In an increasingly digital world, it is imperative for job seekers to keep abreast of the technologies and programs used in the workforce. While there is no perfect list of job skills that will work for everybody, it’s a good practice to include a mix of traditional, contemporary and interpersonal skills on your resume.
If you want to hone basic skills to list on your resume or job applications, computer literacy should be what you focus on the most. This can be as simple as navigating your internal file system or as complex as picking up basic coding skills. It is also great to know how to use applications and programs common to the workforce, such as Microsoft Word, Google and Adobe Acrobat. If you are comfortable and proficient using the computer, you will be well on your way to picking up the additional skills listed below.
Communication – in more than one way
The majority of your day at work will likely be spent communicating with others, in many different ways. Interpersonal communication skills are at the foundation of this. Being approachable and personable in the office and online will make your colleagues feel comfortable going to you with questions or asking you for help with their tasks.
You should also be well-versed in knowing how to communicate in certain situations: feel free to ping or email someone if you have a quick question, but if you’d like to talk about something that requires a long explanation, it’s best to set up a call or swing by your colleague’s office. The opposite is true as well: if you see a coworker in a meeting or deep in thought in their office, try to save your question for later or put it in an email.
Another major aspect of being skilled at communication entails knowing how much and when to communicate with others. Even if you mess up, your manager will want you to communicate with them so they can have your back.
Excel is a great skill to put on a job application, especially because most people don’t really know how to use it. Excel contains seemingly endless functionalities, from simple math to pivot tables to data mining and management. Familiarize yourself with the fundamentals: basic calculations, sorting and filtering, and table creation. In most positions, this is all you will need to know how to do, and your coworkers will be thankful for it. If you are seeking a job in a financial or technology field, consider taking an online course in advanced Excel skills.
In order to effectively use modern collaboration tools, you need to be an efficient collaborator. Your reputation as a team player, while more of a soft skill, can be critical when it comes time for the bosses to hand out raises, promotions and exciting projects. On the flipside, if you’re known for keeping to yourself or not being friendly with your coworkers, you may be passed up for opportunities that can advance your career. An added bonus of committing to being a team player is that you can foster meaningful relationships with your coworkers that extend beyond the workday.
Problem-solving is a broad skill that requires creativity, tenacity, and confidence. You can easily set yourself apart by speaking up during meetings or offering out-of-the-box ideas for approaching team challenges. Sometimes, though, problem-solving looks like not knowing how to solve certain problems. Whether you’ve come across an issue outside of your area of expertise or you’d like a second set of eyes to look at your solution, there is usually another colleague who knows the answer. While it is important to show initiative, problem-solving can also entail knowing who and when to ask for help.
How can my resume and job application get noticed by potential employers?
As recruiting and applying for jobs is done almost entirely online these days, employers are utilizing progressively more advanced technology to screen applicants. One method recruiters use is called an applicant tracking system, which is an automated management system that scans resumes and job applications for keywords relevant to the position. A law firm recruiting for a receptionist position, for example, might be particularly interested in candidates who have computer literacy, scheduling experience, and organizational skills.
Applicants would then want to ensure these skills appear somewhere on their resume in order to be flagged by the applicant tracking system, thereby increasing their chances of moving forward with an interview. Another resume tip: even if you are a skilled guitar player or love to practice sports in your spare time, leave hobbies off of your resume unless they are relevant to the position you are applying for.
Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP is an employee assistance program dedicated to serving employees and employers alike. Through your employer, we may be able to provide you with free and confidential counseling and career coaching sessions, community resources, financial counseling, care services, wellness programs and more. Reach out to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-543-5080 for assistance.