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 Nikki Stokes
Nikki Stokes

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The Most Important Skills To Put On Your Resume

The Most Important Skills To Put On Your Resume

The job market that most people enter into today is very different from the ones our parents encountered. 

The idea that you’d train for a particular career, enter into it, work your way up and eventually retire at a senior level is a path that very few people will end up taking. 

According to research, the average time spent in a single job is just over three years, and today’s school leaver can expect to have five separate careers in their lifetime. What does this mean for the average Australian job seeker? 

It means that you’ll probably be updating your resume more often and that you’ll have to be more critical about what appears in it as you pursue different positions requiring different skill sets. 

Here’s how to decide what goes on your resume and what you should leave out – and why your soft skills should always feature.

Adding Soft Skills to Your Resume

There are still a handful of jobs that require set-in-stone qualifications and requirements. 

If you’re planning on entering a profession such as law and medicine or working as a tradie electrician or builder, your technical skills are critical to your ability to get the job done. 

However, for the vast majority of corporate and office-based jobs, things aren’t so cut and dry. 

Dozens of job titles and job roles exist in the working world, and there aren’t dedicated and accredited university degrees for each individual role. 

For this reason, you need to identify the intangible skills you possess that you could apply in a variety of roles. 

According to a recent survey undertaken by LinkedIn, almost 60% of leaders say that a person’s soft skills will help them stand out above other applicants for a job, so it’s worth paying attention to this.

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills

If you don’t have the faintest idea what soft skills you have, sit down and make a list of the duties you perform (or performed at your last job) regularly. 

Think about the tasks you excel at or a moment where you received praise and recognition in the workplace. What personal strengths enabled this? 

  • Catching a significant coding error before the client saw it could indicate attention to detail. 
  • Being able to find a last minute speaker for a conference after the promised guest speaker pulled out can mean you’re skilled at perseverance. 
  • Keeping irate clients calm during an unforeseen project delay due to bad weather can demonstrate crisis management skills.

If you’re still stuck, don’t be afraid to contact old co-workers or references and ask them what their impression of you is. Often our soft skills are best identified from an outside perspective.

Matching Your Skills To The Right Job

You might have a specific type of job title in mind when seeking a new role, or you might be wanting a different job in a different environment that you could confidently apply for based on your current skill set. 

To be able to build your resume with the appropriate soft skills, you’ll need to group them by type and category so that you can see where your strengths lie.

Types of Soft Skills

There’s no universally acknowledged classification system used with soft skills.

However, the Harvard Business Review believes that you can divide most soft skills into four categories:

  • Self Management – adaptability, optimism & having a strong work ethic/moral compass
  • Self Awareness – being self-aware, observant, communicative & open to criticism
  • Social Awareness – empathy, flexibility & attention to detail
  • Relationship Management – leadership, patience, conflict resolution

To work out which skills you possess, you need to carefully go through the job posting in question or look at several postings of the kind of jobs you’re seeking out. 

What common traits do they call for? They might mention the very soft skills you possess, by a different name. 

Which Skills to Put on Your Resume

When putting your resume together, put yourself in the position of the person looking at it and remember that it will be the first of many communications you’ll have with them if you’re successful. 

To grab their attention, you need to lead with the skills you possess that enable you to fill the position. Here’s a guide on what to include and what to leave out.

Things to leave off your resume

  • Historical details like your hometown or school grades (unless you’re a school leaver)
  • Personal details such as hobbies and pastimes, unless directly linked to your role. 
  • Lies or anything that stretches the truth. This will always reflect badly on you.

Skills to list on your resume

  • Your contact details (including an up to date contact number and email address)
  • Relevant experience (if you feel it taught you valuable skills, include it)
  • Soft skills related tasks (listing your tasks and which soft skills they exercise).

Ready to Update Your Resume?

Putting together a resume (and figuring out exactly what skills to put on your resume) isn’t always easy, which is why sometimes working with resume templates and our interactive resume builder could help you finetune yours. 

It's something that ZygaUni can assist you with, and we’re experts at helping you to prepare for an interview too. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you create the perfect resume.

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