When you are applying for a job position, you can be sure that others will have applied too. So imagine the hiring manager, sitting at their desk sifting through tens – if not hundreds – of resumes. Its not hard to understand why on average, the hiring manager only spends a few seconds looking at each resume. Therefore, it is very important to try and make yours stand out from the rest. You want to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd. So when you are writing your resume, this is key to remember to make sure you include the most important skills you have. It is often advised that your resume should be limited to one page, at most two, and in fact some companies can actually limit how long the resume is. Because of this, you don’t want to waste any space with skills that could easily be replaced with another skill that sets you apart.
To begin with, you want to make a list of all the skills you have, particularly ones listed in the job description for the job you are applying for. For example, you could include, hard skills such as computer programming, or soft skills such as problem solving.
To help you decide what skills you should list on your resume, I have collected some of the most valued and important skills that companies tend to look for in their candidates.
• Team work
A lot of jobs will require you to work as part of a team and with co-workers. Therefore, employers look for people for have the ability to fit in and work well with the existing team members. If the company feels that you may not be able to discuss ideas with the team with an open mind and only pay attention to your own interests, this may ruin your chances of getting the job.
• Problem solving
This is a very attractive skill for many employers. In all kinds of business, things do not always go to plan. This is just a fact of life. Therefore, the hiring manager will be looking for someone who is a problem solver. They want someone who will handle any potential problems that could arise whilst you are working for them, rather than someone who will shy away and wait for someone else to take charge.
• Being decisive
Being able to make decisions – provided they are in the interests of the company and not just your own – is an attractive trait for employers. This may be particularly important if you are applying for a managerial or supervisory role as you will not only need to make decisions for yourself but also so the team you are in charge of.
• Being proactive in planning your work
You can help remember this skill by remembering ‘POP’ – plan, organise and prioritise. If you can apply this to your work you will become an asset to the company as this makes the efficient and successful employee. Applying POP to your work can help you keep to deadlines. Of course, when you are writing your resume don’t want POP on there – I just made that up and the person reading won’t know what you are talking about. However, this skill is valued and therefore should be included in your resume, just in the right way.
• Being able to process information
This skill really speaks to an employer. If you have it, they have reason to believe that if you were hired, you would be able to grasp new information quickly and therefore be able to perform the job to a high standard without more training and guidance than they really want to provide. Because of this, the ability to obtain information and process it, is definitely worthy of a spot on your resume.
Communication is an underestimated but highly valued skill. Why is it underestimated? Because everyone can communicate in some way or another, so how does that set you apart from the competition? However, communication or lack there of, can be the bell all or end all of a company. This is very important to have good communication to run a successful business, so although it may sound obvious, it needs to be on your resume.
So, there are some of the most valuable skills employers look for in potential candidates. If you can tailor your resume skills to the job you are applying for, this will be beneficial because you can ensure you include the skills they consider most important. A word of advice though, do not lie. You may feel that you lack the skills the employer is looking for, but if you lie and say you have certain skills for example, systems analysis, when you get to the job interview, you are likely to be asked about this. You may still have got the job interview if you hadn’t lied on your resume, but now you are stuck. Speaking of the job interview, whilst you are thinking about your skills it is a good idea to think about some examples you can give showing how you use these skills. These could be included in some areas of your resume or your cover letter, but definitely you could use examples to showcase your skills in a job interview. If you are interviewing with a high-tech up and coming technology start up like Uber, then I suggest you first take a look at their interview process. Uber interview process is known to be very challenging and that’s where you need to showcase your skillsets in advance with your resume.
Remember, any chance of getting a job lies with your resume. Without, you wouldn’t get an interview which could lead on to be hired. A lot of people put emphasis on the interview but forget that you need to make sure that your resume is good enough to get noticed in the first place. Also, even if you have a lot of the required skills or perhaps you even think you are over qualified for the job, you need to make sure your resume is well written. You wouldn’t be surprised how many times I have heard someone say ‘The resume was poor but they have skills and experience so we are giving them an interview’. This may sound like you don’t need to try if you are qualified because you may get a job interview first, however what this is really saying is we are giving them an interview but they are already on the back foot. On the other hand, if the resume was well written, with the skills and qualities, this could already put your above the rest of the competition.
Now you have all the pointers you need, its time to put the P into POP and start planning what skills to put on your resume.