Most jobseekers wish they could unlock a magic formula for winning over employers. What, they wonder, is the perfect mix of unique skills and values that make companies want to hire them on the spot? While each hiring manager is looking for a set of unique skills from jobseekers for each opening, certain skills and values are universally sought by hiring managers. While technical skills will always be important, personal skills, or soft skills, have become the most sought-after skills in employment today.
According to an analysis of 2.3 million LinkedIn profiles for The Wall Street Journal, nearly 58 percent of employees who touted stellar communication skills were hired over the course of a year, making it clear that “soft skills” are very important to landing a job.
The good news is that most jobseekers have these skills to some degree. The better news is that jobseekers with weaknesses can improve their skills through training, professional development or mentoring from someone who understands these unique skills. However, if you get stuck while learning how to write a resume, using a resume builder (and cover letter builder too) can help get your application materials into top shape.
First, do your research to understand the unique skills and characteristics that most employers seek, you can tailor your job search communication — your resume, cover letter and elevator pitch — to showcase how well your background aligns with common employer requirements.
Just remember, "personal skills" is just another way of saying soft skills, those hard-to-measure but incredibly desirable traits and characteristics that make people great at their jobs.
When sitting down to compile a list of valuable and unique skills, start by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What are the personal skills I possess that might be valuable in the workplace? These are commonly called soft skills, people skills or interpersonal skills. Some examples of soft skills include problem solving, adaptability, dependability, self-motivation and leadership skills.
2. What are the professional skills I have that will be valuable to my future employer? These are commonly called hard skills or technical skills. These are specific proficiencies that are taught in school or on the job, including foreign languages, computer programming, writing skills or machine skills.
3. What key skills are employers looking for? And, do I have a gap in the skills that I bring to the table? This information is important useful for determining whether you might be lacking the critical skills needed to get the job you want. To gather this information figure out these skills, study several job postings for the job titles you are looking to get hired in.
Consider these questions carefully. After all, your soft skills can elevate your resume above the competition. Considering recruiters only spend six-second, on average, reviewing each resume, you'll need to immediately make your value apparent. Adding personal skills to your resume can help in this effort.
List of Personal Skills to Use on Your Resume
We’ve curated a list of the best skills and values in today’s job market and have included sample language describing each skill. You can adapt this verbiage for your resumes, cover letter, and interview talking points.
So, what are these important skills that employers demand of jobseekers? Check out this list of the top values and skills employers seek and learn how to include them in your resume:
Personal Skill #1: Professionalism
Professionalism is acting in a responsible and fair manner in all of your personal and work activities. It’s seen as a sign of maturity and self-confidence.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Conscientious go-getter who is highly organized, dedicated, and committed to professionalism.
Personal Skill #2: Honesty and Integrity
Employers probably respect personal integrity more than any other value, especially in light of the corporate scandals that have become so commonplace.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Seasoned professional whose honesty and integrity create effective leadership and optimal business relationships.
Personal Skill #3: Adaptability
Adaptability deals with openness to new ideas and concepts, to working independently or as part of a team. It also refers to the ability to pivot between assignments and carry out multiple tasks or projects.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Highly adaptable, mobile, positive, resilient, patient risk-taker who is open to new ideas.
Personal Skill #4: Problem-solving
Employers look for jobseekers who love what they do and will keep at it until they solve the problem and get the job done.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Productive worker with solid work ethic who exerts optimal effort in successfully completing tasks.
Personal Skill #5: Dependability
There’s no question that all employers desire employees who will arrive to work every day on time and ready to work, and who will take responsibility for their actions.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Dependable, responsible contributor committed to excellence and success.
Personal Skill #6: Loyalty
Employers want employees who will have a strong devotion to the company (even when the company is not necessarily loyal to its employees).
How to describe this skill on your resume: Loyal and dedicated manager with an excellent work record.
Personal Skill #7: Positive Attitude
The jobseekers who get hired and the employees who get promoted are the ones with drive and passion. They demonstrate this enthusiasm through their words and actions.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Energetic performer consistently cited for unbridled passion for work, sunny disposition, and upbeat, positive attitude.
Personal Skill #8: Self-Confidence
Self-confidence is very important to landing a job. Look at it this way: if you don’t believe in yourself, in your unique mix of skills, education, and abilities, why should a prospective employer? Be confident in yourself and what you can offer employers.
The best news is that once you understand the unique skills and characteristics that most employers seek, you can tailor your job-search communication — your resume, cover letter and elevator pitch — to showcase how well your background aligns with common employer requirements.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Confident, hard-working employee who is committed to achieving excellence.
Personal Skill #9: Self-Motivated
While teamwork is always mentioned as an important skill, so is the ability to work independently, with minimal supervision. Show your future hiring manager that you’re self-motivated.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Highly motivated self-starter who takes initiative with minimal supervision.
Personal Skill #10: Willingness to Learn
No matter what your age, and no matter how much experience you have, you should always be willing to learn a new skill or technique. Jobs are constantly changing and evolving, and you must show an openness to grow and learn with that change.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Enthusiastic, knowledge-hungry learner, eager to meet challenges and quickly assimilate new concepts.
Personal Skill #11: Leadership
While there is some debate about whether leadership is something people are born with, this skill deals with your ability to take charge and manage your co-workers.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Goal-driven leader who maintains a productive climate and confidently motivates, mobilizes, and coaches employees to meet high-performance standards.
Personal Skill #12: Multicultural Sensitivity
There is possibly no bigger issue in the workplace than diversity, and jobseekers must demonstrate a sensitivity and awareness to other people and cultures.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Personable professional whose strengths include cultural sensitivity and an ability to build rapport with a diverse workforce in multicultural settings.
Personal Skill #13: Planning and Organization
This skill deals with your ability to design, plan, organize, and implement projects and tasks within an allotted timeframe.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Results-driven achiever with exemplary planning and organizational skills, along with a high degree of detail orientation.
Personal Skill #14: Teamwork
Because so many jobs involve working in one or more work-groups, you must have the ability to work with others in a professional manner while working to achieve a common goal.
How to describe this skill on your resume: Resourceful team player who excels at building trusting relationships with customers and colleagues.
Professional Skills to Use on Your Resume
Professional skills are very important to also include on your resume. Begin to think of a list of the technologies you use every day at work, and those you’ve used in the past. You may want to list something as every day as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. You should also include language skills, computer programming skills, and any other hard skills.
How to Use Personal Skills and Professional Skills in Your Resume
Now that you’ve identified your top personal and professional skills, you’ll want to decide how to include them on your resume. Typically, I suggest two sections. One section is often called “Strengths” and this is where your personal or soft skills are listed. A second section is called “Skills” or “Technical Skills.” It’s the place to include your professional or hard skills. In most cases, the strengths section appears near the top of the resume, while the skills section appears near the bottom.
As you can see, these skills are the critical tools and traits you need to succeed in the workplace. They are all elements that you can learn, cultivate, develop, and maintain over your lifetime. Be sure to not only develop them, but to share them with your future hiring manager on your resume!