There are lots of misconceptions when it comes to resume writing. The whole process is especially troublesome for young job seekers which is why services such as professional resume writing have become so popular as of late.
One section of the resume that causes problems to most people skills section. Most people don’t truly understand what type of skills they should mention or how do they affect the recruitment process. Job seekers often tend to go overboard mentioning proficiencies that have nothing to do with a job nor can they help them during their daily activities.
Basically, skills represent all of your talents that can help you with the job. They can be placed in several categories. The most notable skillsets are soft skills, hard skills, domain-specific skills as well as general skills.
What differentiates a good resume from a bad resume?
Unless you’re living in a really large city, you have to consider the fact that the same people are applying for the same jobs. That being said, don’t be surprised if your colleagues from school are now your stiffest competition. Most of them will have similar resumes as you as they have received education from the same institution. If you’re a fresh graduate, this means that there won’t be much difference in terms of work experience and instead, things such as achievements and skills will be the major difference between you and the other candidates.
While you might not be able to make a competitive advantage with your education, you can always profit off of your skills and competencies. This is true both for fresh graduates and experienced professionals. Skills section can also give an insight to your persona which might provide an advantage in certain cases. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to place emphasis on skills that are likely to be appreciated by the employer while avoiding those that do not help.
Oftentimes, in an attempt to look as good as possible, candidates will refer to various skills in their resume. Unfortunately, this only leads to information overload. If there are too many candidates applying for a position, this might even be detrimental for your success as a recruiter may simply skip your CV. It’s your duty to focus on a small number of skills that will pop out in a document.
In terms of placement, skill position will vary from a resume to resume. This also depends on where you’re living; common resume templates tend to vary significantly from a country to a country. Nowadays, customized templates are also acceptable as long as they have a nice, readable layout. Skill section is usually placed on the bottom of a resume. You always have to position work experience at the top and follow it up with education. If you’re a fresh graduate and don’t have significant work experience, you might start with the education section. Skills can also be placed on the sides as well as within your cover letter.
What do you have to know about hard and soft skill?
Perhaps the most common way of categorizing work-related abilities is by placing them in hard and soft skills.
Hard skills are talents and competencies that are hard to learn. In most cases, this refers to technical skills or other abilities that take years to master and are directly connected to the position you’re applying for. Keep in mind that hard skills are also the most important skills needed to perform a task. For example, if you’re applying for a construction job, the hard skill would be laying bricks. What is perceived as a hard skill will vary from a job to a job? Nevertheless, they are the first and most important abilities that a person poses.
Soft skills are much less relevant to recruiters but can tell a lot about your persona. They are otherwise known as social skills and they can help recruiters understand how you are behaving within a work environment. In most cases, soft skills are harder to quantify and show; in certain cases, it might take months and even several years until you can prove that you possess a particular ability. Leadership is a good example of that. People tend to exaggerate when it comes to soft skills. However, we recommend against. Some of the most common soft skills are: good time management, being goal-oriented, quick learning, ability to meet deadlines and so on.
In most cases, recruiters will give a priority to hard skills. But, if two candidates have similar technical skillsets, soft skills may prove to be a difference maker. In certain cases, soft skills can be more important than hard skills. This is especially true for young talents and people who don’t have enough work experience. When mentioning soft skills, make sure to place emphasis on abilities that will benefit a particular company.
How to present skills within a resume?
As already mentioned, it is very important to present skill in the right way. First, you have to make a decision what you will put and what you have to omit.
Here are the tips that will help you along the way. Read on!
- Previous experience may be a hindrance
If you have worked in a particular industry for a while, you are probably proud of that fact. But the skills that you’ve acquired over time don’t have to be valuable to your future employer. In some cases, it might even be a hindrance. For example, if you have worked for a while in a profession where time management and efficiency is most important, you might have issues transferring to a job where precision and discipline are dominant traits. Your future doesn’t want you to be too quick but instead prefers a good, clean service. With that in mind, make sure to put emphasis on abilities that may assist your future employer.
- Minor skills may become major
Something that was previously an irrelevant skill may become very important for your future position. Furthermore, there is a chance that some of your soft skills become more important than hard skills. The best way of judging is by talking with other professionals who have worked in this particular industry. Keep in mind that most companies are posting the required skills for a job. That way, you can easily see whether or not this position is right for you even before you apply. Inform yourself about the job and requirements. As you acquire more information, it will be easier to judge what is expected of you. Also, try thinking outside of the box; rarely used abilities or forgotten skills may prove to be crucial for getting this new job.
- Understanding key skills
Candidate has to be able to differentiate skills. Besides hard and soft skills, there is another categorization. We can also categorize abilities as transferable skills (skills that can be applied from one job to another), job-related skills (necessary skills allowing you to perform a job or a task), and adaptive skills (skills that can be used in bigger or smaller degree depending on a position). Among these categories, job-related skills are the most important ones. Without them, you cannot even apply for a position. As the name implies, transferable skills can be transferred from one job to another. However, that doesn’t mean they will be as important as job-related skills. Lastly, the importance of adaptive skills will vary from job to job and company’s specific needs.
- Study other professionals
Today, it is really easy to get a better understanding of a profession or a position if you check other experts on LinkedIn. Serious professionals will list their major skills on their profile page. All you have to do is read them, compare them and draw conclusions as to which skills will help you the most to perform a task.
- Don’t add skills that you don’t have
This is an obvious one but still, there are a lot of candidates that make this mistake. If you don’t have certain hard skills, there is no point in listing them within a resume. Sooner than later you will be figured out which might lead to termination of the contract. Not only will you lose time by doing this but you won’t be able to mention this work experience going forward as no one from the company will vouch for you.
- Universal skills can make a difference
While universal skills such as “team player” or “good time management” might not seem important, they can make a difference when applying for a job. Keep in mind that most candidates will have similar hard skills so you will have to make a difference by citing your soft skills. But which soft skills should you put? First, make sure to visit the company’s “About us” page and learn more about their mission and vision. This will provide a better insight into the organization and based on that, you can approximately tell what kind of a person they need. Also, you should put emphasis on skills that are easy to prove. For example, being “honest” is something that you can show during the initial interview. “Hardworking” is a skill that you can show during the initial months of employment.
- Use track record to your advantage
Like any other information, some skills can be showcased through numbers and data. If you have a proven track record, make sure to mention it. Employers are interested in your conversion rates and the ability to perform well on the job. Data is the best way to create goodwill and start your relationship the right way.
Despite popular opinion, employers take note of skills, cover letters and hobbies. These small pieces of information can provide a better insight into your persona, education, and beliefs. Without even talking to each other, an employer can learn a lot about a candidate and make the best decision for the company.
Pay attention to skills section as it can help you land an awesome job!