate how you can work with others in the future. If you’re a team player, you’ll likely be a valuable asset to any company.
Below are some soft and hard skill lists that you can use to gain a better understanding of what the skills are, and to think through and uncover your own skills (even those you didn’t know you had!).
Soft skills list
- Problem Solving
- Decision Making
- Conflict Resolution
- Strong Work Ethic
- Time Management
- Handling Pressure
- Critical Thinking
- Customer Service
- Business Etiquette
Hard skills list
- Computer Programming
- Heavy Machinery Operation
- Paid Online Traffic
- Website Design
- Search Engine OptimizationLandscaping
- Word Processing
- Data Analysis
- Conversion Testing
- Social media marketing
Showcasing your skills to a potential employer
- Take some time to think through your skillset
Even if it’s not apparent at first, we all have skills we bring to the table. Often, the combination of our hard and soft skills can make for an interesting, attention-grabbing resume. Don’t rush through creating a resume. Take the time to think through, define and write down all the skills you can think of that you possess. You can use the lists above as a starting point, and go from there.
- Figure out what skills the job requires
Once you know what skills you have, you need to figure out what skills a particular employer is looking for. You can often determine this by closely reading the job description, which will lay out the exact type of person they are looking for, the type of work required of a person, and even the skills that you must possess to be successful at the job.
- If you want to have a successful job search, your resume should always be tailored to the job you are applying for. So make sure you take the time to understand the details of the job, and the qualifications and skills the hiring manager is looking for.
- Create a skills section on your resume to highlight your abilities
Capture an employers attention from the start by highlighting hard skills and applicable certifications upfront. After your name and contact info, and before you launch into your professional history, give them some savory skill details to get them excited to know more about you. Here’s a sample skills section you can incorporate into your resume:
Expert in keeping, inspecting, organizing and preparing financial documents.
Detail-driven billing specialist with strong communication and mathematical reasoning skills. Five years of experience creating and maintaining financial records. Well-versed in A/P, A/R, data analytics, billing and collections.
Key skills include:
Invoicing software: Quickbooks, Elite3E, WaveApps
Accounting software: BQE Core, Canopy, Netsuite
Business knowledge: Standards of accounting; knowledge of regulatory standards
Certifications: Certified Public Accountant; Certified Information Technology Professional
- Create a cover letter
A cover letter will provide you even more space to delve deeper into your skills and how they’ve served former companies you’ve worked for, and what you can bring to the next company. Too many people see the cover letter as an accessory piece to the application. It should instead be viewed just as importantly as the resume in providing insight into your skills, abilities and history. Take the time to write a good cover letter that details your skills, and you’ll push yourself far ahead of the crowd.
- Get a letter of recommendation
Letters of recommendation from a former teacher or employer can provide your employer with even more insights, along with a supervisor’s first-hand knowledge of your skills and abilities. While it’s most often not required as part of a job application process, it certainly helps by giving you a boost up in the eyes of a potential employer--not only because you went the extra mile to request one, but because most likely it speaks glowingly of you. And it doesn’t get much better than a glowing recommendation. Use every means possible to provide a well-rounded look at your hard skills, soft skills and work experience and abilities.
It’s a wrap
At CareerBliss, we know that work is a major part of life--and that’s why we think you should be happy in whatever you do and wherever you are. Life’s too short to be unhappy. Life’s too short to stay in a bad job.
So whether you’re looking for your first job, searching after a hiatus or a lay off, or just looking for that job that makes you smile every day, we’ve got you covered. Check back for relevant blogs, tips and tricks for how to optimize your job search.
And remember--you’ve got skills! Now showcase them.
The CareerBliss Team
Your career happiness is our #1 priority here at CareerBliss. To help you succeed in your career, we offer a wide variety of tools and resources to help you out along the way. Check out company reviews, salary information, career advice and, of course, millions of jobs on CareerBliss and choose happy today!