This is a great question that we hear often at Revision Resume. Many times people will ask the question specific to their field, such as "What are good skills to put on a resume for a software engineer?" or "What skills should a business developer include in their resume?" Sometimes clients will ask, "What skills should I include on my resume if I am looking to switch career fields?"
Let's examine the approach Revision Resume takes when creating resumes. How do we decide what should be included?
1) Study a Few Job Descriptions
We suggest that the first step you should take is to study a few job descriptions. Look at those that you plan to apply for. Not sure what you are going to apply for yet? Then look at the descriptions for jobs in the field you are interested in.
Take the time to look at 3 or 4 different job postings. Do you see any commonalities between the descriptions? Are the same skills listed on all or on numerous job postings? Is there a common theme you can identify?
Researching job descriptions is a great way to find out what hiring managers are seeking. Your ultimate goal is to show, with your resume, that you can meet their current needs. By including the skills listed in the job description on your resume, you are highlighting that you have strengths in the areas they are seeking.
2) Reflect Honestly
It may be tempting to just include all of the skills listed on the job description, especially after reading #1 above. However, we caution you to always maintain honesty on your resume.
First, it is unlikely that any job candidate applying meets all of the requirements listed. You are not competing with the perfect job-seeker, but instead will be competing with others that have some of the skills listed. Many job-seekers erroneously believe they must have every qualification the job posting lists. While you certainly want to select jobs that are in your ballpark, don't feel you must have every job requirement listed.
Second, you will need to answer questions related to your resume at the interview. Therefore you need to be able to back up anything you claim on your resume. Including skills you don't actually have will likely cause you issues further in the hiring process and could end up costing you the position.
3) Always be Forward-Looking
People creating their own resume are often looking in the rear-view mirror. They are focused on the past and listing what happened in the past on their resume.
While a resume is a view of the past, it should be presented in a way that reflects your future goals and aspirations. Whether that is a promotion or a career field change, you want to highlight the skills that get you to the new role, instead of just focusing on those that you implemented in previous roles.
Whether you are seeking a job in the same field you currently work in, or a new field, you should approach your resume with a forward-looking view. The key is to highlight skills that show you can handle the new role.
Eliminate irrelevant or outdated skills from your resume. Use the space you have gained to emphasize the qualifications you have for the new position.
4) Include Hard and Soft Skills
Job seekers who are established in their careers and aren't planning to switch fields often focus solely on the hard skills related to their job. For example, software engineers may just provide a list of all the programs they know.
Yet, hiring managers are seeking a candidate that is well-rounded. For instance, they need someone that can communicate with their co-workers and can be a productive part of a team.
Don't overlook including soft skills, such as time management, communication and customer service. More details on how to incorporate soft skills in your resume are provided in this blog.
Still not feeling confident that you can effectively show your skills in your resume? Revision Resume would be happy to assist you by either providing a resume creation or a resume critique. Contact us to get started!