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Must have skills to include on your resume

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

Whether you’re taking that first leap into the job market, or looking to finally switch industries – having a substantial resume can help you broaden your horizons. This involves demonstrating a solid set of both hard and soft skills, abilities that prove both your technical prowess and workplace character.

Below, we break down the critical hard and soft skills to include in any resume, helping boost your chances of landing that ideal job. 

How far back should my resume go? 

With any resume (regardless of experience), career experts advise to keep your most recent and relevant job positions a priority. Long-winded CVs are likely to get glossed over by potential employers, and any critical experiences that truly matter may get overlooked. 

As a general rule of thumb, job-seekers are recommended to go no further than 10-25 years back when writing their resume. If you’ve got relevant experience going back another 10 years (making your timeline a total of 20 years), it may be helpful to include these positions as well, as they could also demonstrate career progress and continuity. 

Jobs within the IT industry may differ, however. With trends and technologies evolving at a rapid pace, it may be worth sticking to roles and experiences that currently still relevant and in-demand in the field. 

What is the difference between hard and soft skills? 

Every job, regardless of industry, will require a balanced combination of hard and soft skills. Hard skills (also known as technical skills) are focused on your expertise or ability to perform a specific task in the workplace. For example, a software developer will require the typical hard skills of programming, cyber security, and UI design in order to succeed in their role.

Soft skills, on the other hand, concentrate on how you carry out these activities. For a software developer, these would include skills in written or verbal communication; critical thinking; and creativity.

Practical experience and formal education can help you strengthen both your hard and soft skillsets.
Online courses are an often recommended go-to for building these out, as they not only provide professional training in your required skills areas – but they also offer a highly flexible and accessible way of acquiring them. Upskilled, for example, offers a wide range of online courses catering to various industries; resulting in nationally-recognised qualifications and a learning experience tailored to a student’s needs. 

What skills do employers look for in a resume?

While one’s resume skills will differ depending on their potential employer, the skillsets listed below are transferrable across most industries – and will almost always leave a positive impression on anyone reading your application.

Top hard skills to put on your resume

IT skills 
According to Ploy statistics, about 87% of jobs in Australia currently require digital literacy skills. As we grow ever-more reliant on technology, the ability to navigate these new computing tools, systems, and services are a must. 
As such, having basic IT skills in your resume (such as Microsoft Office, social media management, and cloud computing) are critical to effectively compete in today’s job market. Advanced IT skills (such as a wide breadth of programming knowledge) give you an even sharper advantage, and further future-proof your opportunities for Australia’s digital future. 

Marketing abilities
Marketing skills are beneficial for any business, as they demonstrate an understanding of consumer behaviour, advertising, and sales. They could also exhibit your proficiency in social media platforms, tools popularly used among most businesses for building brand awareness.

Such skills needn’t come from a specific marketing role, but can also be drawn from your side projects or extracurricular activities, such as online blogging or social media content creation. Examples of such skills could include knowledge of SEO, content writing, e-mail marketing, and navigating Adwords or Google Analytics. 

Data analysis 
Next to one’s digital abilities, data skills are also highly sought-after by Australian employers today. Not only do they pave the way for lucrative roles in big data and data analytics, but they also lend to transferrable skills in research, database management, forecasting, and data reporting. 

The ability to gather and interpret data can help you bolster the decision-making process in your organisation, effectively making an impact on its future growth and direction. 

Writing abilities 
Lastly, the ability to write clear, concise information is an invaluable asset to any job, regardless of industry. Such skills can help you in the mundane, everyday tasks (such as e-mail and letter writing) as well as more complex assignments (such as copywriting or creating business presentations). They demonstrate your ability to communicate and present ideas in an articulate yet easy-to-understand manner. 

Writing skills can be drawn from a wide variety of previous experiences, including social media content creation, creative writing projects, or past business reports you may have generated. 
Top soft skills to put on your resume

In a business landscape of rapidly changing trends, technologies, and skills demands, it pays to be as adaptable as possible. Employers will look highly upon your ability to welcome and take advantage of change, as this demonstrates your resilience, willingness to learn, and self-management. 

Highlight your adaptability skills in your resume by providing examples of when you embraced organisational change or sought new opportunities due to changing market trends. These could include new technologies you may have learned to use, how you optimised your productivity during the pandemic lockdowns, or new responsibilities you may have undertaken due to unexpected company changes. 

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills encompass your ability to communicate, collaborate, and build positive relationships in the workplace. These abilities can make or break the first impression you leave on a company, and are a telling measure of your emotional intelligence (EI). According to a survey by specialist recruiter Robert Half, about 95% of general managers value a high level of EI among potential new candidates.

You can demonstrate your interpersonal skills on your resume by highlighting instances of when you successfully collaborated, assisted, or managed others. Your interpersonal skills will also shine through the interview process, so be sure to put your best foot forward. 

Creative abilities 
While creativity is often stereotyped to be an exclusive skill of the arts, having a certain level of creativity can help you succeed in any job, regardless of your field. These skills help bolster one’s ability to innovate, think out of the box, and question the current practices an organisation may take for granted. They also lend to one’s ability to experiment and take advantage of new opportunities.

Examples of creativity to include on your resume could involve organisational problems you helped solve, projects you participated in, and how you may have helped boost the efficiency or productivity of a certain company process.  

Critical thinking
Finally, critical thinking abilities are a must in any role or industry. These skills go hand-in-hand with problem solving, demonstrating your ability to analyse information and come to well-informed judgements or decisions.  
Be sure to highlight your critical thinking skills in your resume by pointing to any past company strategies you may have helped develop, complex assignments you took part in, or times you performed data analysis and evaluation. 

Looking to boost the skills on your resume?

Upskilled currently offers a wide range of training programs across Australia’s top industries, helping you strengthen the hard and soft skills you need for the workplace. Get a crash course in rising fields through our bootcamps and short courses – or gain a thorough exploration of demanded sectors through our certificate, diploma, and degree courses. Best of all, each program is delivered online; helping you study at a time, place, and pace that suits you best.

Build the skills you need for the career you desire, and enquire with us on a course today. 

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