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Published on May 7, 2020

10 Most Important Work Skills to List in a Resume

10 Most Important Work Skills to List in a Resume

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.

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 October 28, 2020

How to Set Long Term Goals and Achieve Success

How to Set Long Term Goals and Achieve Success

Have you ever wondered what you life is going to be like in 5 or 10 years? Will you be doing the same things you are today? Have you taken the time to envision the future through long term goals?

There are only three possibilities for your life in the future:

  1. It will be the same.
  2. It will be worse.
  3. It will be better.

There really is no other choice, so realizing this, which option will you choose?

If you choose option 3, then being able to set long term goals is the best way to ensure that you’ll get to where you want to go.

What Is a Long Term Goal?

A long term goal is what you are planning to achieve in the long-run or in the future.

Where do you want to be in five years[1]?

Everyone has a plan for their life. We all imagine what our future will look like, what we will be doing, how we will be living, and even who we will be living with.

While things rarely work out exactly as planned, it is nonetheless important to set long term goals and work toward them. Without long term goals, we are just wandering aimlessly through life.

The most successful people know the power of goal setting and how to break down larger goals that may take years to achieve into a series of smaller, short-term goals that will keep you focused and motivated.

How to Set (and Reach) Your Long Term Goals

Do you suffer from paralysis by analysis? It’s a common condition that happens when people are faced with a lot of options.

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When faced with too many options, they become obsessed with choosing the “right” one and never make a decision.

Likewise, when faced with a seemingly overwhelming task, they may never even start because they “just don’t know where to begin.”

Before we get started with some tips to help you, you can check out this video on setting goals for success:

By following these 7 easy steps, you can set and achieve almost any long term goal, no matter how big or small it is.

1. Make Goals, Not Wishes

Who hasn’t thought about winning the lottery or inheriting a lot of money from a rich relative? While there is nothing wrong with daydreaming about these things, they are not goals.

A goal should be something that you can work towards during a period of time, not something that falls into your lap through luck.

A goal is “I want to have a business that makes one million dollars a year within five years,” not “I want to win the mega millions within five years.”

2. Be Specific

Remember when you were young and a grown up would ask, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

No one ever said I want to work in the medical field or in government. You said I want to be a doctor, the President, or a policeman. These were specific goals that we had as kids, and while most of us didn’t end up astronauts or presidents, we still pictured ourselves in these very specific roles.

When you are setting long term goals for your life and career, it’s important to be as specific as possible. Get into detail about what you want, and think about it in very concrete terms.

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Instead of saying “In five years, I want to be rich,” think about what that really means to you and what it would look like. Having a more specific goal would be, “In five years I want to own a Ferrari, live in an upscale neighborhood, and be making enough money to take a two week vacation to Europe every year.”

Having specific goals makes measuring your progress more easily. You know you reached you goal to have a Ferrari if you look in the garage and see one. It’s much harder to gauge if you are “rich,” as rich is always a moving target.

3. Write Down Your Goals

A goal that’s not written down is just a wish. Please do not neglect this step!

As humans, we are prone to daydreaming and wishful thinking. We need to take concrete steps to realize our goals.

When you set long term goals, you need to write them down. This single act will take your goal out of the realm of the mind and into the physical (real) world[2].

Just by taking this step, your odds of achieving your goal go up tremendously.

4. Break Down Your Long Term Goal Into Smaller Goals

It can seem overwhelming to say, “In five years, I’ll have a business that makes one million dollars per year.”

How do you get from not having a business at all to having one that makes a million dollars per year? The answer is the same way you’d eat an elephantone bite at a time.

Once you have decided on your long term goals, you’ll then need to break them down into a series of short term goals.

In our business example, you’ll first need to do some research on a business you can start in your spare time. There are a lot of options out there that don’t necessarily take a lot of time or money to get started.

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Then, you’ll want to get competent in the business by taking training courses and networking with others who are already successful in the business.

Once you have a good foundation, it’s time to get started. Launching the business will be the scariest and most rewarding day of your life, but you’re still not close to making a million dollars per year, so break it down some more.

Your first-year goal may be to earn $50,000. Your second year, you’ll want to earn $150,000. From there, you’ll basically need it to double each year in order to reach one million dollars in five years. 

Each of those years can be broken down into smaller goals until you realize you need to make $149 per day. You can break it down even further to say you need three sales per day to make the $149.

At first, you may have no sales, but by experimenting with various marketing strategies that you learned earlier, the sales will start coming in. Then, it’s just a matter of fine tuning your marketing efforts and building on your successes.

5. Remember Your Long Term Goals

You have set your long term goals and even written them down.

Now, don’t just put them in a drawer. We need to have a constant reminder of why we are doing this. Your long term goals should be displayed somewhere prominent (for you). You don’t need to hang them over the fireplace, but they should be placed where you can see them every day.

Things go wrong, and issues and problems arise that no one can see. It’s during these times that remembering your long term goals is important.

6. Reevaluate and Adjust

You should always be looking for ways to improve what you are doing, but it’s especially important in this new internet age. We don’t have to look very far to see how quickly things can change. You must be willing to change course or be left behind.

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Setting long term goals

    Getting back to your growing business, the marketing that got you to $600,000 per year might not be the marketing that gets you to your long term goal of one million dollars per year.

    Always keep your goal in mind, but always be willing to adjust course to get to it.

    7. Don’t Give up

    Realize and understand that the road to success is never straight. You will inevitably come up against obstacles and barriers to your goals. This is not the time to quit.

    In fact, coping with the obstacle or finding a way around the barrier leads to more success than anticipated. Always remember, the only sure way to fail is to quit.

    You can learn more on how to overcome challenges you may face in this article.

    Final Thoughts

    Fear of failure

    is the number one reason most people will never become as successful as they could be. Change is a scary thing, and it’s not easy for people to get out of their comfort zone. Most people won’t unless they have to or they perceive that the reward is worth the risk.

    By setting long term goals and then breaking them down into smaller goals that are easily achievable, you have created your own personalized road map to success.

    And while that long term goal of making a million dollars a year seems insurmountable, the short term goal of making $149 is easily doable.

    While the road to achieving your goals is never a straight line, and there will always be detours and bumps in the road, embrace these things, as they are all part of the journey.

    More Tips on Setting and Achieving Goals

    Featured photo credit: Bench Accounting via unsplash.com

    Reference

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