When it comes to figuring out the right skills for resumes, applicants often sell themselves short by failing to paint a comprehensive picture of their demonstrable work experiences and abilities – most notably, their hard skills.
We’ve created a list of the top 10 hard skills employers are looking for, with multiple examples of each. We’ll also show you exactly how to properly showcase them on your resume to help you land more interviews.
Table of Contents:
What are Hard Skills?
Hard skills can be defined as the specific knowledge and abilities that are learned through education or training. Since many industries and professions have a specific list of abilities that are necessary to properly perform the job, they can also be thought of as job-specific skills.
Because of this, putting the right hard skills on your resume is essential. Without them, landing an interview or even getting past applicant tracking systems becomes almost impossible.
Soft skills on the other hand, are not only useful across multiple industries, but are a great tool for standing out from other candidates who all possess the same hard skills.
Top 10 Hard Skills List & Examples
When building your resume or preparing for an interview, having a list of your hard skills is essential. Consider incorporating some of the examples compiled by our experts below in your resume:
1. Computer Technology
In today’s world, all employees must possess at least a basic grasp of computer technology, and many companies require candidates to apply for jobs using technology-based platforms.
Show your prospective employer that you are prepared to embrace the technologies needed to perform your job effectively. BusinessNewsDaily.com recommends these seven skills as important technology-related hard skills examples to put on a resume:
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Social media
- Pivot tables
2. Hard Communication Skills
While effective communication is often viewed as a soft skill, there are several ways that your concrete strengths as a communicator can be demonstrated. Effectively showcasing your communication skills can help you stand out from other candidates.
Take a look at the following examples of hard communication skills you could put on your resume:
- Foreign language
- Digital communication
3. Data Analysis
Data analysis skills are highly valued across a wide variety of industries – not just in finance. The ability to analyze data and then use that information for the benefit of your company is extremely useful.
From a financial perspective, employees who care about the company’s bottom line are highly valued. If you’re good at eliminating waste and can demonstrate you can make the most of the company’s dollar and time, include resource management on your resume.
If you have abilities in these areas, be sure to share that with your prospective employer:
- Data mining
- Data presentation
- Resource management
- Data engineering
- Database management
- Any use of data to explore a problem or make a decision
4. Certifications and Licenses
While they may not be hard skills themselves, certifications and licenses are perfect for proving to potential employers that you possess certain sought after abilities.
If you have any that are specific to the job or industry you are applying to, you should always clearly showcase them on your resume.
Some common types of certifications and licenses include:
- Learning management systems, such as Blackboard, Canvas, or Eagle
- Data management systems, such as Colleague
- Healthcare related licenses
- Certificates, awards, badges, and industry-recognized credentials
The ability to convince consumers to purchase a company’s products or services will always be invaluable to potential employers. After all, success in marketing directly correlates to an increase in revenue.
There are a number of hard marketing skills that have become incredibly sought after in recent years:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Marketing Campaign Management
- Google Analytics
- Content Management Systems (CMS), such as WordPress
6. Project Management
Project management is a profession that now spans across a wide-variety of industries, including information technology, healthcare, and construction. Because of this, the skills related to managing projects have become extremely valuable to many employers.
Some important hard project management skills include:
- Agile Methodologies, such as Scrum
- Project Management Software, such as Trello and Zoho
While being artistically talented is a natural ability, there are certain design elements and tools that must be learned through education or training. As technology has advanced, consumer’s standards for design aesthetics has also increased.
This is both a boon and a curse for all types of designers. While it means your skills are more in demand, it also means there are a number of new tools you might need to learn in order to build a successful career.
Here are some examples of some of the hard design skills most desired by employers:
- User Interface (UI) Design
- User Experience (UX) Design
- Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.)
- Digital Product Design Software, such as InVision and Zeppelin
8. Cloud Computing
As network and internet technology has advanced, more and more businesses have turned to cloud computing as a convenient data storage and management solution. This means that people who have the skills to build and manage cloud networks are in high demand.
The following are some examples of the kind of hard skills employers look for when hiring cloud computing professionals:
- Cloud Architecture
- Storage and Data Management
- Networking Communication
- Cloud Middleware Technologies
- Cloud Applications, such as JSON, Rest, and RPC
9. Mobile & Web Development
Multiple new websites are created every second, and on mobile, over 6,000 apps were released per day in the first quarter of 2018 on Android alone. All of these websites and apps can only be created by people with the necessary mobile and web development skills.
Here are some examples of the kind of hard skills you need to become a successful developer:
- Software Revision Control Systems
- Android Development
- iOS App Development
- Web Architecture and Development Framework
- Angular and Node Apps
10. Network Structure & Security
A company’s data is priceless – if the sensitive data is leaked or stolen due to faulty network security, it could cost a company thousands, if not millions, of dollars. IT professionals who have the skills to protect that data are in higher demand than ever before.
Being a company’s data shield is no easy feat, however, and would require you to learn some of the following:
- Encryption Algorithms
- Authentication Systems
- Risk Assessment
- Virtual and Host-based Firewalls
How to Showcase Hard Skills on Your Resume
Having a hard skills list in your resume skills section is an important first step to win over a hiring manager, but there are a number of other tricks and techniques you can use to truly standout.
Trick Number 1: Put Your Skills Section Towards the Top of Your Resume
If you’re applying for a job where specific hard technical skills are more important than anything else, such as jobs in IT, you should consider putting your skills section above you work experience.
By doing this, you ensure that the hiring manager can quickly and easily find the most important information they’re looking at a glance. In a job where possessing or lacking a certain hard skill is the key to landing an interview, this simple trick can be the difference between your resume being trashed or placed at the top of the pile.
To get a better idea of how this works, click on the images below to see examples of resumes that have skills sections placed near the top:
Trick Number 2: Use Your Professional Experience Section to Highlight Your Skills
Of course, there are many jobs where simply listing your hard skills isn’t enough to impress the hiring manager. If you’re going to have a chance at landing these types of jobs, you need to prove you have the skills necessary to perform them – and a list proves nothing.
For these situations, you can highlight your abilities by demonstrating how you utilized them to accomplish key goals for your company. This is done by creating an achievement-oriented professional experience section in your resume.
The following two examples for a project manager will show you how effective this tactic can be:
Don’t Just Say:
Knowledgeable of Scrum Methodologies
Utilized extensive knowledge of scrum methodologies to complete over 12 projects within budget and on schedule.
The second sentence is far more compelling than the first. It will immediately convince the hiring manager that this applicant has proven abilities with scrum methodologies.
Trick Number 3: Use Your Cover Letter to Describe How You Used Key Hard Skills to Succeed
There’s only so much room on your resume, and sometimes it can be difficult to properly convey everything you need to.
If there are a few key hard skills that were more heavily emphasized in the description for your target job, it’s a good idea to include a more detailed story of how you have used those abilities to excel in the past on your cover letter.