Key Personal Skills For A Resume (And How To Highlight Them)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 February 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A resume is the first contact an employer has with a potential candidate. Including skills on your resume is a great way to help employers decide if you are a suitable candidate for the open position. Knowing about the key personal skills you can include in a resume can help you write an effective document. In this article, we define personal skills for a resume, provide some examples and discuss how to list your skills and highlight them on your resume.

What Are Personal Skills For A Resume?

Personal skills for a resume are intangible qualities and skills that employers look for in their potential hires for a position. These skills often impact how people work and complete tasks. They are not measurable, but they significantly impact your work ethic and interpersonal interactions. Your personal skills typically develop from the habits you acquire as you gain experience. You can imbibe personal skills by practising and undertaking training for skill enhancement.

9 Important Personal Skills For A Resume

Some personal skills are transferable because they apply to almost all job types. Other skills are more general and can apply to any aspect of your life. Here are some personal skills you can mention on your resume:

1. Problem-solving

Problem-solving attitude demonstrates your ability to react quickly and resolve problems when they occur. Professionals utilise problem-solving abilities to analyse and understand a situation, develop potential strategies and implement solutions. Employers value candidates who can assess a situation from various viewpoints and make an informed decision before implementing any solution or strategy.

Related: How To Highlight Problem-Solving Skills On A Resume

2. Motivation

Motivated employees usually have the internal desire to do well at work. Self-motivated employees usually require less supervision because they can perform their duties or projects with greater independence and confidence. A motivated employee also inspires others to make their best effort at work and helps to enhance overall workflow.

3. Time management

Professionals who possess time management skills can complete their projects efficiently and reach their goals. Employers value candidates who can monitor their work, meet their objectives and ask for assistance when necessary. Professionals with excellent time management skills typically have good organisational skills, such as the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously.

4. Communication

Communication skills enable you to convey information effectively to others. Excellent communicators understand how to send their messages through various channels, like email and in-person communication. Active listening is also a significant part of good communication. It is a personal skill that benefits you while working in an agile setting to achieve common goals.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

5. Teamwork

Employers value employees with teamwork skills. Collaboration and negotiation are examples of teamwork abilities. Working effectively as a team member can help you complete tasks on time and meet deadlines efficiently.

Related: Examples Of Teamwork Skills (And How To Improve Them)

6. Reliability

As an employee, your reliability refers to how trustworthy you are. Supervisors and coworkers are more likely to have faith in employees who can maintain confidentiality and keep their promises. Dependable professionals meet their deadlines, accomplish their objectives and keep their promises to others or their team.

7. Leadership

Leadership skills help you guide other people, build confidence and increase morale. It can assist you in directing, overseeing and motivating others in meetings, team projects and any conversations. A good leader facilitates the processes and activities of their team accordingly to achieve organisational goals as an active member of the group.

Related: 12 Ways To Build Leadership Strategies At The Workplace

8. Adaptability

Adaptability is the capacity to modify your actions or behaviour in the event of an unexpected circumstance. Employers prefer candidates with skills of easily adapting to variable work processes and environments. With a flexible and adaptable approach, employees can gain knowledge, take on new challenges and adapt to new situations in the workplace. Flexible employees can easily take on additional responsibilities whenever required and adjust strategies if there are changes in guidelines, processes, client expectations or trends.

9. Empathy

Empathy is an essential personal skill for individuals who want to succeed professionally. It helps you to connect with others and comprehend their perspectives and emotions. Developing empathy can facilitate the growth of other virtues, such as gratitude and compassion, which can be essential for teamwork and collaboration.

How To List Personal Skills On Your Resume

Follow these steps if you are not sure how to list personal skills on your resume:

1. Review the job description and research the company

Usually, employers list the skills they are looking for in the job description. Even if they do not do so, it is beneficial to research the company to check if you possess any relevant skills. After reviewing the job description and researching the company, add the personal skills they are looking for in potential candidates on your resume to convey your suitability for the job.

Related: Include These Personal Details In A Resume (Learn How And Why)

2. Use the keywords in the job description

Many companies use applicant tracking system (ATS) software to scan resumes to check for eligibility before an employer looks at them. The software looks for certain skills words in the resumes of candidates. To increase your chances of being shortlisted, ensure your resume contains similar keywords mentioned in the job description.

3. Demonstrate examples of how you apply these skills

Consider mentioning specific instances of your past work experience that reflect how you used your personal skills. For instance, instead of saying you have excellent teamwork skills, say that you worked on a large project with 45 team members. Your skills are implied in the description of your experience.

4. Mention the skills in a dedicated section

It can also be helpful for prospective employers to assess your personal skills if you mention them in a dedicated section, along with your technical attributes. Include each skill in a bulleted list and ensure that it matches the skills listed in the job description. This conveys to the employers that you are aware of the credentials they are looking for in their potential hires, which can increase the chances of your resume getting shortlisted.

Examples Of Personal Skills In Different Sections Of A Resume

In a resume, you can show your personal skills in various sections. Here are examples of different sections of a resume showing how you can highlight your skills:

Personal skills in the professional summary section

The professional summary section of your resume allows you to highlight your professional experience and skills. Include your personal skills and achievements in your summary to convince the hiring manager to review your resume. Here are two examples of professional summary sections that highlight personal skills:

  • I am a dedicated individual with effective communication and exceptional customer service skills seeking a client relationship executive role where I can apply my personal skills to increase customer satisfaction and enhance the company's reputation.

  • Adaptable and reliable professional with eight years of experience in the finance industry looking to work for AB Enterprises to apply problem-solving and collaboration skills to improve workflow and achieve company objectives successfully to further my career.

Personal skills in the resume skills section

Consider including skills in this section that support your work experience and are also relevant to the role. Here is a way you can add relevant skills to your resume:

Relevant skills: Collaboration | Adaptability | Problem-solving | Critical thinking | Flexibility | Communication and organisation

Personal skills in a resume work experience section

In the work experience section, you can detail the responsibilities you have held. Consider mentioning the key duties you performed which show your personal skills. Below are two examples of highlighting skills in the work experience section:

  • Actively listened to customer complaints and empathised with them while resolving their issues using the company's refund software and reduced customer turnover by 60%.

  • Motivated the team members by allowing them to contribute to the group activities and making the environment more collaborative.

Tips For Highlighting Personal Skills

Here are some more tips to help you highlight your personal skills on your resume:

  • Use action verbs. Describe your skills using strong verbs that reflect your experience with a specific skill. You can use words like collaborated, encouraged or resolved to emphasise your professional approach.

  • Mention measurable data. While including your skills in the past work experience section, include related metrics to highlight your skill level. For example, you can specify that you successfully resolved 100 client queries in a week, which helped increase customer retention by 30%.

  • List job-specific skills. Certain employers may mention any job-specific skill in the job description. Review the job description to find any such skills and highlight them on your resume, if applicable.

  • Proofread: Ensure you proofread your overall resume to ensure you give proper emphasis to relevant skills and avoid repetition. You can ask a friend or family member to review and share feedback on areas you can improve.

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