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Key Skills That You Should Include on Your Resume

Creating a resume is an important part of the job application process and there are plenty of ways to make your resume stand out from the rest. While ensuring your former jobs and other experiences align with the job you’re applying for, it is equally important that you highlight the right set of key skills in the resume to show that you are the best candidate for the job. 

While there are hundreds of skills that you can mention, a handful are crucial for making the hiring managers feel that you researched ahead of time and are well-rounded candidate. Although the skills should change depending on the type of company and role you’re applying for, here are some general guidelines to help you get started. 

What are the Key Skills for Resume that Industry is looking for?

While it makes sense to think that managers hiring for an engineering role want to see the longest and most impressive list of technical skills, that’s just not the case. While all of these skills are crucial to landing the job, companies want to know that you are more valuable than just the technical skills you have. Proving that you are a leader, a creative thinker, and can show value in meetings and not just on the computer will help you land the job. Here are some examples that you can make your own:

1.     Leadership

No matter what job you are applying for, even if it’s an entry position, showing that you are a leader is incredibly important. Leadership does not have to mean managing a team or project. It can mean being vocal about new ideas or problems that arise or even being a crucial member of someone else’s team. 

Employers want to know that the most technical people on their staff can make tough decisions when necessary and be able to tackle problems on their own.

2.     Presentation Skills

Alert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” As an engineer, it is your job to understand and explain extremely technical things to people without an engineering background. 

Being able to boil down complex ideas and problems to your superiors or clients can be a daily or weekly part of any engineering job. Knowing how to present ideas in a concise way is a highly attractive skill for engineers. 

3.     Pressure Management

One hard truth of engineering jobs is the real-world time constraints. As the most technical part of many staffs, engineers are often working the longest hours with the most pressing deadlines. New challenges can arise late into projects so showing your employers that you can handle the pressure is a must. 

This does not mean you have to show that you’re the fastest coder or worker. It can merely mean that you understand how to quantify how long tasks will take, know how to delegate them effectively, and communicate these timelines accordingly. 

4.     Problem-Solving

Solving one problem often leads to two more. It’s a harsh reality of any part of life, from cleaning your house to auditing a business. Showing that you can problem-solve in a business environment demonstrates that you have creativity and critical thinking skills. 

Illustrating that you have problem-solving capabilities comes in two parts. The first part is assessing the problem. Understanding that there is a problem and identifying what the causes are is more challenging than it seems, so try to give some clear examples. The next part is showing that you can come up with creative and efficient solutions. These solutions can’t just make logical sense but have to work well within the constraints of time and money, which are most important to employers. 

5.     Project Management

This skill is important because it essentially wraps all of the above skills, and many more, into one. Leading a project takes leadership, creativity, and a deep understanding of the task at hand. This is where examples of personal projects or large team accomplishments are perfect to explain during your interview. Demonstrating this skill shows that you are organized and efficient while having to take on many responsibilities other than just engineering.

Download our sample resume template here.

The Difference Between Hard vs. Soft Skills

There are essentially two categories all skills can be categorized in. There are hard skills and soft skills. 

Hard Skills

Hard skills are more tangible skills that are acquired through accreditation, education, and practice. Some examples include coding, web development, and prototyping. Hard skills are important to share because they give a value to the efficiency and productivity of an individual.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are more based on personality and not easily transferable. For instance, it’s easy to teach someone how to code, but not as easy to teach someone how to communicate. Some examples of soft skills are communication, negotiation, problem-solving, and pressure management. These skills show employers the type of worker you are and how well you can fit into a particular team or work culture.

Where Should You Display Key Skills on Your Resume?

There are typically two places you can list your skills. The first and main place is in the skills section of your resume. Generally, this section is at the bottom of the page or the right-hand side of your resume and consists of a short-list of bullet points, about 8-12. Each skill should only be listed in name and have no other explanation. You will have the chance to attach stories and examples to each skill during the interview process.

The second place you can add these skills is embedded in your career experience itself. Using words like “Managed a project that..” or “Presented ____ to ____” will illustrate that you have these skills while tying them to a particular event. This practice makes your resume stronger and can save you space. 

Best Skills for Engineering Resumes

While the above list of skills is important for the current engineering job market, there are a few more that should be considered for most engineering positions. As Google points out in its hiring practices, tailor everything to the job you’re applying for.

  • Computer Science
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Communication
  • Research Skills – can include types of research you specialize in.
  • Quality Assurance – can include a specific industry you have experience in.
  • Design Abilities – can include specific products you have experience in.
  • Software Skills – you can list specific software you specialize in. Include if listed in the job description.
  • Supplies Management
  • Data Management – can include types of data you have experience in.
  • Accounting Skills
  • Systems Management
  • Language Skills – types of languages you speak with a level of proficiency (e.g., fluent in French, conversation mandarin)
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Structures
  • Web Development
  • UX/UI
  • Cloud Management
  • Debugging
  • Cyber Security
  • CAD
  • Prototyping
  • Troubleshooting
  • Project Launch
  • Workflow Development
  • Budgeting
  • Project Lifecycle Management

Like we said, there are dozens, if not hundreds of examples you can use. It’s always best to research the job description and company you are applying for to assess key skills that are most valued there and then fit them in your resume. Remember, it doesn’t just matter what you think is the most relevant and valuable, it matters what they think. Think of yourself as a product you need to sell and the skills are what’s on the packaging. 

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