120+ Desirable Skills to Place on Any Resume (+ Examples, Skills List) [2020]

skills list for the resume

Placing soft skills and hard skills into a skills section is a great technique for entry-level resume builders and job candidates who want to fill out a resume. Emphasizing a key skill, specific skill, or set of skills throughout a resume can be a great way to show a potential employer that the job application is fitting to the job description and needs of the role.

As a job candidate, there are a few places where skills can be referred to. The most useful place to refer to a skill set is in the work experience section of a resume. When listing accomplishments on a resume, you naturally describe a relevant skill to the job title.

chronological or hybrid resume skills example

The second place to put skills is in the resume objective (or sometimes referred to as a professional summary, resume summary, or career objective). It’s best to place a list of career accomplishments in this section rather than listing the qualities of the desired work environment or job function. When listing relevant career accomplishments, skills naturally get displayed to the hiring manager or prospective employer reading the resume.

As a job seeker, it’s best to reference skills in all these places: a cover letter, “skills” resume section”, career objective, and previous work experience. The way to reference the skill is to explain how the skill was part of creating a career accomplishment. For example, “Reduced 38% of the overhead in the sales team utilizing Salesforce” indicates technical skills, automation skills, and more.

To determine the “right skills” to mention on a resume or cover letter, refer to the job description or perform an informational interview with a professional who is already employed at the desired company. An informational interview is an opportunity for a job seeker to ask career advice questions to an employee. This can be a helpful platform for a job candidate to learn about the desired skills within the organization and for the particular role.

Professional skills can be incorporated into any resume format. In a functional resume, for example, there may be a specific resume skills section that lists professional skills when the candidate has very little prior work experience. In a reverse chronological resume or hybrid resume, resume skills will be integrated into the previous professional experience and resume summary.

A job candidate should avoid mentioning personal skills, like the ability to “play the piano”. These are hobbies and interests, which are less important on the resume. When a hiring manager or recruiter reads a resume, it’s easier for the reader to feel confident about the job applicant's skills when they read accomplishments. This puts a job skill “in motion” rather than trying to convince the reader of its truth by listing the resume skill directly.

Tip: As a job seeker, if performing an informational interview isn’t a possibility, scanning the company social media accounts and the company website or an "about us page" can provide helpful insight into what the company values in terms of its work environment. For example, when a company refers to innovation and technology advancement, collaboration and teamwork is going to be a general skill the hiring manager looks for and can increase the odds of landing a first job interview.

Resume Skills Example

Below is an example of referring to skills in three parts of a resume. In the career objective, resume skills section, and in previous professional experience. For a full resume example, refer to resume examples.

Career Objective Example

In a career objective, it’s best to refer to a career accomplishment. Like the following:

  • Reduced 38% of the overhead in the sales team utilizing Salesforce.

Resume Skills Section Example

In a resume skills section, it’s best to simply list the resume skill bullet by bullet point:

  • Oversight Skills
  • Reporting Skills
  • Strategic Business Management Skills

Job seekers have the option of listing their proficiency level along with these skills. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced. To include proficiency level, simply add the level next to the skill. For example, "Oversight Skills: Intermediate"

Previous Work Experience Example

When listing a skill in previous professional history, it’s best to state career accomplishments, similar to the career objective. But specific to the job title.

  • Reduced 38% of the overhead in the sales team utilizing Salesforce.

When a job seeker has additional skills to mention, it’s advised they save those skills for the job interview and refer to them in that setting. It can be a great step to start preparing for a job interview.

Top Skills for 2020

Below are the most desired top skills employers value in 2020. Include these in a resume to stand out from other job applicants.

General Skills for the Resume

Below is a list of transferable skills for any resume.

Technical Skills

Soft Skills for Nurses, Teachers, Lawyers

Here would be some examples for a teacher:

Soft Skills for Cashiers

Soft Skills for HR Professionals

Other Skills Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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