How to Write a Resume
Don't know where to start writing your first resume or need some help improving your current one? This tutorial will go over the basic steps of resume writing, and highlight the key points to remember at each step.
Resume FAQ

How to Highlight Your Skills on Your Resume

Updated: July 2023

It is well known that hiring managers spend limited time reviewing a resume, and most are looking for both hard and soft skills that will add value to the work environment. Soft skills are examples of one’s personality and personal attributes.  They demonstrate an ability to fit into a certain culture or work environment; how to handle stress or be part of a team.  Such as:

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication/Customer Service
  • Decision Making
  • Multitasking
  • Problem Solving
  • Work ethic
  • Time management
  • Leadership

Hard skills are technical skills that are necessary to complete a task.  Typically hard skills have been developed through education, experience and training.  For example:

  • Accounting/Bookkeeping
  • Data analysis
  • Human Resources
  • Languages
  • Project Management
  • Research
  • Software and SEO proficiency
  • Writing/Editing

Hard skills are measurable, whereas soft skills are more subjective. It's crucial to identify which skills to highlight on your resume.

Assessing the Employer's Needs

It is always best to refer to the job description to customize your skills on the resume.  However, you can glean additional knowledge by researching the company on their website, and learning about their culture and company values.  If you have colleagues or friends familiar with the company, ask about their working experience and the leadership style.  Research professionals on Linkedin who may be employed by the company a/o who possess a similar job title.

Read the job description carefully and review the company website for clues about the most valued requirements.  The job description will have specific language and Keywords that you should incorporate into your resume - if the information fits.  By researching the company and thoroughly reading the job description, you will have a better understanding of how the company operates and the workplace environment it promotes. 

How to Highlight Your Skills Effectively

An effective way to add a skills section on your resume is creating a three-column section, listing the most important hard and soft skills you possess that directly relate to the job posting.  Use bullets, and include three or four skills in each column so that the reader can quickly scan your qualifications. This section is often visible at the top of the resume before the Work Experience section.

Use Power Words

When incorporating skills into your Work Experience section, use action words to describe your skills in a manner that is impactful, forceful and persuasive.  Examples include:

reduced | pioneered | targeted | designed | managed | streamlined | secured | expedited collaborated | authored | coached |increased |monitored | systemized | conceptualized

Show Your Benefit

When adding relevant skills in the Work Experience section, you should also demonstrate the impact your specific skills had on the company - and bottom line, by adding data or results.  Quantify the benefits your work provided to your employer. Consider listing specific projects and their results.  For example,  language such as, "Increased profits by 10%," or "Reduced waste by 10%" demonstrate that your skills will benefit your future employer as well.  Wherever possible, quantify your value by providing measurable results.

As you develop your list of skills, present them in a way that show how you have become more responsible and valuable as time has progressed.  Make sure that the most valuable skills are highlighted under the most recent employment.  Remember that the goal is not only to showcase your capabilities but that the language you choose corresponds with the job description.

Your resume is your opportunity not only to highlight your skills, but also to sell the benefits those skills offer a potential employer. Successful resumes assess the employer's needs, make a powerful impression by using action-oriented verbs and prove a candidate's benefit to the employer by quantifying skills, accomplishments and professional growth. When successfully executed, these strategies may give you a competitive edge within the job market.