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Make Your Skills Shine

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe hard and soft skills.
  • Demonstrate different ways to include skills in a resume.
  • Explain the importance of positive and engaging words.

Words, Words, Words

You have a very limited space to get your point across and capture a manager’s attention. So if your words don’t equate to how managers can contact you or describe your relevant experience and skills, it’s best to cut them out.

Linda knows that the real effort is in making sure each word in her resume means something to the folks at Cloud Kicks. This is especially true when it comes to highlighting her skills.

Skills Pay the Bills

It takes the right balance of skills to get virtually any job done right. More often than not, it’s a mix between hard and soft skills. And no, we’re not talking about skills dealing with things like hard sedimentary rocks and soft Astro plushies. 

To illustrate, check out this table of example skills.

Hard Skills
Soft Skills
Bilingual or Multilingual
Effective Communication
Salesforce Management
Teamwork
Database Management
Creativity
Statistical Analysis
Critical Thinking
Mobile Development
Adaptability

These skill sets can go by other names. For example, hard skills can also go by technical skills or industry-specific skills. Soft skills can also be referred to as interpersonal skills.

Ultimately, skill sets give recruiters and managers a picture of your technical knowledge or training (hard skills) and how you work and collaborate with others (soft skills).

Skills and More Skills: How to List Them on a Resume

In the previous unit, Linda lists her skills near the top of her resume under Skills and Expertise. While creating a specific skills section is a good way to make sure they stand out, you can also list them next to your experience. Linda toys with this idea in her resume.

University, Salesforce Administrator
Month Year – Present

  • Manage Salesforce recruitment app for University (Salesforce administration)
  • Introduced process automation, eliminating 10+ manual processes and saving 400+ hours of manual work a year (automation, strategic planning)
  • Project managed new functionality from requirements gathering and design, to code/declarative development and deployment, resulting in 15 custom objects and 20% adoption improvement (project management)
  • Collaborate across front and back office to establish clear and repeatable process for requesting new function/function change and enablement (collaboration, communication)

Words Can Make or Break Your Resume

There’s also the matter of making the words you use positive and engaging. Consider these two sentences.

  1. I had to configure a custom object because our sales team was complaining about the functionality.
  2. I proactively created a custom object to make our sales team more efficient.

Both can be true. Yet sentence 2 is more engaging and positive. Here’s why.

Linda frowning holding her head and maybe has a thought bubble with jagged lines and confusion swirls.

In sentence 1, “I had to” opens you up to a lot of assumptions and questions right away. First, it suggests that you were forced to do something. In this case, the sales team forced you to do this work. Now that we’re in this somewhat negative mindset as an audience reading this sentence: Did you forget to conduct the appropriate requirements gathering before you rolled out the app in the first place? Did you not communicate the process clearly? Did you skip enabling them, and thus, they complained? This sentence also makes it sound like there is an adversarial relationship with the sales team. Ouch!

Linda smiling, giving a thumbs up.

Sentence 2 stands out better and puts you in a positive light. With “I proactively created,” you’re already presenting yourself as someone who thinks ahead. You take the initiative to do things that improve the business. In this case, you made the sales team more efficient. Now, the audience is in a more positive mindset: How did you do it? What kind of communication and enablement did you do? Why are you so awesome? OK, we all hope they ask us that last question. But in all seriousness, just a simple change of words to explain the same event can make or break your resume.

Linda has already bookmarked several pages listing suggested skills, words, and what words to avoid. We’ve added them in the Resources as well. Linda compares her resume against these and proceeds to tweak her resume until it’s just right.

Almost There

Linda is almost there, and so are you! In the next unit, we look at what you need to do to put the finishing touches on your resume before sending it out.

Resources