You might have a bunch of in-demand skills, but if you don’t know which ones to focus on and how to sell them, you could find your resume stuck forever at the bottom of the proverbial pile. Below are the top skills to emphasize on almost any resume.
Advanced Microsoft Excel Skills
Microsoft Excel skills are highly sought after by employers because they indicate an ability with data analysis and manipulation--two skill sets that are in high demand in virtually every industry. With the digital transformation of the workplace and an increased focus on harnessing and leveraging the power of big data, those who are able to turn raw numbers into strategic information are hugely valuable.
Many people have a baseline, but still very rudimentary understanding of Microsoft Excel and its myriad capabilities. If you are serious about making your Excel skills one of your standout resume offerings, you should really consider a comprehensive Excel course to give you the grounding you need.
Written Communication Skills
At this point, most job seekers and certainly anyone who has ever attended a college resume workshop, likely know that soft skills such as communication are highly valued by employers across industries. Mentioning your “excellent” communication skills on a resume, however, says nothing. In the remote work era, you need to be emphasizing, first and foremost, your written communication skills--as most communication between coworkers, management and employees is now written. Keep in mind that billions of dollars are lost each year due to poor organizational communication.
Highlight your ability to accurately and coherently convey information, and your ability to follow and, when necessary, ask for pointed clarification on written instructions. If you know how to write formal memos and professional documents, or have experience with technical and professional writing (e.g., copywriting), highlight those skills.
Whether you are already gainfully employed or are currently searching for work, you must contend with digital transformation. Along with this naturally comes an increased need for digital literacy and skills. You might be able to find a handful of straggler industries that are not evolving as fast as everyone else and don't see a need to, but for the most part, the modern workplace requires digital aptitude.
These are things that you can go to school to learn or learn about on your own. They include social media and digital marketing skills, digital design and data visualization, programming, app (particularly mobile) and web development, and data science and data analytics understanding. Whether you have any, several or all of these skills, they should be front and centre on your resume with examples of projects or related work to back them up.
Self-Motivation and Direction
The ability to self-motivate is something that should absolutely be mentioned on a resume if you are applying for jobs right now. The pandemic and the work from home revolution it spurred has caused a frenzy among HR and Organizational Behaviour experts, many of whom are worried that all of these people working from home, unsupervised, is going to spell disaster for company productivity and ultimately the bottom line.
While the validity of these assumptions is hotly debated, employers nevertheless want to know that their employees can stay focused, motivated and on-task while working remotely.
Remote Work Experience/Skills
If you have significant remote work experience and are already well-versed in the many communication and collaboration idiosyncrasies that go along with it, there has never been a better time to shout this loudly and proudly. Many organizations were blindsided by the pandemic’s effects on work, and especially older managers who were used to in-person, in-office workplace dynamics.
If you already have remote work experience--you have worked as a freelancer in one or more industries, your previous job allowed you plenty of work from home opportunities, or even if you spent the last year at university or college via distance--draw attention to it and emphasize how comfortable and competent you are with common remote work tools like Zoom, Google Documents, Slack and others.
Most resumes are filled with references to skills and attributes that are vague and generic. Hiring managers wince when they read people describe themselves as “team players” or “quick learners.” They want to see specific, in-demand skills backed up by concrete references to when and how they were used. If you have one or more of the above skills, make them focal points of any previous work, school or volunteer experience, in addition to tailoring your resume to the specific job and industry you are applying for.