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Resume Writing: Listing Your Skills

Updated on October 20, 2015
© I Am Rosa
© I Am Rosa

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Your Skills Are Valuable

One thing employers want to see on a résumé is your skills. What are you good at? What kind of natural talents do you have? What special abilities have you mastered? These things will help an employer decide if you have what it takes to do the job well and be productive, if you will fit in with your co-workers and if you can make the company look good.

Employment Service Providers suggest that job seekers tailor make their résumé for each job position they apply for, but it’s difficult to know what to put on your résumé to make just the right impression. This is why it is important to know what your specific skills are, what categories they fall into and why they are important to include.

Before you can start putting together a list of your skills, let’s take a look at each skill category and examples.

Soft Skills

Soft Skills are the basic abilities required by employers. They are also known as “interpersonal skills” or “people skills.” This category includes:

  • Communication;
  • Problem solving, Negotiation and Conflict resolution;
  • Planning and Organization;
  • Teamwork;
  • Leadership skills and Delegation;
  • Research, Planning and Analysis;
  • Time management;
  • Responsibility and Self-management; and
  • Integrity and Honesty.

Anything that can be considered a “people skill” falls into this category.

Hard Skills

Hard skills are specific, teachable skills. This includes:

  • Typing;
  • Operating specific machinery;
  • Speaking a foreign language;
  • Specific software;
  • Computer protocols;
  • Safety standards;
  • Sales administration; and
  • Financial procedures.

Anything that you are able to learn in a class or workshop, can be added in this category. This includes any formalized apprenticeship or training for trade and technology careers.

Essential Skills

Essential skills are the nine key skills needed for work, learning and life. These are:

  • Reading text;
  • Document use;
  • Numeracy;
  • Writing;
  • Oral communication;
  • Working with others;
  • Continuous learning;
  • Thinking skills; and
  • Computer use.

If you are lacking in any of these skills, contact your local employment service provider, literacy service provider or continuing education facility to connect with free skills upgrading courses.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are any of these talents and expertise that can move with you from one job to another. These are important to highlight in your cover letter and during a job interview.

Your Next Step

Now that you know what goes in each category, it’s time to sit down and make a list of all your skills. Divide them into the appropriate categories, marking a “T” next to your transferable skills. This list is what you will work from when tailoring your résumé, drafting cover letters and preparing for interviews.


There is always something special you can offer an employer. Look at the things you’ve done in the past or are currently doing; volunteer work, after school activities, local organizations, sports or leagues and even workshops. Everything you do helps develop valuable skills. It’s all a matter of how you perceive those activities and translate them onto your résumé.

For help assessing your skills, The Conference Board of Canada has provided a free Skills Credentialing Tool on their website.

The Job Hunter's Guide

This information and more can be found in my book, The Job Hunter's Guide. This easy-to-use book will guide you through your job search process, step-by-step. It includes helpful tips on:

  • Networking and Research;
  • Informational interviews;
  • Writing resume and cover letters;
  • Preparing for a job interview;
  • Interview do's and don'ts, what to expect, how to answer difficult questions; and
  • Follow-up.

The Job Hunter's Guideincludes valuable examples and is a must have for employment service agencies, labour boards, career coaches and job hunters alike.


You can also get a free copy of Samples and References: A Companion Book to The Job Hunter’s Guide which includes worksheets and helpful checklists.

© 2011 Rosa Marchisella


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    • I Am Rosa profile image

      Rosa Marchisella 6 years ago from Canada

      Thank you, Steven. Glad to help :-)

    • stevencruiser profile image

      stevencruiser 6 years ago

      Resume writing is an art that is needed to be implemented in a nice way.I am very thankful for the knowledge that you have shared.