From Make It by Cindi Perman
This was adapted from CNBC’s Work It newsletter on LinkedIn about all things work — from how to land the job to how to succeed in your career. (Click here to subscribe.)
When you think about your resume, you tend to think of including your experience, job responsibilities, education, etc. But one thing you shouldn’t overlook: your skills.
“Skills are the most important factor when it comes to landing a job right now,” LinkedIn career expert Blair Heitmann recently told CNBC Make It. “More companies are shifting from traditional measures like degrees and years of experience to skills-based hiring to ensure that they get the most qualified person in the job who can really deliver.”
So, what kind of skills are we talking about?
Recruiters want to know what hard skills (certifiable skills like coding or graphic design) you have but they’re increasingly looking for soft skills (less quantifiable skills like multitasking and problem solving) as well.
“Let’s say you have a special certification that wasn’t necessarily a higher education degree like a bachelor’s degree,” Vicki Salemi, a career expert at Monster, told CNBC Make It. This could be a certificate from an online course in marketing. Or if you are fluent in another language — that would be great to include under skills.
Some of your skills you can work into bullets under experience but for the rest, include them under the skills section of your resume.
Showing off your skills can put you “head and shoulders above other candidates,” Salemi said.
LinkedIn took a look at job listings on its site and came up with the most frequently mentioned skills. Here are the top 10 skills recruiters are looking for right now:
- Customer Service
- Business Development
- Digital Marketing
- Sales Management
- Problem Solving
Of course, not all of these skills will apply to your job search. But it’s important to start training your brain to pick out what skills companies are looking for in the job description and, if those are skills you have, to highlight them on your resume and underscore them in the interview.
That says: Hey, I have exactly what you’re looking for!
And, if you happen to find yourself unemployed or hating your job and unsure of what to do next — take a look at this list for inspiration. It could lead to your next career move — or it could be helpful in how you sell yourself for the position.
Just remember, though: Be honest! Don’t say you have skills if you don’t just to get a job. It will quickly become apparent on the job and you’ll have lost valuable trust right out of the gate. Instead, if employers are looking for a skill that you don’t have, consider taking a class to obtain that skill. Just don’t say you have it — until you do.
You might not be used to bragging about your communications skills or your ability to juggle a bunch of things at once but you might start to after you read this next part: A whopping 93% of employers said soft skills played a key role in their hiring decisions, according to ZipRecruiter.
Whoa! That is a huge number — and a huge opportunity to grab attention in a job search.
But what exactly are soft skills?
Soft skills are ones that demonstrate how you work. Some of them are people and interpersonal skills, while others are about process. I think they really fall into that category of how you would fit in to an organization. Is the organization or industry fast-paced? If so, you’ll need good time-management skills. Do things change often on the job? In that case, you’ll need to be flexible.
And don’t fret if you don’t have all of these skills, the idea is to figure out what you have and how it best matches up with a future job/employer. Finding the right fit is as much for their benefit as it is yours. At the end of the day, it would be great if you loved going to work and felt like you were firing on all cylinders.
Soft skills can include a million different things so it’s important to highlight those that are relevant to the position you are applying for — and that recruiters are looking for.
ZipRecruiter combed through its millions of job listings and compiled a list of the eight most in-demand soft skills:
- Communication skills
- Customer service
- Time-management skills
- Project management
- Analytical thinking
- Ability to work independently
Again, even though not all of these may apply to you, you should train your brain to pluck these out of the job descriptions when you’re applying for jobs, see which ones you have, and then work those into your application — be it in your resume, cover letter and/or answers to interview questions.
For example, let’s say you get asked to talk about a challenging time at work and how you overcame it. Maybe it required you to use your communications skills to smooth things over or maybe you were under a tight deadline and really had to display those time-management skills. Maybe you had to stop and analyze the situation and figure out the best way to proceed. And maybe that required you to be flexible and pivot in a different direction. These are all important details you need to convey in your answers to show the recruiters that you’re the right candidate for the job.
It’s important to have some of your key skills on your resume to show recruiters and employers from the get-go who you are, why you are qualified and a little bit about how you work.
Career coaches say you can put those skills at the top or the bottom of your resume, but it’s important to not make it a huge list — pick those that best showcase your abilities.
“You’ve got to pick six skills that you are truly top of game,” Julie Bauke, founder and chief career strategist with The Bauke Group, told CNBC Make It.
Salemi said she would probably limit it to just “three or four top skills that are coveted by the employer.”
And don’t include too many general terms like “sales,” “marketing strategies” and “public speaking” in your skills section, Bauke said, otherwise you run the risk of it looking like “verbal vomit.”
Eesh! No, you don’t want that.
The idea is that your experience is going to be the first thing they look at. Including these focused skills can be what sets you apart from other candidates and helps you get the job.
If you’ve ever thought: Oh, wow. If I only knew what they were looking for. If I only had connections like some people.
Well, social media has leveled that playing field! You DO have connections. Or the potential for connections. It’s up to you what you make of them.
So, start following some recruiters and career coaches on TikTok, Instagram and other social platforms, because they have the inside scoop on what they — and other recruiters — are looking for in terms of skills and qualifications.
Emily Durham is a career coach and content creator with over 200,000 followers. She is also a senior recruiter for Intuit.
In a recent TikTok, Durham offered up some great tips to help make your LinkedIn profile fire:
- Upload a profile photo and banner image — they dramatically increase the chances of your profile being seen.
- Write something more creative for your headline (right under your name) than the default — your job title. This is seen not only on your profile page but when your profile pops up for other people as “People You May Know,” in LinkedIn searches, in LinkedIn job applications, posts and even invites. So, do something that conveys your value proposition like “I help people find six-figure jobs,” and highlights skills, keywords, achievements, values, etc.
- Make sure you list your skills in the skills section! Recruiters literally type in what skills they are looking for when searching LinkedIn for candidates.
“If you don’t have key skills … in the skills section, it’s really unlikely that your profile is coming up,” Durham said.
And, remember the one skill you need during this whole process: The ability to sell yourself. You have the skills, the tools and the network at your disposal, you just have to use them to convince recruiters that the search is over — they’ve found the perfect candidate.