Attract Recruiters with The Right Skills on Your Resume

Resume Skills That Land InterviewsSitting down to write a resume is an intimidating experience. You need to decide on a format, a branding statement, how to list your work experience, and of course, how to highlight your skills.

It is the latter, highlighting your skills the right way, that seems to give job seekers the most trouble. In fact, many job seekers spend way too much time listing cliche “skills” like “detail-oriented” and “hard worker” – and not enough time listing the skills that greatly enhance the chances of landing an interview.

Research Comes First

Many larger companies now use applicant tracking systems which scan for the right keywords. If your resume doesn’t have the right keywords, the resume will most likely never be seen by human eyes. Researching – and including the right skills on your resume – remedys this situation.

Every profession has it’s own key skills. If you’re in banking, skills like asset based lending, asset management, and branch operations should probably find their way onto your resume. If you are in hospitality the terms amenities, back-of-the-house operations, and catering operations are common. How about IT? Then you should use application development, benchmarking, and capacity planning.

Matching your skills to the position is not just a good way to land an interview, it is also a way to increase your chances of job satisfaction. In Laurence Shatkin’s 150 Best Jobs for Your Skills he makes the connection between being good at your job and being happy in it.

Your satisfaction in the job will depend on how well your skills match the job. How happy can you be on the job if you are constantly overwhelmed by your duties? How happy can you be in the job is so lacking in challenge that you are bored most of the time?

However, industry specific skills are not the only type you should include. Chances are your next job will not be precisely like your last, so you need skills that will move from job to job with you. The focus should be on those skills that are transferable to multiple jobs making you viable to a variety of employers.

In Joyce Kennedy’s Job Interviews for Dummies she describes these as competencies.

Work-based competencies describe job-specific characteristics, skills, and abilities, such as fluency in the English language, or the ability to read topographical maps.

Behavior-based competencies describe all the other personal stuff you need, in addition to technical skills to do the job well.

List Your Skills the Right Way by Reinforcing Them

Including transferable skills, or competencies, on your resume allows you to highlight those abilities that have worked for you in the past and contribute to a company or firm’s success in the future. However, you can’t just list these skills verbatim in a summary section and hope hiring managers believe you. Once you claim a skill you need your resume to reinforce it.

Let’s say you list excellent communication skills in your resume summary. Then, in your work history you mention how you helped draft the company training manual for new employees. This pairing creates a powerful image to a potential employer. For each skill you list, do your best to provide evidence later on in your resume to reinforce the claim. This is part of the overall branding process that is vitally important in a tight job market.

No More “Detail Oriented”

How many cliches are on your resume now? Remove them! They aren’t helping you – because everyone uses them. “Hard worker”, “team player” and “effective leader” are not helping you win interviews.

Instead, list skills that will make you stand out from all those still using those cliches. The exact skills you want to list on your resume will vary depending on the brand you are trying to create and your research, of course, but there are some general keywords that easily transfer to just about any position. Here is a list to help get you started:

  • Accelerated career track
  • Best in class
  • Business process redesign
  • Capturing cost reductions
  • Catalyst for change
  • Change agent
  • Competitive market positioning
  • Core competencies
  • Cross-functional team leadership
  • Deliver strong and sustainable gains
  • Distinguished performance
  • Driving customer loyalty initiatives
  • Driving performance improvement
  • Emerging business ventures
  • Entrepreneurial drive / vision
  • Market dominance
  • High impact / performance / quality
  • Organizational driver
  • Outperforming market competition
  • Peak performer
  • Top flight leadership competencies
  • Visionary leadership

Listing the right skills on your resume, the right way, means the difference between getting an interview, and not. Take your time. Absorb the pain of writing yet another version of your resume. And get ahead of every other applicant!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Quality Resumes!


Quality Resumes


Steve BradyAbout the Author: Steve P. Brady is an executive resume writer and personal branding professional whose weekly work can be read at Quality Resumes. Follow Steven on Twitter.


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