Complete List of Proven Skills to Put on a Resume

Complete List of Proven Skills to Put on a Resume

Soft and Hard Resume Skills

Okay, everyone talks about skills today, and you even know what your best skills are – and how you want to apply them at your new job. But how do you make recruiting managers see your advantages in the proper light? How do you show that you are the one and their company will not thrive without you?

The answer is simple (at least theoretically): highlight your skills in your resume and do it the right way. Sounds like one more Google ad about earning a million by working three hours a week, but actually we will show step by step how to write skills into your resume and made them immediately visible. So at least we will move you a couple of steps closer toward you first million earned at a good job (we hope so:))

Skills: the backbone of your resume

Every manual of resume writing states that skills and experience at previous jobs are those sections employers value most. But if experience comes with getting many good jobs, skills are yours from the very start of your career path – so you can show them off carefully and probably impress a potential boss even without extensive work record.

Why skills? Because this is why they admit you to their company. Because you have what it takes to complete tasks successfully – and probably even without busting the project budget, which is a universal concern today.

So first of all, make sure that you list your professional skills and first of all skills that fit the job description you read. This is the first test for an applicant: if a person can read, understand what is required and align his/her abilities with these requirements, then it is a first sign a person is a reliable employee.

How to do it? Like you did in school when learning new concepts for next day class: highlight them in the description and then consider how many of them you have. It is also a clue regarding if you are really fit for this job. If most skills mentioned by an employers are yours by default, then excellent. Take a chance and be confident. But if an ad says they need an easy going and public-speaking PR manager with background in show business and you dream of being a museum curator and PR manager with subtle, postmodern and ironic promo campaigns in mind, then probably you and a recruiter will not find common ground form the very start.

Now some examples of how this ‘translation’ of job description into skill may look like:

  • Typical expression ‘handling several projects at a time’ stands for ‘multitasking’;
  • ‘Able to switch fast between tasks, teams and environments’ means ‘flexibility’ and also ‘resistance to stress’;
  • ‘friendly and easy in communication’ stands for ‘positivity, good communication skills,’;
  • ‘meeting the deadlines and delivering projects on time’ are obviously ‘punctuality and reliability’;
  • ‘capable of harnessing modern technology and communicative channels (marketing channels, etc.)’ is ‘proficient in computer technology, mobile technology and social media’;
  • ‘goal-oriented’ and ‘team-working’ go as they are;
  • ‘leadership’ is hard to decipher especially if you are hired as a low-rank worker and not a mid-level manager, but usually it is an ability to come forward with an idea amidst uncertainty and make people embrace it as a guideline for actions;
  • ‘good problem solving skills’ is the most tricky descriptor: it means facing the most unexpected troubles in full armor and defeating them easily like a homemade cardboard dragon.

This skill is the most valuable but the most complex to master. It combines resistance to stress, resourcefulness and deep understanding for what causes what in your field. So if you can do that, put this skill proudly in the top three of your list.

Filling the resume with skills that are actually looked for by recruiters is useful from one more point of view. Currently the norm is to run applications through software looking for specific keywords, and the chances are that skills mentioned in the job description are those keywords. So to persuade the first line of recruiting defense that you deserve the interview, feed them these keywords.

Around 70-80% of skills you list should reflect what is said in the job ad. You can even use the dedicated program to see if you meet this percentage (Jobscan, for that case). But do not overdo. Bots and algorithms become more and more sophisticated and can detect key word spamming, so know your limits in that.

Where to put these skills in the resume? Right after the contact information? To the right or to the left? It depends on a format you choose, but best readability is achieved when you put skills immediately after resume summary or in two columns with work experience. It does not matter if you type them to the right or to the left, but make sure to give them a visible title and list them carefully, not like a lonely word or two just to tick that annoying ‘Skills’ box.

What, when and why: hard and soft skills

Now more technical information about skills and how to serve them steamin’ hot. Skills are not just one single heap of qualities that you can proudly display all together. Skills are usually distributed into soft and hard skills.

Hard skills are job related and they can be measured and objectively evaluated – and learned. Coding, driving, gardening are all hard skills. Your hard skills will depend on what company you apply to.

Most popular hard skills that make a desirable worker are like this:

  • Driving license;
  • Microsoft Office advanced proficiency;
  • Data analyzing;
  • Foreign languages proficiency (always name the languages you speak and how well you speak them);
  • Event planning and support;
  • Bookkeeping;
  • Graphic design;
  • Proficiency in CAD package;
  • Java/C++/Python proficiency (insert the computer language or environment you work in);
  • Creative writing.

These titles are far from exhaustive but they help you understand what to say about yourself in hard skills section (yes, give each group a special treatment).

Now soft skills: they are skills helping to get along with people, to be creative and productive in different working environments, and to help others be productive and creative, too. These skills are hard to quantify (it is silly to say that someone has a beginner level of empathy while somebody else is advanced in that skill). They are also hard to learn (but possible).

Usually this section includes popular names like:

  • Communication skills;
  • Leadership;
  • Creativity;
  • Integrity;
  • Problem-solving thinking;
  • Out-of-the-box thinking;
  • Flexibility;
  • Empathy;
  • Positive attitude;
  • Team working;
  • Punctuality;
  • Reliability;
  • Stress resistance;
  • and so on.

Muddy water gets clearer now, it seems. It is useful to know that there exist a set of transferable skills that you can apply anywhere, including computer proficiency, attention to details, responsibility, integrity, and punctuality. You can use them for different resumes sent to different companies and be sure that they will always be appropriate and welcomed.

Avoid these mistakes

After reading the above recommendation you may have an idea now that skills belong to the most dressed up part of the resume – the top part – where each point is placed separately to attract attention. This is not what we want to tell you. Not the only thing, to be more accurate.

Do not leave your skills confined to a separate section only. When you compile a resume summary, include a couple of them.

When you write about your experience, include skills as well. If you mention them, try to explain how you applied them in your previous workplace.

Consider following, for example:

  • Managed and completed in time several simultaneous projects;
  • maintained a high level of sales in stressful environment (the company was undergoing structural changes);
  • came up with a new optimization solution that did not lead to employees layout but helped save costs.

Practice makes the master: putting skills into an actual resume

Okay, don’t tell me, just show me more of it, you may think. Here we go then: good way vs. not very good way to showcase your skills in the work record section. Even if your skills are not that much impressive, you can always make them look a bit more fancy.

  1. Yes: Developed and carried out mini project on small business advertising on a limited budget. Managed technical and computer-based parts of the project successfully.

    No: Designed in Photoshop, ordered printing and plastered a poster of a new diner on walls of the neighborhood.

  2. Yes: Built a coherent team for a long-term project and motivated them to accomplish the project before a deadline.

    No: recruited a team of students for a gig with payment higher than average under condition they will do it earlier than expected.

  3. Yes: Widely employed software for facilitating project-related communication and ensured everyone was briefed and received timely updates.

No: created many PowerPoints, Word Documents and shared docs, sent them by email to colleagues, posted messages about changes and updates in a project chat.

These are just few examples of how to blend what you do with how you do it – and never look in your resume an entry level rookie or a humble clerk (even if you were one). Just practice, practice and practice. Write two or three resume drafts, put them aside and read the next morning. The one that would substantially motivate you as a boss to take this person into the team at once is your star resume. Now you are ready to go ahead with your career.


Jane Williams – HR consultant and writer at