With skills-based hiring on the rise, it is essential for job seekers to rethink how they craft the skills section of their resumes. It’s not enough to simply list every skill in your arsenal; instead, you need to thoughtfully showcase your job-critical skills and demonstrate an ability to come onboard and hit the ground running.
In recent years, there’s been a notable shift in the criteria hiring companies use to evaluate job candidates. Education and work history, once considered the gatekeepers of the application-to-interview pipeline, are being de-emphasized in favor of relevant skills. Between 2021 and 2022, the number of job postings on LinkedIn that didn’t require a 4-year degree rose from 15% to 20%, marking a 33% year-over-year increase. In research published in 2022, a staggering 76% of companies said they utilized some form of skills-based hiring.
The value of including the right skills on your resume increases considerably if you work in an industry that requires specialized or niche skills, like in accounting or technology. Large employers, like Google and Bank of America, for example, no longer require 4-year degrees for some of their more technical positions, like software developer, network administrator and software engineer roles. These organizations are far more concerned with whether or not applicants have the technical and interpersonal skills to do the job.
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As a job seeker in a hiring environment teeming with opportunity, your skills could be the key to landing your dream role, but only if potential employers are aware of them.
In this post, we’ll walk you through how to list your skills on your resume so that you stand out to recruiters and hiring managers – whether you’re applying for jobs in technology, accounting and finance, operations or human resources.
The basics of formatting skills on your resume
Before getting into specific niches, there are some important rules for formatting your skills that apply regardless of the industry you’re in.
The two most common ways that people showcase their skills on a resume are by strategically intertwining them under each role, or by giving skills their own section in the document, like “education” and “relevant experience” have their own sections. The best resumes typically feature a combination of the two, showing qualitative skills and quantitative results under the specific role they apply to, and then displaying tangible, industry-wide skills in a separate section – this is where you would add proficiencies like Adobe Suite, WordPress, Salesforce or other applications.
Finally, if you have continued to pursue educational experiences via advanced degrees, workshops, certifications or conferences, those are all valuable and should be added to the education section of your resume.
Regardless of the skills you have or the sections you include them in, when you add them to your resume, you should always:
- Use bullet points to list your skills to make it easier for a recruiter to quickly scan and identify skills that meet the job requirements.
- Use keywords that are relevant to the job description, which will help your resume pass through the applicant tracking system (ATS) and get noticed by the hiring contact.
- Use quantifiable data to support any skills you have listed. For example, if you have experience in managing operations and logistics, mention how you improved the supply chain process, reduced the inventory cost or increased the productivity of the team.
- Use action verbs to start each bullet point – it will make your resume more engaging and powerful. For example, instead of saying “Responsible for employee relations and mitigating issues,” say “Resolved employee relations issues and improved employee satisfaction by 20%.”
- Use a clear and easy-to-read layout to keep the resume appealing and professional. Avoid using too many varied colors or fonts, and keep the design simple and consistent across sections.
- Customize it! When you’re applying to more than a handful of jobs, this can feel like a burden. But customizing your resume for each job application and highlighting the skills that are most relevant shows the recruiter that you have taken the time to tailor the resume to the job, demonstrating your interest and commitment to the role.
Jobs, skills and resumes all look different. But one key to successful formatting is to keep the essentials – as listed above – consistent.
With the tech sector set to grow by a faster-than-average 15% by 2031 – meaning more than 680,000 new jobs with a median salary of more than $90,000 – it is critical for tech candidates to list their skills in a way that gets them noticed.
Recruiters and hiring managers in the tech space are typically looking for a combination of technical skills and soft skills that demonstrate the ability to be successful in the role and thrive in the company culture.
Consider listing tech skills in a separate “skills” section of your resume, and also add them under your prior roles if there are specific projects you did while using them.
Some common technical skills include:
- Cloud computing, which is becoming more relevant as more companies move to the cloud; proficiency with platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure are fundamental, and companies will look for you to have them.
- Cybersecurity skills are also in high demand. If you have experience with security protocols, risk management or threat detection and response, make sure to list those skills on your resume.
- Data analysis and data visualization are becoming increasingly valuable. If you have experience with data analysis tools like Tableau or SQL, make sure to highlight those skills on your resume.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning are transforming the sector and will only get bigger as platforms like ChatGPT become more ubiquitous. If you have experience with tools like TensorFlow or PyTorch, or if you have worked on projects involving natural language processing or computer vision, include those skills on your resume.
- Agile methodology is a popular approach to software development, and experience with tools like Jira or Scrum are attractive skills to highlight on your resume to potential employers.
It is equally as important to list soft skills in tech, which should fall almost exclusively under the relevant experiences in which you used them.
Soft skills include:
- Problem-solving abilities: Recruiters want to see that you have a strong ability to analyze complex problems and develop effective solutions.
- Communication skills: Being able to effectively communicate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders is a valuable skill in the tech industry. Recruiters will look for evidence of it in examples of strong written and verbal communication skills on your resume.
- Collaboration: Many tech roles require working in a team environment, so recruiters may look for evidence of your ability to collaborate. Experience on cross-functional teams, open-source projects and hackathon participation provide good examples of this.
If you’ve sharpened your skills during your career via certifications or other learning opportunities, that’s a surefire way to stand out on your resume, particularly in the constantly-evolving information technology field. In addition to showing the skills you possess, it is also a way to show your employer you are committed to learning and developing yourself as a worker and leader.
Highlight any certifications you’ve earned. Popular ones are CompTIA’s A+ certification and being an AWS Certified Developer, but similar certifications also stand out.
Other learning and development opportunities can be demonstrated via continuing education, attending industry events or conferences, participating in online learning communities or membership in industry groups.
Ultimately, the key to effectively listing tech skills on your resume is to tailor them to the specific job you’re applying for. So make sure to highlight the skills that are most relevant to the role, and provide concrete examples of how you’ve used those skills in your previous work experience.
Accounting and finance skills
What if you’re looking to get hired in accounting and finance? Recruiters and hiring managers for accounting and finance roles are typically looking for a combination of technical accounting and financial skills and strong soft skills – all of which are important in the industry.
Here are some specific skills that recruiters in accounting and finance might look for on a candidate resume:
- Technical accounting skills, including knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), financial reporting, audit and assurance, tax accounting and financial analysis, are all cornerstones of the sector that hiring managers will look for.
- Financial management skills, which come from experience managing budgets, forecasting financial performance and analyzing financial statements. If you have this skill, be sure to include your experience with financial planning and analysis (FP&A), treasury management and/or financial modeling.
- The ability to analyze complex financial data and draw meaningful insights is an important skill in the accounting and finance industry. Recruiters may look at your resume for evidence of those skills, such as experience with data analysis tools or success in previous financial analysis roles.
- Effective communication of financial data and concepts to non-financial stakeholders is a valuable skill in the industry, and if you have it, recruiters will look for examples of times when you’ve used it.
- Close attention to detail is critical in an industry where small errors can have significant consequences. Recruiters may look for evidence of strong attention to detail on your resume, such as experience with auditing or evidence of a high level of accuracy in previous financial roles. Be sure to include facts and figures summarizing these skills where possible.
As in the tech industry, the skills that are most important on an accounting and finance resume may change depending on the role or the company doing the hiring. In general, however, strategically showcasing a combination of technical and soft skills can help candidates stand out in a competitive job market.
Human resources, operations and administration skills
Of all the skillsets to list on a resume, HR, operations and administrative skillsets might be among the most difficult to put on paper.
Because, unlike tech and finance, many skills used in these fields aren’t things you can get a certification for, and there often aren’t many industry-leading brands that hiring managers recognize from sector to sector. Most of the skills are won through experience on the job, learning as you go, and adapting to the workplaces and teams you are a part of.
Even if industry terms aren’t as well-known, that doesn’t mean you can’t organize your HR, ops or admin skills in a way that gets you noticed.
Here are some areas to consider highlighting:
- Recruitment and talent acquisition: If you’re in HR, include your demonstrated experience in sourcing, screening and hiring candidates using various channels.
- Employee relations: Experience in managing employee relations issues in an efficient and diplomatic manner, including conflict resolution, disciplinary action and performance management, is highly valued.
- Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS): Here’s where systems knowledge does apply. Experience in managing specific HRIS systems, including payroll processing, benefits administration and record-keeping, will help you onboard seamlessly into an organization.
- Compliance and regulatory knowledge: Any knowledge you have of labor laws, regulations and compliance requirements, including Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), can help set your resume apart.
- Operations management: Experience managing operations and logistics, including project management, supply chain management and inventory control, are attractive qualities to hiring managers and recruiters in this sector.
- Administrative support: Add any experience in providing administrative support, including scheduling, record keeping and communication management.
- Customer service: An underrated skillset in many fields, experience in delivering excellent customer service, including handling inquiries and complaints from internal and external stakeholders, is critical in all fields.