Skills. We all got em’. But how we share and present them is a whole nother’ story. What’s important when sharing our skills on our resume is to focus on items that sound different than the standard skills hiring managers see.

For example, if you list “Communication” as one of your key skills, here will no doubt be eye rolls and managers who don’t take this seriously. The thought of, “I hope you can communicate, if not we can’t hire you at all.” This skill doesn’t ring as true as it likely should.

If you’re applying for a sales job, including communication is far too broad and doesn’t deliver the necessary message you’re trying to send. For that, you need to think past the broad, all-encompassing terms and strive for more specific ideas here.

Resume Skills to include on your resume summary plan:

  • Do’s and Don’ts
  • List of Keywords
  • Formatting Tips
  • Why Listing Skills on Your Resume Doesn’t Matter

These may seem obvious, but I want to be sure everyone knows the proper etiquette and manner to include these skills on their resume beforehand. It’s necessary to double check yours for these.

dos and donts for skills to put on your resume

First, go through the list and see if there is anything on this list you need to change. Second, go through the do’s section and find all of the resume skills that you need to edit, whether in verbiage or format. Remember, skills and the skills section of your resume is subjective. Hiring managers may read this but to the degree they consider it truth will depend solely on your ability to sell this skill.


Be humble

No one likes a showoff. If you claim you’re an expert, you damn well better be. If you aren’t, that’s fine, just don’t say you are an expert. Keep a level head, and use humble but forceful language in asserting your skills. Don’t undersell, but demonstrate confidence through your ability to establish credibility through humility.

Example: Expert Sales Knowledge

Better: Influential Selling Technique

Better: Impactful Sales Results

Be specific

This issue can’t be harped on enough. Keep your skills specific. If you list communication on your list of skills, I will lose my mind. Not seriously, but keep your skills to the EAXCT point and not the gist of what you’re trying to say.

Example: Communication

Better: Consultative Approach

Better: Negotiation Closing Leader

Be clear

Ever ask someone what they do for a living and they make it sound so damn fancy by the end, you’re sorry you asked? That’s how skills can be. If your audience reads them and changes their mind whether they’re going to try and interpret what you meant half way through, it’s probably written poorly.

Example: Coengineering Symbiotic Partnerships

Better: Client / Partner Success Ownership


Take up too much space

Your skills are important, sure. Not worth the upper 1/3 real estate of your first resume page. If they occupy this space with fancy line breaks and bullet points, your resume template is failing you. It’s creating an unnecessary number of pages and causing the reader to search through your resume more than they should. Keep these toward the bottom or if at the top, in a portion no more than 1/10 of the upper 1/3 of your resume. That’s not to exceed .03 of the total space of your resume within the margins.

List too many skills

We get it, you’re great. Just don’t clutter your message of greatness with too many skills listed. The purpose of the resume is to get them to talk to you, not to tell your whole life story. Ten skills is probably too many, but depending on your field, it may be totally appropriate. For example, in software engineering, it isn’t uncommon to list all of your langues, OS, langues, and more in a skills section. That is more specific to a technical skills section and not general like we’re referring to here.

What skills to list on your resume: hard vs soft skills

What skills to list on your resume: Hard vs Soft Skills

Hard Skills

These are going to be things that are learned skills, similar to something you’ve done specifically in your role. For example, if you type all day, and you’re able to crank out 80 words per minute, then 80 WPM is a hard skill. It’s something learned.

That said, if your role includes ANYTHING more impressive than typing, this should not be listed. In fact, unless a crucial element of the job is typing where speed plays a relevant factor, I would leave out WPM all together.

Read a list of 15 standard hard skills to include in your resume:

  1. Java Development
  2. GE Appliance Repair
  3. Graphic Design
  4. Excel and Microsoft Word
  5. Accounting
  6. Event Planning
  7. Wood Lathe Operating
  8. Digital Marketing
  9. Financial Analysis
  10. Accounting Software
  11. Tech support
  12. CRM Expert
  13. Video editing
  14. CPA
  15. Dog Walker Certification

Soft Skills

You may have understood skills to include on your resume as just a long list of different synonyms for team player. That’s not what this is about.

Soft Skills are those in line with traits and social skills that are not as binary in their learning. That said, all or nearly all of these could be learned by anyone. Someone already possessing them, however, is subjective and an asset to a company looking for someone with these skills.

Here’s an example of 7 soft skills to include on your resume:

  1. Ultimate Team Player
  2. Dog-like obedience to authority
  3. Ok, both of those are from the office, so I’ll start listing for reals now.
  4. Leadership
  5. EQ
  6. Effective Communication
  7. Trust Builder
  8. Ambitious
  9. Self Starter
  10. Entrepreneurial mindset

Skills to List on Your Resume – Format Guide

Don’t follow guides like this that offer plug and play Microsoft Word templates and claim to be experts in resume development. This resume format looks terrible. And it’s touted as the how you should format your resume for those who are looking.

Resume template for skills to include on your resume

Image Credit:

It’s really about structure to a resume. If you’re familiar with “above the fold” in newspapers, it’s about putting what is most important and what you want readers to see above the fold. Resumes aren’t any different. The reader is likely looking at your resume on a computer screen, zoomed in, and only seeing the upper 3/5’s if your lucky.

Here’s why you don’t format your resume like this.


List your skills in a small section of your resume. They aren’t likely to be taken that seriously and as such should not take up that much space on your resume. You’ll want to forget about SEO in your resume and save that for your bulleted sections under each job. You can optimize that text for keywords and not plug your skills section.

Listing Skills on Your Resume May Not Make a Difference.

Resume read 6 seconds on average
90 PERCENT OF hiring managers won't hire
94 of managers rehire former employees

Categories: Resume Help