But writing a strong resume isn’t that easy to do. There’s an art to it, which is why so many people hire a resume writer when it’s time to craft a new CV.
The whole purpose of a resume is to show potential employers what skills you have. And that’s where so many people struggle. Detailing everything you did at your last job is important, but if you don’t showcase your skills the right way, your resume could get overlooked.
If you’re about to start a new job search, keep reading. Here are five things you need to know about how to discuss your skills on your resume.
1. Know What Skills Employers Want
You might have the greatest set of skills in the world, but if they’re not the skills the company is looking for, they won’t be much help.
Before you can decide what skills to put on your resume, you need to figure out what skills employers want you to have.
One way to determine this is by studying the job post. If they ask for specific technical experience, be sure to include it. If they’re looking for more soft skills than hard skills, you need to write your resume in a way that shows that you have the competency they’re looking for.
When writing your CV, be honest. Don’t exaggerate your skills. If you do land the job, it won’t take long for your new employer to figure out that you were lying about your capabilities.
2. Don’t Oversell or Undersell Your Skills
Never list skills that you don’t have. You might be able to get away with it on paper, but once you’re in a face-to-face interview, it will be evident that you aren’t the expert you claim to be. It’s always best to be upfront and transparent about your work experience.
For example, if you know basic HTML, don’t make yourself sound like an expert coder.
At the same time, it’s important not to undersell the abilities that you do have. If you managed a team of twenty people at your last job, say so. Don’t sell yourself short by saying that you led a team. That could make the employer think you led a team of two or three people.
Be concise and specific about your experience, regardless of how much or how little you may have.
3. Showcase Your Skills in the Right Way
A resume is your first chance to make a good impression, and your experience is most likely what is going to get you a job interview. Many people make the mistake of hiding their skills within the experience section of their resume.
And while it’s fine to include them there naturally, you can call them out with a skills section as well.
There are two main ways to format a skills section:
One way is to create a few sub-headings and list out the skills that fall under each of those headings.
The other option is to create a bullet point list that details a variety of different capabilities.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to follow a format that’s easy to read. Your reviewer should only have to glance at your resume for a minute to get an idea of who you are and what you can do.
4. Include Soft Skills
Soft skills are just as important as hard skills. In fact, sometimes they’re more important.
Because soft skills can’t necessarily be taught.
It’s much easier to teach someone how to use a specific software program than it is to teach them how to manage, lead, or initiate new concepts.
Soft skills can, and should, be included in the experience part of your resume. For example, leadership ability is a skill that many companies want in an employee. If you have experience doing so, say it.
If you implemented a training program for new hires, make it known. That will demonstrate that you know how to lead.
If you’ve created an ongoing education program to update employees on current industry trends, mention it. That will show that you know how to mentor other employees to be at the top of their game.
The more specific you can be, the better.
5. Use Power Words
The way you describe your experience on a resume is as important as the experience itself. If you want your CV to grab attention and get noticed, you need to use active language.
Words like converted, drove, and spearheaded are just a few examples of power words. These words command attention and demonstrate that you’re a take-charge type of person.
Don’t say you “grew” the business, say you maximized ROI. Don’t say you changed how the company conducts sales, say you strategized a new sales process.
The stronger your words, the more powerful your resume will be.
It’s also essential to quantify your achievements whenever possible. For example, instead of saying you increased sales year over year, say you increased sales by 30% or 60%
Don’t say you did several million in sales, say you did $8 million in sales. The more specific you can be, the more professional your resume will look.
It’s important to avoid the common resume mistakes that so many people make. It’s just as crucial to showcase your experience in a way that will get your resume noticed.
When discussing your skills on a resume, remember to:
- Identify the skills that the employer wants
- Be honest about your experience (don’t undersell or exaggerate)
- Showcase your abilities clearly by adding a skills section
- Include soft skills, as these may be more important than technical experience
- Use power words that command attention and quantify your achievements
Now that you know these tips and tricks, start writing that resume! The sooner you do, the sooner you can land that dream job you’ve been hoping for.
Angus Flynn has five years of Property Management experience working primarily in high-end apartment community living. His ability to consistently deliver white-glove service to his residents and prospects has propelled him into a successful career that now finds him leading the team at 837 Harvard.