Resumes & Cover Letters

Recruiters look for these 8 skills in every resume

Written by Michael Hoon

The specific skills you need to excel in the working world will vary depending on your field. But there are 8 general skills all recruiters hope to see, whether listed or implied, on your resume. Not only will these skills help you get your foot into the door, but they’ll also make you a competent and respected employee.

If you don’t have any of these skills, it might be time to acquire a few. If you do have ‘em, great! Start showcasing them on that resume.

1. Professionalism

You’ll want to go on to describe this in more concrete terms, depending on your industry, but the skill itself is invaluable—and hard to teach. Talk about how conscientious and organized you are, and how dedicated.

2. Integrity/Honesty

It sounds simple, but it’s key—can a company trust you? Will you show up on time and do the job you’re assigned? Will you keep sensitive company information from people who aren’t supposed to hear it? Just listing these skills sends the message that you find them valuable enough for precious resume space.

3. Adaptability

Flexibility and the willingness to do things outside the exact scope of your job description are highly valued traits. Will you pitch in where needed, roll with the punches, and evolve as your industry changes? Are you ready to work on developing skills you haven’t yet mastered? If you let recruiters know you’re adaptable to change, they’re more likely to want you on board.

4. Industry Awareness

If you know what’s going on in your industry, it shows you have your eye on the bigger prize. You’ll be looking past your own position—and even your own company—at the bigger picture. This will make your work better and your insights deeper. You’ll also have a better learning curve when you can anticipate the changes coming in your field.

5. Research Skills

No one goes into a job knowing every possible answer to every possible problem or situation, or even just the answer to every question that comes up. Knowing how to research well and effectively—and knowing when a situation calls for it—is an invaluable skill. The ability to research well also suggests you’re a great self-starter—able to look into confusing things on your own before bugging your manager.

6. Work Ethic

File this under good, old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness. Can people count on you to get the job done? Maybe more importantly, do you hold yourself accountable? Show recruiters that you take your work seriously and are willing to work hard to make sure you do things right.

7. People Skills/Communication

You may match the skills requirement list perfectly for a job, but if you can’t communicate effectively or clearly (or if you’re just really bad at interpersonal skills), you may lose out on more jobs than you know. Brush up your email, phone, and in-person conversation skills, and convey to recruiters that you can express yourself clearly and professionally via all avenues.

8. Passion

Nobody likes an automaton, however effective. Show that you’re qualified, sure, but don’t forget to show just how much energy and positivity you bring to the table. Let your passion, drive, and interest in the field shine through—or fake it if you have to!

About the author

Michael Hoon