Woman choosing skills to include on resume
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When you begin the job application process, you need to make sure your resume is optimized and ready to be sent out to employers. The struggle isn't so much finding enough things to include on your resume. Rather, it's choosing what skills, experiences, and accomplishments to include on your resume to boost your likelihood of landing an interview.


Choosing the right skills to include on your resume is easier said than done. What skills will really stand out to recruiters and hiring managers? What skills demonstrate why you'd be a great fit for the position? What skills best represent what you bring to the table?

Fortunately, there's an easy process you can follow to ensure you're answering these questions and setting yourself up for job opportunities.

Here are four steps for choosing the right skills to include on your resume:

1. Decode Job Descriptions

Before you hit "apply" on a job posting, it's important to read through the job description and understand what the job actually entails.

You have to analyze the job description, then think about how you would fit into this "mold" of an employee that they have in mind for the position. Start to think about the core responsibilities you've had in your previous jobs.

Do your previous core responsibilities translate into skills that this job posting is asking for—skills that would make you a great fit for the position?

2. Ask Yourself "Can I Quantify That?"

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Once you've decoded the job description and determined if you have the skills the employer is asking for, it's time to think about which skills you should include on your resume (because you can't include them all).

The key to getting your resume past the ATS is to include only hard skills on your resume.

Hard skills (skills that tie directly to core responsibilities) are what applicant tracking systems (ATS) and hiring managers want to see. They're quantifiable. If you can't quantify it, it's probably a soft skill. Soft skills DO NOT belong on your resume.

So, when deciding what skills you should include on your resume, ask yourself, "Can I quantify that?" If you can, it's a hard skill, and it belongs on your resume.

Both industry-specific and transferable hard skills can go on your resume. After decoding the job description, you will know which hard skills the employer is looking for.

3. Think About Your Brand

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The next step in deciding which skills should go on your resume deals with personal branding. You want to make sure you are "branding" yourself correctly for job opportunities.

By that, we mean knowing what type of service you provide for a company—and what skill sets support that service.

After all, here at Work It Daily, we know every job seeker is a business-of-one. Are you branding your business (yourself) correctly in order to attract customers (employers looking to invest in you)?

Know your brand, and own it!

4. Customize, Customize, Customize

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The last step in deciding which skills should go on your resume is customization.

Customizing your resume is veryimportant. You'll probably have to highlight different skills for the different jobs you apply for. That means customizing your resume for each job application.

  • What projects did you work on?
  • What expertise did you gain?
  • What skills should you be emphasizing?

If you ask yourself these questions for each job you apply for, your answers will most likely differ. That's how you'll know you're customizing your resume correctly and giving yourself the best chance to land an interview.

As you're thinking about your resume, remember you have more skills than you realize. Your job is to make it easy for employers to see the connection between your skill sets and the skill sets needed to do the job. When in doubt, ask yourself, "Can I quantify that?"

The goal at this stage in the job search process is to get an interview. You can only worry about getting the job after you know you're in the running. What skills are going to get you in the door?

Need more help with your job search?

We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Power Hour Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!

This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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