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©2019 by Hired Guru

Goodbye Wix and hello Wordpress! I’m sad to say, the Hired Guru character is getting retired and phased out. I felt like it was maybe a bit too cartoony and losing credibility to those who were genuinely seeking out career advice.

Top 25 Key Skills for a Resume: The Best Examples for All Jobs


Skills. We all got em'. But how we share and present them is a whole nother' story. What's important when sharing our skills on our resume is to focus on items that sound different than the standard skills hiring managers see.


For example, if you list "Communication" as one of your key skills, here will no doubt be eye rolls and managers who don't take this seriously. The thought of, "I hope you can communicate, if not we can't hire you at all." This skill doesn't ring as true as it likely should.


If you're applying for a sales job, including communication is far too broad and doesn't deliver the necessary message you're trying to send. For that, you need to think past the broad, all-encompassing terms and strive for more specific ideas here.


Resume Skills to include on your resume summary plan:


  • Do's and Don'ts

  • List of Keywords

  • Formatting Tips

  • Why Listing Skills on Your Resume Doesn't Matter


Do's and Don'ts


These may seem obvious, but I want to be sure everyone knows the proper etiqutte and manner to include these skills on their resume beforehand. It's necessary to double check yours for these.

First, go through the list and see if there is anything on this list you need to change. Second, go through the do's section and find all of the resume skills that you need to edit, whether in verbiage or format. Remember, skills and the skills section of your resume is subjective. Hiring managers may read this but to the degree they consider it truth will depend solely on your ability to sell this skill.



DO's


Be humble


No one likes a showoff. If you claim you're an expert, you damn well better be. If you aren't, that's fine, just don't say you are an expert. Keep a level head, and use humble but forceful language in asserting your skills. Don't undersell, but demonstrate confidence through your ability to establish credibility through humility.


Example: Expert Sales Knowledge

Better: Influential Selling Technique

Better: Impactful Sales Results


Be specific


This issue can't be harped on enough. Keep your skills specific. If you list communication on your list of skills, I will lose my mind. Not seriously, but keep your skills to the EXACT point and not the gist of what you're trying to say.


Example: Communication

Better: Consultative Approach

Better: Negotiation Closing Leader


Be clear


Ever ask someone what they do for a living and they make it sound so damn fancy by the end, you're sorry you asked? That's how skills can be. If your audience reads them and changes their mind whether they're going to try and interpret what you meant half way through, it's probably written poorly.


Example: Coengineering Symbiotic Partnerships

Better: Client / Partner Success Ownership





DON'Ts


Take up too much space


Your skills are important, sure. Not worth the upper 1/3 real estate of your first resume page. If they occupy this space with fancy line breaks and bullet points, your resume template is failing you. It's creating an unnecessary number of pages and causing the reader to search through your resume more than they should. Keep these toward the bottom or if at the top, in a portion no more than 1/10 of the upper 1/3 of your resume. That's not to exceed .03 of the total space of your resume within the margins.


List too many skills


We get it, you're great. Just don't clutter your message of greatness with too many skills listed. The purpose of the resume is to get them to talk to you, not to tell your whole life story. Ten skills is probably too many, but depending on your field, it may be totally appropriate. For example, in software engineering, it isn't uncommon to list all of your langues, OS, langues, and more in a skills section. That is more specific to a technical skills section and not general like we're referring to here.







What skills to list on your resume: Hard vs Soft Skills




Hard Skills


These are going to be things that are learned skills, similar to something you've done specifically in your role. For example, if you type all day, and you're able to crank out 80 words per minute, then 80 WPM is a hard skill. It's something learned.


That said, if your role includes ANYTHING more impressive than typing, this should not be listed. In fact, unless a crucial element of the job is typing where speed plays a relevant factor, I would leave out WPM all together.


Read a list of 15 standard hard skills to include in your resume:


  1. Java Development

  2. GE Appliance Repair

  3. Graphic Design

  4. Excel and Microsoft Word

  5. Accounting

  6. Event Planning

  7. Wood Lathe Operating

  8. Digital Marketing

  9. Financial Analysis

  10. Accounting Software

  11. Tech support

  12. CRM Expert

  13. Video editing

  14. CPA

  15. Dog Walker Certification


Soft Skills


You may have understood skills to include on your resume as just a long list of different synonyms for team player. That's not what this is about.


Soft Skills are those in line with traits and social skills that are not as binary in their learning. That said, all or nearly all of these could be learned by anyone. Someone already possessing them, however, is subjective and an asset to a company looking for someone with these skills.


Here's an example of 7 soft skills to include on your resume:


  1. Ultimate Team Player

  2. Dog-like obedience to authority

  3. Ok, both of those are from the office, so I'll start listing for reals now.

  4. Leadership

  5. EQ

  6. Effective Communication

  7. Trust Builder

  8. Ambitious

  9. Self Starter

  10. Entrepreneurial mindset






Skills to List on Your Resume - Format Guide


Don't follow guides like this that offer plug and play Microsoft Word templates and claim to be experts in resume development. This resume format looks terrible. And it's touted as the how you should format your resume for those who are looking.

Image Credit: zety.com

It's really about structure to a resume. If you're familiar with "above the fold" in newspapers, it's about putting what is most important and what you want readers to see above the fold. Resumes aren't any different. The reader is likely looking at your resume on a computer screen, zoomed in, and only seeing the upper 3/5's if your lucky.


Here's why you don't format your resume like this.






Instead...


List your skills in a small section of your resume. They aren't likely to be taken that seriously and as such should not take up that much space on your resume. You'll want to forget about SEO in your resume and save that for your bulleted sections under each job. You can optimize that text for keywords and not plug your skills section.







Listing Skills on Your Resume May Not Make a Difference.







Try this exercise


Google a list of the most impactful adjectives you could use for a resume - ok, let me help. Thanks to ResumeCompanion.

1. The Ultimate List of Resume Adjectives by Category


The following is a list of powerful adjectives that you can use to make your resume pack the punch you need to land an interview. But be warned, using them improperly can make your resume seem hollow. Be sure to check out our guide below to make sure you don’t make this mistake.


Adjectives by Industry and Skill:


Accounting Admin Assistant Customer Service Engineering Food Service Information Technology Management Marketing & Sales Nursing RetailAnalytical/Critical Thinking Creativity & Innovation Effectiveness Enthusiasm Hard-working Organization Reliability Teamwork & Communication Versatility


Analytical/Critical Thinking:


Doing a lot of work that requires you to put your thinking cap on? These words are perfect for describing the meticulous and calculating tasks you do on a daily-basis. They are particularly useful if you work in industries that require complex analytical thinking, such as finance, engineering, and information technology (IT).


Astute


Insightful


Methodical


Practical

Calculating


Intelligent


Meticulous


Shrewd

Complex


Investigative


Objective


Strategic

Discerning


Logical


Perceptive


Thoughtful


Creativity & Innovation:


Demonstrating that you are a creative innovator has never been easier! The list below will enhance your professional experience section and have the hiring manager begging you to join their team.


Cutting-edgeImaginativeNovelSophisticatedElegantIngeniousProgressiveUniqueFirst-classInnovativeRevolutionaryUnprecedentedGroundbreakingInventiveRobustWorld-class


Effectiveness:


No matter what industry you work in, proving that you have what it takes to do your job effectively is essential. These words are especially useful to make your skills section seems even more impressive.


AccomplishedEconomicalInstrumentalSkilledAdeptExpertProductiveSkillfulAdvancedFluentProficientStrongCompetentIdealProfitableSuperiorConstructiveIndustriousSignificantQualifiedCost-effectiveInfluentialSmoothQuality


Our comprehensive library of free downloadable resume templates is another excellent tool for making sure you have the best resume possible!


Enthusiasm:


Energy! Passion! Dedication! Hiring managers love it when you display your genuine interest in the job. Use these words to show them that your high-spirits can’t be matched!


CommittedDevotedGenuineSincereDedicatedEarnestKeenSpiritedDeterminedEnergeticPassionateWholehearted


Hard-working:


Are you a driven and motivated individual? Are you willing to work tirelessly through the night to complete a key project? Emphasize this desirable personal trait with the list below!


AlertDrivenMotivatedThoroughAttentiveEnterprisingPersistentTirelessConcertedFocusedStudiousVigorous


Organization:


Organizational skills are needed for anyone in assistant or managerial positions. These words will help you describe your expertise in accomplishing tasks in an orderly and practical manner.


BusinesslikeDetail-orientedSmoothSystematicControlledOrderlyStep-by-stepTimelyDetailedPreciseStructured


You can also use this list of adjectives to beef up your cover letter! Check out our expert’s guide for more details on how to write your cover letter or browse our list of samples.


Reliability:


Just as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, you can be counted on to perform — no matter the task. Use these words if you work in an industry where being dependable is key, such as law enforcement, healthcare, and finance.

AccurateDisciplinedImpartialResilientConsistentExactLoyalSteadfastDependableFastidiousProfessionalSustainableDiligentHonestPunctualWell-grounded


Teamwork & Communication:


A friendly nature and the ability to communicate clearly are crucial characteristics for anyone who works in teams, or deals with customers on a daily basis. These words will help you describe that you’re skilled at working in teams and keeping clients happy.


AmiableCheerfulCooperativePersonableAmicableClearCordialPleasantArticulateCoherentCourteousPositiveCalmCohesiveDiplomaticRespectfulCharmingConscientiousHarmoniousTeam-minded


Versatility:


Do you work in a fast-paced environment that throws a diverse range of tasks at you everyday? Use the table below to prove that you are the master of multitasking.


AdaptableComprehensiveDiverseMultifactedAgileCountlessExtensiveResourcefulCapableDeepFlexibleVast


Looking for more ways to improve your resume?


Using a qualifications summary could be just what you need to help set yours apart!


2. Five Weak Words You Should Avoid at All Costs


1. Knowledgable:

Saying you are knowledgeable means nothing to the hiring manager. You have to prove it. Instead of using such a hollow descriptor, use words that describe the extent of your knowledge. Take a look at the examples below:


Weak:

I am a knowledgeable Software Engineer.


Powerful:

Software engineer with advanced knowledge of Java/JSP, Ruby, C and C++ programming languages.


2. Experienced:

Experienced falls short in much the same way as knowledgeable. Both lead us into the trap of thinking we have proved our worth, when in reality such adjectives are nothing but empty words. Specifically stating what you are experienced in, and then emphasizing that experience with the proper adjective, makes for a much stronger statement.


Weak:

I am an experienced Software Engineer


Powerful:

Software Engineer with extensive experience implementing service oriented architecture (SOA) and web services.


3. Results-oriented:

This is yet another word that doesn’t mean anything without proof. It is also completely unnecessary to use it on a resume, because a well-written professional experience section should be all about showcasing the results of your actions. After reading through your work history, the hiring manager should already be convinced you are results-oriented — stating so is completely redundant.


Saying it is Weak:

I am results-oriented.


Demonstrating it is Powerful:

Led 3 teams in the successful development of 40+ projects, resulting in over $15 million revenue for the company to date.


4. Various:

Using various – and other similarly vague quantity adjectives – can be dangerous because they give you a false sense of security. For example, when you state that you are “skilled in various techniques,” you make the mistake of thinking you are showcasing your versatility. However, by not being specific, it actually seems like you are trying to hide your lack of versatility.


Vague is Weak:

Supported clients in complying with IT security standards across various frameworks.


Specific is Powerful:

Supported clients in complying with IT security standards across HIPAA, PCI, GLBA, NIST, and ISO 27001 frameworks.


5. Self-starter:

A lot of “experts” will try to convince you that this is a must-have resume adjective. Don’t listen to them. Buzzwords such as this are just that — an annoying buzz in the hiring manager’s ear. You want words that will sting like a bee and get their attention.


The simple act of saying you are a self-starter doesn’t prove anything. Instead, at the start of each of your professional experience bullets, use action verbs that show your independence and initiative. Volunteered, initiated, spearheaded, and implemented are all good examples. Take a look at the the bullets below, and think about which candidate really seems like a self-starter.


Weak:

I am a self-starter.


Powerful:

Spearheaded an open source development project using PHP and MySQL to create free content management software.

3. How To Use Resume Adjectives Effectively


Using adjectives to create a powerful resume isn’t about throwing in some fancy-sounding buzzwords to make yourself seem like a super cool dude (or dudette). This will have the opposite effect, and make your claims sound hollow.


The true power of resume adjectives lies in their ability to enhance and emphasize the points you are already proving. This guide will go through each main section of a typical resume and show you how you can use certain words to strengthen them.


a. Career Objective: Emphasize your experience, knowledge, and personal traits


A career objective (or resume objective) is a short (but sweet) introduction designed to showcase your skills, experience, and attributes in a way that captures the hiring manager’s attention. Spicing it up with some tasty adjectives is a great way to help accomplish this.


You can use them to emphasize the extent of your experience, and showcase your personal traits. However, don’t describe yourself – doing so will weaken your statements instead of enhancing them. Take a look at the examples below to get a better idea of what we mean:


Don’t:

Experienced and compassionate Caregiver who has been providing care and assistance to elderly patients in assisted living communities for 5+ years. Looking to deliver care and companionship to the elderly in your community. Possess Geriatric Nursing Assistant certification and have concern for the physical and mental well-being of geriatric patients.


Do:

Caregiver with 5+ years of extensive experience providing heartfelt care and assistance to elderly patients in assisted living communities. Looking to deliver compassionate, service oriented care and companionship to the elderly in your community. Possess Geriatric Nursing Assistant certification and have sincere concern for the physical and mental well-being of geriatric patients.

The impression you get from the second example is much more powerful. By describing your experience as extensive, you give the hiring manager the feeling that it is somehow more valuable than if you had just written 5+ years experience.


In addition, by enhancing their actions with words such as heartfelt, compassionate, and sincere, the candidate showcases their enthusiasm and compassion — all without the need to specifically describe themselves.


Take a look at our expert’s guide on how to write a winning career objective!


b. Professional Experience: Enhance your actions

In your professional experience section, use adjectives sparingly. They should only be used in cases where they legitimately enhance your actions and achievements, or describe the manner in which you performed an action. Otherwise, they can make your resume seem fluffy and unprofessional.

Take a look at the examples below to get a better idea of how to use them properly:


Example 1:

Normal:

Cultivated relationships with over 80% of patients, resulting in overall patient happiness and emotional well-being

Enhanced:

Cultivated amicable relationships with over 80% of patients, resulting in greater overall patient happiness and emotional well-being


Example 2:

Normal:

Led 10-member team in conducting the day-to-day operations of the plant, including the manufacturing of products, and implementation of 7 new production strategies.


Enhanced:

Led 10-member team in conducting the day-to-day operations of the plant, ensuring smooth manufacturing of products, and facilitating the cost-effective implementation of 7 new groundbreaking production strategies.


As you can see, while the normal statements are still strong bullet points, the addition of adjectives strengthens them even further.


If you’re looking at these examples and thinking you can’t even create bullets as good as the normal sentences, fear not. Check out the professional experience section of our how to write a resume guide, and you’ll be up to speed in no time!


c. Skills: Sharpen your skills

In your skills section, only use adjectives to emphasize your level of skill with a given technique or tool. Most of the words you can use for this are found in the Effectiveness category of our list. Let’s take a look at some comparisons:

MS Word and MS Excel vs. Proficient with MS word and MS ExcelEnglish and Spanish vs. Fluent in English and SpanishCommunication vs. Strong Communication skillsPython and Javascript vs. Advanced/Expert knowledge of Python and Javascript


Describing your skills in this manner makes your them seem sharper, and leaves a greater impression on the hiring manager. Just be sure not to overembellish, or you could get into trouble during the interview.


4. When Not to Use Them

At this point, if you’re not using adjectives in one of the ways outlined in our guide above, then you might want to recheck your usage. However, since we’re a nice group of helpful guys and gals here at Resume Companion, we’ve also listed some of the ways you should avoid using them:


a. In place of quantification

Never make the mistake of using an adjective to describe something that could instead be quantified with a number. For example:


Don’t write:

Managed enormous budget


Do write:

Managed budget in excess of $300 million


Saying the budget was enormous is a subjective statement and it’s also extremely vague. Using specific numbers is more effective at emphasizing the enormity of the budget, and also gives the hiring manager a clear idea of your abilities.


b. If you can’t back up your claim in an interview

Don’t use adjectives just to sound impressive. Always make sure that what you are saying is true. Otherwise, when asked about specifics in an interview, you will fall flat on your face.


In your skills section, don’t say you’re an expert in something unless you can prove it in an interview. It’s better to have no enhancements in your skills section at all than to make false claims. The same goes for your professional experience section – don’t use adjectives to enhance or emphasize your actions unless your claims are true.

Let’s take another look at our earlier example:


Led 10-member team in conducting the day-to-day operations of the plant, ensuring smooth manufacturing of products, and facilitating the cost-effective implementation of 7 new groundbreaking production strategies.


When making a statement like this, you need to be aware that the hiring manager may ask for more details in your interview. As such, before you make such declarations, you need to be able to answer the following type of questions:

How did you ensure the manufacturing of products was smooth?What methods did you use to make sure the implementation of your production strategies was cost-effective?In what ways were the production strategies you implemented groundbreaking?


If you can’t answer these types of questions for each of the descriptions you are using, get rid of them. If you don’t, you could be in for a world of trouble in your interview.


c. To describe yourself


This rule is a bit less stringent, but generally speaking it’s best to avoid using adjectives to describe yourself. It gives you the illusion that you have impressed the hiring manager, when in reality you have proved nothing.


As Ned Stark from Game of Thrones once said, “words are wind, hiring managers only care about proof” (not 100% sure about the hiring managers part). Only use adjectives to describe yourself if you are prepared to back it up immediately afterwards.


If you are a certified or licensed member of a particular field, then feel free to describe yourself as such in your career objective! Just remember to list your specific certifications or licenses later on.

About the Author: Jack

Jack started Hired Guru in 2019 to help job seekers. After a long career in HR and Recruiting, he took industry knowledge and began sharing. The goal was to make it simpler for candidates to get their message across and be heard.

The right stuff and the right people are keys to your career success. Aligning your goals and sharing your intent with the right people will springboard you to the next level.

Jack also recommends LinkedIn and building your network early and often. He is on daily, connecting and networking with newbies to the Hired Guru Team.

Disclosure: Please note some of the links I shared above link to some of my supporters and are referred to as affiliate links. While there is no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click the link and buy something. Rest assured, I have firsthand experience with these products and companies and am very comfortable recommending them. Purchase is totally voluntary. Please do not buy any these products unless you want them.

Goodbye Wix and hello Wordpress! I’m sad to say, the Hired Guru character is getting retired and phased out. I felt like it was maybe a bit too cartoony and losing credibility to those who were genuinely seeking out career advice.