Top 20 Must-Have Skills to Put on Your Resume

Businesswoman interviewing a job applicant and reviewing resume
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This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.

Writing a good resume is a difficult balancing act. You have to keep your resume length short and sweet, but still include enough quality information to make an impression.

When reviewing your credentials, hiring managers will hold a particular interest in the skills you possess. This means it’s very important to know what is relevant to the job when thinking of the skills to list on your resume. And though it goes without saying, we’ll say it just in case: Any skills listed on your resume should be skills you truly possess.

There are endless skills that you can include on any resume, and you have to decide which ones will be the most effective.

There are the hard, industry-specific skills, as well as the soft skills that every job demands. So how do you figure out the best skills to list on your resume? And what if you’re looking to find a remote job?

“Some great skills employers love to see on your resume if you are looking for remote work are: written and verbal communication, the ability to work independently, time and task management, organization, comfort with technology and specific knowledge of remote communication tools like Zoom, Skype, Dropbox, Google Suite, etc.,” shares Toni Frana, FlexJobs’ expert career coach.

Let’s take a closer look at the top skills to put on your resume, starting with soft skills.

1. Problem-solving

Computer problem solving
Iakov Filimonov / Shutterstock.com

No matter what the job is, eventually something will go wrong and employers want to know that you’re capable of coming up with a quick and effective solution. In fact, there are jobs that are essentially nothing but solving problems for the company, the clients or both.

2. Critical thinking

A woman thinking
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Being able to think rationally and thoughtfully is the basis of critical thinking. Employers want workers who can think through a problem or a project and determine the best steps needed. Critical thinkers come up with new and better ways to work, making that an invaluable skill to put on a resume.

3. Flexibility

A creative business team
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

Many organizations and industries covet employees who are dynamic and adaptable to every situation, or who have a natural ability to use a variety of methods and approaches in different circumstances to get the best end result.

4. Communication

Businesswoman and man wearing masks in a meeting
Akarawut / Shutterstock.com

Whether it’s written or verbal, being able to communicate with your boss, co-workers and clients/customers in all situations is very valuable. The better you are at it, the better results you will generate.

5. Teamwork

Professionals in a meeting
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Most jobs will require you to work with other people at some point, and employers want to know that you can succeed in a team environment. Some jobs will prize this skill more than others.

6. Organization

Organized woman
Daniel_Dash / Shutterstock.com

This is not just about having a neat desk, but also organizing tasks and projects for your co-workers, management and, at the very least, yourself! If you want to show off your organization skills, having a tightly structured resume certainly helps.

7. Creativity

Working outdoors on laptop
BublikHaus / Shutterstock.com

Thinking outside of the box and coming up with creative solutions can be a real asset in any role. Perhaps you’re good at thinking about something in a way that hasn’t been done before. Creativity can be shown on your resume through a problem you solved or through a creative skill like writing or design.

8. Emotional intelligence

remote worker without a degree
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

According to Psychology Today, “Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.” In the workplace, this means you’re rational and even-keeled, and can handle ups and downs without losing control. While this is important for everybody, it’s a must-have skill to include on a resume for management.

9. Attention to detail

Taking notes by hand
TippaPatt / Shutterstock.com

On the job you need to ensure you follow all instructions in order to complete your work. This can be especially important when you work with others. Paying attention to detail will be needed in any role you have. Consider listing times when you caught or fixed a potential mistake due to your attention to detail.

10. Responsibility

Man working on laptop
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock.com

Part of being a good employee is taking responsibility for your duties and even owning up to mistakes. Most managers don’t want to have to check in on their employees to ensure every part of their job is getting done. Responsibility means doing what you need to do to complete your tasks.

11. Computer software and application knowledge

Man happily using laptop
stockfour / Shutterstock.com

The list of professions that don’t require you to use computers and certain types of software is very short. You could very likely break up “computer skills” into two or three specific technical proficiencies for your field.

12. Design

Woman looking at financial chart on tablet computer
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Aside from the obvious professions like graphic or web design, there are jobs in marketing, advertising, branding, engineering and construction that require some type of design skills — even if it’s only for drawing up presentations.

13. Data analysis

Working on computer data analysis on a laptop
Gorodenkoff / Shutterstock.com

Big Data is very in vogue right now, and there are a lot of jobs out there where you will be called upon to analyze metrics and extrapolate a practical use from them, making this an extremely valuable skill to put on your resume.

14. Negotiation

People finalizing a deal, shaking hands.
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

There are many jobs that involve selling a product or service, purchasing stock or merchandise, brokering deals for production or transportation, establishing partnerships for advertising or investments, and so on.

15. Mathematics

Young woman using calculator
baranq / Shutterstock.com

Jobs in finance, business, engineering, construction, manufacturing, logistics, health care and operations will require you to be competent with mathematics in some capacity. If you’re in a profession that is more math-heavy, consider splitting it up into a few more specific skills areas.

16. Project management

Manager
Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Many jobs will require project management skills. The ability to manage your task flow and complete assignments on time is part of project management. Perhaps you have used project management software in the past or have completed a project early — these all show good project management.

17. Marketing

Woman working from home on computer and phone
GaudiLab / Shutterstock.com

Marketing involves selling and promoting products and services. Even if you’re not a marketer per se, many companies may desire this hard skill. Knowing the highlights and benefits of your company’s products and services, and being able to speak or write about them, can be valuable to many different jobs. If you have specific marketing or social media experience, even better.

18. Administrative skills

Organizing filing cabinet
FotoAndalucia / Shutterstock.com

Even if your job is not administrative in nature, it’s likely a part of your role. Administrative skills involve the things you do to manage your role: organizing, planning, scheduling, writing emails, managing files, etc. Employers want to know you’re able to take hold of the details.

19. Writing

Man sitting at table writing.
Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com

Many jobs involve writing. Whether it’s done to clients or co-workers, having a basic writing ability is necessary and an absolute skill to put on your resume. Emails filled with typos and grammatical errors will not reflect well on you, and poor tone can send the wrong message. Demonstrate this skill through your cover letter and emails with the recruiter, and list any specific writing-heavy projects you’ve completed.

20. Foreign languages

Foreign language study
Maxx-Studio / Shutterstock.com

Being bilingual can be a great hard skill and set you apart from your competition. Even if a role or company doesn’t initially have a need for a bilingual employee, they may look favorably on your ability. It is common to need someone with fluency in another language to help customers or clients, so play up this skill on your resume.

Look for target keywords, and categorize skills

Woman reading resume
fizkes / Shutterstock.com

If you’re still not sure if any of these skills are right for your situation, one quick way to check which skills the employer is seeking is to check the job description.

Read through it a few times, and you’ll likely spot three or four key skills mentioned several times throughout the document. If that’s the case, you should do your best to focus on those skills in your resume, too.

Modern resumes are built to be value-oriented, which requires providing information that is more achievement-based as opposed to task-based. If you’ve had multiple roles with varying achievements, select the top four you are most proud of and incorporate them into a “career highlights” section.

Try to avoid adding more than four as this section is meant to be the highlights of your achievements, and you don’t want to create sections with long bullet lists, creating a very boring way to read content.

With either your task-based information or achievements, you can categorize the content into sections to illustrate the diversity in your responsibilities.

For example:

  • Process improvements: information on responsibilities and/or achievements that relate to creating and implementing processes to improve operational efficiencies.
  • Customer service: content that illustrates how you maintain or improve the customer experience at your company.
  • Change management: information that can relate to restructuring staff, developing training programs for employees and coaching individuals or groups on company best practices.

Your soft skills and hard skills are the very things that will either qualify you or disqualify you for a job. Be sure to include some of these top skills on your resume for maximum results.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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