Career Tips

What are the Key Skills to Put on Resume as a Fresher or Experienced Professional

One of the critical parts of CV/Resume that cannot be omitted is the skills section. And how you describe this section when applying for a job goes a long way in determining how you advance in the hiring process. 

Therefore, as you carefully craft your resume to match a particular job position, it is important that you highlight your professional abilities on your resume if you want to convince potential employers that you are qualified for an interview. This section of your resume will differentiate quality from quantity because hiring managers often focus more on skills highlighted in resume to quickly assess candidates.

Your resume’s talents can set you apart from the competition and help you get the job you want. Additionally, if a hiring committee decides to extend you an offer of employment, the compensation amount they decide on may be significantly influenced by the skills portion of your resume.

What are Skills and Why are They Important in Resume?

Simply said, skills are what you possess through rigorous practices that fuel your capacity to carry out a particular task effortlessly and easily. These abilities can be the knowledge you have acquired while studying in high schools or learning how-to as an apprentice. 

To show recruiters or hiring managers the qualities you possess, the capabilities you have to carry out certain tasks perfectly, you must highlight your skills in the section of your resume.

Employers look for a certain set of essential talents in potential employees. The abilities part of a resume for freshers is crucial because of the lack of experience. Nevertheless, the skills you list must match to the job description directly or indirectly.

Types of Skills

There are two main types of skill that a candidate must have to succeed in any role he or she is applying for. The two types of skills are:

1. Hard skills or Technical Skills

Hard skills or technical skills are those skills that are functionally & technically relevant to the job post. They are important in accomplishing a particular task. An example is a software engineering job position; this position requires that the candidate has an in-depth understanding of programming languages (at least two along with CSS and HTML).

Hard skills are usually acquired through education or rigorous practice, and training. Hard skills does not necessarily mean ‘tough’ but technical abilities required to accomplish a particular action.

Remember each CV you forward to the hiring manager demonstrates the hard skills that are most relevant to the position you are seeking. When possible, provide precise, measurable accomplishments for every position you’ve held in the past. For example, if you are a search engine optimization specialist give ranking and traffic achievement. If you are a sales representative, give your potential employers clients a conversion.

According to a Robert Half survey, 62% of lawyers said that their hiring decisions were influenced more by job candidates’ technical abilities than their soft skills.

2. Soft skills

Without a doubt, a hiring manager may be just as interested in your soft abilities as in your technical ones. A company might suffer greatly from an experienced, highly trained new hire who doesn’t fit in with the office environment, communicates poorly with clients and coworkers, or freezes under deadline pressure. This is something that smart managers are aware of. Your CV should reassure the employer that you are not only capable of doing the work but will also contribute to the success of the team.

Sometimes, organizations would prefer candidates who demonstrate high levels of soft skills over technical skills. Because technical skills can easily be learned within the organization’s trainee system that the company has put in place. So, they look and would often prefer candidates who are teachable, communicative and collaborative, goal getters, and passionate at learning new things.

Keep in mind that every job application needs a customized resume. So, go over the responsibilities of the position you’re looking for, decide and choose among your strengths that would enable you to succeed in that role and in the workplace.

Examples of soft skills (or personal qualities or people skills)

  • Self-motivation
  • Multitasking
  • Leadership
  • Decision making
  • Customer serviceCommunication
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Time management

What are the best job skills to include in your resume?

The best skills to include in your resume are the skills that are relevant to the job post. 

How do you figure that out? Skills are an important element of a great resume and should be carefully highlighted in the order of relevance. Reasons being that, hiring managers usually have a lot to deal with – reviewing hundreds of applicants’ resumes. To start with you should carefully go over the job post again and again to understand the key qualities the employer is looking for. Once you’re able to highlight those keywords, list them out and assess your strength to see if you truly possess the qualities. Examples of the most common skills recruiters looking for in a resume are: communication skills, collaboration skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, time management skills, and leadership skills. 

Read Related: Standard Interview Questions And Answers To Ace Your Next Interviews

The job description is a guide when highlighting your skills set in a resume.

Many hiring managers collect, scan, sort, and rank resumes using an application tracking system (ATS), which serves as an electronic filter, to focus applicant pools on the most suitable people. 

Once you are able to assess your strength and have the abilities matching the qualities stated in the job description, you should craft your resume and cover letter to the job posting by using keywords and phrases that match them.

Top soft skills to put on resume

Smart managers are aware of the roles soft skills can play in the workplace. What gets the workplace going – keeping the team together are the people’s skills. Therefore, hiring managers might just be much interested in your soft skills as much as the technical skills to accomplish the task that would be assigned to you. Your employer will be able to tell from your resume, skills, and interview performance that you won’t just do a good job but will also add values to the team and build a stronger, fun, and dynamic workplace.

Below are the most common examples of soft skills to include in your resume:

1. Adaptability 

Adaptability is a person’s ability or qualities to adjust to new conditions. When thinking about your career aspirations, changes have a direct effect on how flexible you can be and how fast you can adapt in a new setting. This makes adaptability top of the soft skills employers look for in candidates. No matter how skillful you are or best at doing what you do – and what you’re being employed to do, if you find it hard to cope in a new environment within a short time, the deliverability of project assign to you might just be at risk.

2. Detail-oriented

When you are detail-oriented, you seek out, comprehend, and recall all of the minute details rather than settling for high-level, glossed-over answers or instructions. People that are detail-oriented focus on the specifics of issues, questions, and project undertakings.

Employers understand that they hire humans and not robots. Humans are bound to make mistakes and when they get tired, minor details can slip off their fold. The ability to learn from our mistakes makes us company-fit. Demonstrating your abilities to pay attention to details in your resume can give your employers something to consider.

3. Team Collaboration

A successful business is one where everyone contributes positively. The ability of individual employees to work together i.e brainstorm and collaborate on projects at different levels is one key quality employers look for when hiring candidates.

An effective team collaboration happens when a group of people focuses on and works toward a common goal either directly or cross-communicating between departments.

4. Communication

Another most sought after interpersonal skills by hiring managers is Communication skill. It is the ability to convey information and ideas effectively across team members.

5. Creativity

Creativity or inventiveness is the tendency to come up with smart ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, and communicating with others. Creativity is the base of problem solving. We live in a dynamic world where we face different challenges everyday and to solve it, one needs a creative idea. Creativity isn’t just about art, or  graphic design. Today, the majority of the roles employers are looking to fill require that you have the ability to think out of the box.

6. Customer service

Customer service skill is important in any organization whether you sell a physical product, digital products or services. A good customer service skill can help you secure a job as all companies either have customers they market to or have clients they serve.

7. Decision making

All of the skills required to make an informed, logical conclusion are decision-making skills. An employee with strong decision-making abilities can evaluate all the information, understand the company’s current situation and long-term objectives, and based on that, select the best course of action.

8. Empathy

Empathy is a people skill that builds solid relationships with other people in an organization. Humans have feelings and the need for all team members to watch their backs for themselves, put themselves in other’s shoes and relate to their feelings is crucial. Hiring managers want to hire humans who have feelings for others.

9. Leadership

You might be wondering why you need leadership skills in your resume. The simple answer is… whether you are a fresh graduate or experienced professional, employers know that someday you will be responsible for leading a group of people. This makes leadership a must-have skill in any candidate.

10. Multitasking

Not everybody can multitask. But if you have the qualities, hiring managers might just be interested to take a deeper look at other things in your resume. Because being able to multitask, means you can work on different projects simultaneously and meet up with deadlines

11. Problem-solving

Problem solving is an essential interpersonal skill in the workplace. It is the ability to identify problems, brainstorm and analyze answers, and implement the best solutions. Employers know that there will be situations whereby you would have to face a problem and provide solutions to it with or without other team members. So, problem-solving skills position candidates as an important employee capable of contributing to the growth of the company.

12. Time management

Failure to meet deadlines especially in a B2B business can greatly affect the bottom line. Time management has always been a driving force in organization and the quality of each employee to understand and manage their time well ensures that projects are completed on time and new projects initiated. Time management skills should be included in your resume and demonstrate it in your cover letter.

Top hard skills to put on resume

Hard skills are nothing but the technical skills you acquired through learning, which recruiters can identify in your degrees, certifications and by conducting skill assessments tests. The first evidence that you qualify for a job is the hard skills you possess and are usually considered first. For example, An accountant must know how to use Excel or Google Sheets very well. A software engineer must be versed in the programming languages (at least two) with tools such as Git, code editors, etc.

While soft skills are almost general and cut across different sectors, industry, field, department, professions, hard skills to include in your resume depends on your profession or position you are applying for. 

For instance, a software engineer needs time management skill, collaboration skill just as an accountant or a customer representative. But an accountant doesn’t need the knowledge of HTML neither is a software engineer required to have the skill of bookkeeping.

Below are a few technical skills to mention in your resume which are in demand based on the field.

  • Data analysis
  • Web development
  • Computer programming languages
  • Financial management
  • Bookkeeping
  • UX design
  • Graphic design
  • Content writing
  • Cooking
  • Marketing
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Cybersecurity
  • Copywriting
  • Web design
  • Cloud computing
  • Search engine optimisation
  • PR and advertising
  • Typing skills
  • Human resources
  • Multilingualism

How to Develop and Improve Your Technical Skills

You may be considering ways to upskill to advance your career now that you have a better understanding of the technical skills that are in demand across industries. 

If you have chosen your career path, planning your next steps can help you identify the abilities you need most and the best training options.

1. Identify your career path & goals.

Write down all the experiences you want to have in your career. Gaining clarity can help you reach your goals more quickly, even though the employment market can sometimes be unpredictable. Start with these examples of career objectives, then add your own specifics:

  • Improve your work efficiency at your present place of employment
  • Get promotion in your place of employment
  • Go after a profession in a new, more lucrative field.
  • Decide on a career that will allow you to live the way you want.

2. Identify relevant technical skills in your field of study

Once you have identified your career path and goals, the next thing is to determine which technical skills are required in your industry or sector that will assist you reach your goals.

Find actual job openings in the field you want to work in by searching career-building websites like TalentPlat, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Jobberman and pay close attention to the keywords use in the job description

3. Assess your current skills, qualities, and look for opportunities to improve

Review and assess your current skills and qualities, accurately judge yourself and use the result to improve. Assessing yourself gives you the ability to figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

4. Build new technical skills  

Let us use a common example here. Let’s say your career path is software engineering and you’re skilled in Javascript and PHP. Adding Python programming language to your skill set is a way of developing and improving as you advance in your career.

How to Highlight Your Resume Skill Section Effectively?

Skill section of your resume is important and must be listed in order of relevance. The most relevant technical skill must come first because they are the skills needed to accomplish tasks. It must be short and concise and matching to the job description.

Use these conventional resume recommended practises to have a well organized skill section:

Match skills to job requirements: 

By aligning your technical expertise and talents with the job requirements, you may customize your resume for each position you’re looking for.

Sort skills by relevance

Look through the job responsibilities in your previous job and try to find relevance with the current position you are applying to. 

For instance, if you have worked as a sales personnel in a mall before, a skill you can easily transfer to a customer services position is communication.

Don’t just list skills, let it reflect in your resume & cover letter

Just highlighting things you’re good at in the skill section of your resume is not enough to convince hiring managers that you really have those skills. From your certification section, experience section and education should be able to corroborate the skills you have listed in the skill section.

Show hiring managers your level of expertise in those skills

On a scale of 1 to 5 or a line trend, demonstrate how good you’re with the skills you have listed.

Resume example: How to create a resume skills section

Resume layout determines where the skill section will be. Some resumes put the skill section just above the experience section with a three-column, three row arrangement to accommodate for more skills. In some other layouts, the skill highlights go to the sidebar. Whichever the location or arrangement, what matters most is the relevance of the skills with the job description.

You only need maybe one or two words to briefly describe your contributions in a bulleted list; your employment history will have whole sentences.

Hiring managers who encounter your resume should be able to swiftly skim this bulleted list. 

The following are some examples of items that experts from various industries could list in this section:

1. Accounting jobs

In addition to crunching numbers, accountants are required to draw conclusions from the data and convey them to individuals outside of their department. You could mention the following skills:

  • Analytical and problem solving
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Enterprise resource planning software (ERP)
  • Business and leadership
  • Verbal and writing skills
  • Data analytics
  • Revenue recognition
  • Risk and compliance
  • Generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)

2. Customer service jobs

Customers resort to customer service teams to fix their problems when they have complaints or issues with a business. Various competencies are frequently needed while working with the public in these roles:

  • Data entry
  • Attentive listening, empathy
  • Troubleshooting and research
  • Patience
  • Speed and efficiency
  • Positive attitude
  • Diplomacy
  • Communication skills
  • Time management

3. Business analyst jobs

A business analyst is a skilled problem solver, data specialist, and finance professional. A business analyst’s resume might list the following skills:

  • Business acumen
  • Data mining
  • Client relations
  • Strategic thinking
  • Verbal and presentation skills
  • Project management
  • Collaboration
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving

4. Marketing jobs

Job applicants for marketing positions must demonstrate a blend of hard and soft skills that reflect the creative yet analytical character of the profession. A must have skills include:

  • Content creation
  • Market research
  • Web analytics
  • SEO and SEM
  • Critical thinking
  • Project management
  • Content management systems
  • Social media marketing
  • Creativity

5. Web developer jobs

Both technical and soft skills are necessary for web developers to work effectively with clients and internal stakeholders. You should carefully analyze the tech stack that the job offering mentions whether you’re applying for a front-end or back-end role. Then, you should adjust your CV to speak to the needs and working conditions of the firm. For example, a web developer’s resume might list the following hard and soft skills:

  • Coding languages
  • Troubleshooting and testing skills
  • Operating systems
  • Database software
  • UX and UI design
  • Project management
  • Web frameworks
  • API design
  • Teamwork

6. Graphic design jobs

The skills of both technical proficiency and creative flair are required of graphic designers. You could highlight the following hard and soft skills on your CV in addition to creating a digital portfolio that stands out:

  • Design principles, such as color theory and typography
  • Branding
  • Storytelling
  • Attention to detail
  • Collaboration
  • Project management
  • Commitment to deadlines
  • Time management
  • Verbal and presentation skills

Common Mistakes to Avoid While Writing Your Skills Section

All the relevant details regarding what you need to do to improve the effectiveness of your resume skill section have been covered above. 

Here are a few mistakes to avoid while writing your resume skills section:

1. Spelling Mistakes: Let’s face it, everyone understands how detrimental spelling errors are in resumes when it comes to job applications, but the unfortunate reality is that they happen far too frequently!

While spell check can fix the majority of frequent errors, it’s not very good at checking for Skill-wordings, so it’s crucial to double check your resume before you even start sending it out.

2. Using different fonts: Use the same font all through your resume including the skill section.

3. Using Slang: No matter how informal the role may be, steer clear of using slang or colloquialisms in your resume. You should try to refrain from using acronyms unless they are common standard industry terms because not all hiring managers will be familiar with all the acronyms of every position they fill.

4. Lying: There is no point lying on your resume. Instead you can indicate the level on a scale of 1 to 5. And if you know that you only have a basic knowledge of a particular skill, indicate 1 or 2 out of 5. You will be telling hiring managers lies if you indicate 4 or 5 out of 5.


How important is a resume?

Your resume serves the purpose of piquing the employer’s curiosity about you to the point that he requests an interview so he can learn more about you. A resume gives a summary of your professional background and career by clearly, succinctly, and understandably convey your ability. In interviews and at job fairs, your resume will be useful. It might also help with your request for a recommendation letter. Your application to graduate school should also include a resume.

Why do I need an objective on my resume?

Objective provides the potential employer with clear information about what you are seeking for right away. Making your resume stand out is not required but frequently advised. It immediately draws the reader’s interest, and the more explicit the better. Knowing your interests makes it simpler for them to determine where you would fit.

Oladoyin Falana

Oladoyin Falana, a graduate of OAU, is an SEO Specialist, and IT business developer. He is the owner and content editor of, a platform that focuses on providing information on career, recruitment updates, exams, and admission updates, including general (How-to) information.
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