Purpose Hacks

How to highlight your top skills and stand out from the crowd

You’ve just found the perfect impact job, now it’s time to create the ultimate resume but how do you know what skills to include? Here’s three tips on how to highlight your top skills. 

Step 1: Compile a list of all your hard and soft skills

“First you need to identify what skill set you have, where your passions lie and what values are important to you.”

Klaudia Watts, Former Corporate Responsibility Manager, PWC  

To identify your hard skills, start by thinking about which skills you have learned through your studies, certification programs, trainings or previous job experiences. Soft skills compliment your hard skills and are usually a combination of social skills, character traits, interpersonal skills, and emotional/social intelligence that guides you through your work and social environment. Soft skills are just as important, if not more than hard skills. 94% of recruiting professionals believe that soft skills trump experience, especially when it comes to promotions for leadership positions. In a world where tech and automation are growing rapidly soft skills are becoming even more significant to employers.

Here are examples of hard and soft skills:

Hard Skills

  1. Data Analysis
  2. Copywriting
  3. Foreign Languages
  4. Accounting
  5. Computer Programming
  6. Mathematics
  7. Graphic Design
  8. Planning / Event Planning
  9. SEO / SEM Marketing
  10. Bookkeeping

Soft Skills

  1. Communication (social, good written and oral)
  2. Teamwork (cooperative, supportive)
  3. Interpersonal Skills (empathetic, patient, passionate)
  4. Adaptability (self-starter, open-minded)
  5. Positive (optimistic, confident)
  6. Integrity (honest, ethical, trustworthy)
  7. Problem-Solving (lateral thinking, persuasive)
  8. Responsibility (reliable, self-disciplined)
  9. Leadership (agile, versatile, collaborative)
  10. Creativity (innovative, insightful)

Pro Tip: As a job seeker, it’s important to highlight who you really are, not just what you think recruiters want to hear.

Step 2: Determine which skills are needed for the job

“There’s many paths to your dream job. Focus on building skills in the functional area that interests you.”

– Jenn Pryce, President & CEO of Calvert Impact Capital

Once you’ve compiled a list of ALL your hard and soft skills, analyze the specific job ad your applying for and pull out the key skills they are seeking. Using these keywords on your resume will help you get noticed, especially if there are many applicants or if the employer uses an Application Tracking System (ATS). These systems filter through the keywords to help employers select which applicants should be interviewed. To help you “beat the bot”, be sure to cross-check your skill set with those required for the job and highlight them on your resume.

Pro tip:  Research people with the same job you are applying for and see which skills they have!

Step 3: Take these skills and sprinkle throughout your resume

“My advice would be to really think about what is meaningful to you personally and how your skills, talents and interests might be utilized best.”

Andrea Cohen Barrack, VP Community Relations and  Corporate Citizenship at TD

Take the time to tailor your skills to the specific job. Now that you have your skill set and those keywords you found from the job ad, think of ways to promote how those skills have been developed or used in your previous jobs. Share them not only in your skill section, but also in the experience section of your resume.

Pro Tip: It’s important to tailor your resume to match the skills mentioned in the job description to help get that fulfilling and rewarding career you deserve.


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Cristine Sousa

Cristine Sousa

Cristine Sousa holds her Master's of International Management with a major in Social Enterprises through the CEMS Global Alliance in Management Education (Ivey School of Management Western University, Nova SBE Portugal, and Erasmus University Rotterdam). She currently leads Bmeaningful's Marketing and Communications and enjoys engaging with the social impact community! When she's not focusing on Bmeaningful, Cristine is teaching dance and barre classes, volunteering her expertise as the President of New Generation Consulting (a Probono global consulting group), learning about new cultures while travelling the world, or being creative on the keys playing the piano! Feel free to connect with her.

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