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10 Most Important Work Skills to List in a Resume

10 Most Important Work Skills to List in a Resume
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Putting together a strong resume that stands out from the pack and lands you an interview can feel a bit like solving a jigsaw puzzle, especially when it comes to the skills section. In this day and age, when a computer algorithm is perhaps more likely to comb through your resume before it ever lands in front of human eyes, how does a person know what work skills are must-haves[1]?

The skills that will help push your resume to the top of the pack fall into two distinct categories:

  • Hard skills
  • Soft skills

Employers are going to want job-seekers who have the right mix of both, so highlighting a healthy balance of each is essential.

Hard Vs. Soft Skills

Before we jump into the specific work skills, let’s clarify the difference between hard and soft skills[2]. Hard skills are those technical skills that you’ve gained through educational courses, internships, and previous jobs. Software programming, Photoshop, campaign management, foreign languages, and dental surgery are all examples of hard skills.

These are skills that can be clearly defined and will vary greatly depending on your particular career field.

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Soft skills, on the other hand, are going to be those skills that are more universal and would be just as useful for a CEO to have as they would for a social worker. Things like critical-thinking, adaptability, organization, and other skills that involve interacting with people are going to be soft skills. While your hard skills might help get you in the door, your soft skills will play a major factor in your promotability.

5 Soft Skills to List on Your Resume

Here are five soft skills that are always going to be in demand.

Problem-Solving

No matter what job field you work in or how high you climb on the career ladder, you’re going to run into problems along the way — and probably quite often. Employers want employees who don’t get deterred by problems, but who meet them head-on and work to find a solution. The better you are at problem-solving, the more capable you’ll be in each job.

Organization

You’re never going to run into an employer who says that they prefer employees who are unorganized. Yes, some jobs allow for a little more disorganization than others, but being organized goes a long way towards being efficient and effective in your work. This is one work skill where it’s going to become apparent pretty quickly to your employer if you possess it, so if you list it, demonstrate it.

Active Listening

Active listening is simply giving your full attention to the person talking to you. Here’s a secret: Employers love active listeners. It means better communication, fewer mistakes, and improved productivity all around. No matter what career field you’re in, being an engaged active listener is always an asset. Being a good active listener can take some effort, but it’s worth improving upon.

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Teamwork

Ah, teamwork…this soft skill probably doesn’t get the respect it deserves because “team player” is such a common resume work skill. Back up this skill with real examples in your work, however, and it will shine. People who really do have a good teamwork ethic move up more quickly in organizations and become the ones who other employees look to for guidance and leadership.

Adaptability

Ask any biologist and they’ll tell you that a species that fails to adapt is doomed to extinction. You’re very likely going to have managerial changes at some point in your job, and they may want to do things differently than the last one. How you handle adapting to those changes will determine your future in that position.

5 Hard Skills to List on Your Resume

As far as hard skills that will stand out to an employer, that’s a bit more complicated since there are literally thousands of different jobs out there. That said, having one or more hard skills that fit into these categories will apply in a wide range of occupations.

Communication

Yes, good “communication” is often one of those work skills that lands in the soft skills category, but so many hard skills fall under this umbrella. Copywriting, graphic design, technical writing, digital storytelling, and foreign language skills all fall into this category.

Are you the person who can write a press release for your company’s new product or come up with a brilliant logo? These are all various forms of communicating a message to the customer and will be of value across many industries.

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Sales and Marketing

Even if “salesperson” isn’t in your job title, this category covers a pretty wide range of hard skills. Data analytics, SEO, and social media management, are just some of the hard skills that are related to sales and marketing.

So how could somebody applying for a job at a dog grooming salon or real estate company, for example, benefit from knowing some SEO or social media? Well, that dog grooming salon will have a constant need to acquire customers. In real estate, being able to market and sell homes quickly to potential clients will make yourself a more valuable agent.

Project Management

A lot of jobs require different project management work skills, such as scheduling, risk management, budgeting, and negotiation. The higher you climb in your career, the more likely you’re going to be tasked with project management as you take on more responsibilities. Knowing how to plan out and see a project through from start to completion using the various technologies in your industry is a vital hard skill to have.

Technology

The list of occupations out there that don’t involve some sort of computer technology seems to be getting smaller by the day. This is obviously a pretty broad category and could include everything from Excel to Photoshop, Slack, and programming languages such as Python and Java.

Depending on your chosen occupation, you may want to list several technology hard skills by breaking them up into various technical fields.

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Industry-Specific

These are going to be work skills that very likely may fit into some of the categories above, but are directly specific to your industry. Something like an accounting software program such as QuickBooks or knowledge of a specific skill in the healthcare or legal fields, for example, would fall into this category of hard skills.

How to Get an Employer’s Attention

Before you pull up your resume for a complete rewrite, there are a few things to address before padding it up with all these new skills that you’ve suddenly acquired. Your resume only has about five seconds to capture an employer’s attention[3] before they hit the “delete” button, so it’s important that you leave skills off that you really may not be all that skilled at.

Some “skills” may not be applicable skills at all.

Remember that mention of “foreign language skills” in the communication category above? Yeah, if you haven’t spoken a word of French since high school, don’t list it. The last thing you want is the embarrassment of a hiring manager who is fluent striking some small talk and you’re left looking like a deer in the headlights.

Listing off social media skills should also be taken into careful consideration. If you’re applying for any type of marketing job and really do know the ins and outs of Instagram, then, by all means, list it. If the job you’re applying for isn’t in the marketing, advertising, or social media fields, then it may be better to leave social media platforms off if you haven’t directly used them in a professional capacity before.

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Final Thoughts

With both hard and soft work skills, the best approach is to identify which ones are your strongest successes and most relevant to the position you’re applying for. Remember, the skills section of your resume should align with the job description and your previous work experience. If you start there, you can’t go wrong.

More Tips on Work Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

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Last Updated on June 1, 2021

10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner

10 Effective Ways To Make You a Fast Learner
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The importance of learning cannot be underestimated. Learning empowers us to fulfill our ideas and realize our full potential. The speed of gaining new knowledge is practically as important as its volume. Who wouldn’t love to remember tons of information as quickly as possible?

If you want to start learning faster, you need a new approach towards the process which would enable you to comprehend the essence of the matter and relate it with new concepts you encounter.

The following 10 tips will help you become a fast learner:

1. Analyze Your Learning Style

Before you can start experimenting with different studying methods, you need to understand what type of learner you are:

Is your memory associated to sound?

Maybe you can remember what you were reading when a particular song was playing? If this is your case, then you fall into the category of auditory learners.

If you want to start studying more efficiently, then it would be wise to record the lectures and listen to them instead of reading textbooks.

Do you relate information to visual content?

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If you are a visual learner, you should implement images, graphs, charts, infographics, colorful lists, flashcards, and other types of visual content when you study.

Are you a physical learner?

If your learning style is not auditory or visual, then you might be a physical learner. Some students have too much energy; they tap their feet or play with a pen during lectures.

A walk before a lecture will calm your nerves down. You can try studying or listening to audio lectures during a walk. That will help you remember the information more quickly.

2. Use the Right EdTech Tools

Technology has the power of making everything easier. There are plenty of websites, online tools, and smartphone/tablet apps that will boost your skills of planning, writing, time management and brainstorming, etc.

One way of improving your productivity is using flashcards. You can make your own cards, but you can also download pre-made kits online:

  • StudyBlue is one of the best online destinations when it comes to creating and discovering flashcards from all areas of study.
  • If you are looking for a tool that makes the process of brainstorming more effective, then you should try PapersGear.
  • You also need the SelfControl app, which will eliminate all distractions when you need to stay focused.
  • Quizlet is another website you should bookmark; it offers study tools that will transform the learning process into a fun activity.
  • Notella is an app that will help you take quick notes at any time.
  • Brainscape is an educational platform that makes complex subjects easy by relying on cognitive science.
  • You can also try Dragon Dictation, especially if you are an audio learner.

3. Train Your Brain to Accept New Information

Efficient studying is a habit. Your brain needs constant training if you want to improve your focus and complete complex tasks without taking breaks.

One way to achieve this goal is to create a private learning space in your home. You’ll also need a specific time of day that you’ll devote to studying. That will make your brain ready to accept the information it gets, so you’ll notice you’re starting to learn much faster by the day.

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4. Get Some Exercise

You are aware of the fact that physical activity is good for your body, but your brain needs it too!

Light exercise, such as yoga, can help you learn much faster. If you are inactive throughout the day, your body will want to move, so it will be difficult for you to stay focused.

If, on the other hand, you canalize your energy through light training sessions, you will be ready to study productively.

5. Work on the Ambiance

If you have a noisy neighborhood or a working environment full of distractions, you won’t be able to learn or study no matter how hard you try.

If you want to learn quickly, you need a quiet, distraction-free environment that won’t disturb the mind in any way. Such a peaceful place will set you in learning mode as soon as you find yourself in it.

6. Take a Lot of Notes

Only few people are capable of remembering information as they read it. If you don’t belong to this category of privileged learners, then you absolutely need to start taking notes.

This simple learning method will force you to think about the essence of the material. It will also give you a nice framework that will help you review the things you’ve learned.

Write down only the most important information. That will help you remember all the other things you’ve learned.

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Here’re some tips to take notes effectively: Why Successful People Take Notes And How to Make It Your Habit

7. Make Mind Maps

Mind maps are among the best tools to speed up the learning process. Your mind will process information effectively if you create a visual representation of the things you’re about to learn.

You can create a nice mind map in the old-school way: take a large sheet of paper and organize all facts and explanations. Use pictures, note-cards, and other symbols you can think of. Group similar items together and connect them with colorful pens.

Some tips mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

Of course, you can also use an online mind mapping tool if you want to save yourself some time.

8. Experiment with Memorization Methods

Memorizing is often misused in the process of studying. Some people memorize whole sentences, paragraphs and lectures without grasping their essence.

However, memorization can be useful when you need to learn definitions and classifications really quickly. Don’t avoid this technique if you want to fill your brain with information without wasting any time.

Try this if you want to memorize more and faster: How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People

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9. Find the Right Context

Memorization works solely in times of urgency. If you want to learn in the most effective manner, then you need to have context for information.

Find an aspect that’s interesting for you; try to research for related information, and you’ll discover the joy of learning.

The first step? Jot down as much information and as many ideas as possible: How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter

With time, this practice will make you a faster learner.

10. Study Every Day

It will take some time before you get used to a daily studying routine, but your mind will eventually grasp the habit.

The more frequently you study, the less time it will take for you to remember the things you read.

If you start studying as soon as possible after you have learned some new concepts, it won’t take long at all for you to get ready for an exam. Now that sounds really good, doesn’t it?

More to Help You Learn Quicker

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

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