Hiring managers spend less than ten seconds on average looking over a new resume. Not only that, but they know EXACTLY where to look to see if you have what they need. You need to grab their attention. One of the most important ways to do this is by having the right skills listed on your resume. This resume skills list will lay out the soft skills anyone can develop to grab a hiring managers attention.

What do I mean by soft skills? Every employee has a set of soft skills and hard skills. In reality, anyone can develop soft skills. For example, if your time management skills are poor, you can look for ways to improve them in a very short amount of time. Don’t take this to mean that it isn’t hard work. If you’re not a team player, you have to put in hard work to learn to work better with others. This may be a skill you need to develop through your current job, or possibly volunteer work.

Hard skills are more specific to your formal training. For example, someone can put Graphic Design on their resume, but they have likely gone to school to develop that skill, and may need to share specific certifications to impress their employer. If you don’t have Graphic Design as a skill, it’s not a trade you can just learn over the weekend.

I’m going to go through five crucial skills, how you can word them on your resume, and how you can improve them.

1. Time Management

Managing time is important for every single job out there. Everyone should strive to have to this on their resume, but no one should put this on there if they cannot manage their time correctly. Employers want to know that they are not paying you to sit around and waste time on Facebook. You must be able to sit and accomplish your tasks quickly and thoroughly.

How Can I Improve:

Do not underestimate the to-do list. Lists are so effective, and they can really make an impact on your productivity. I suggest three ways you can organize your list: by importance, by workload, or by due date. If you have a hefty task, try getting that out of the way first, that way you can look forward to the smaller and easier tasks after.

Extra tip: add “take a breather” on to your list. If you just list out all of the things you have to accomplish, you may get overwhelmed and take a break too early. Then you get distracted, and wind up getting less done. Add taking a break in there, and you have something to look forward to, making it easier to work through your tasks.

2. Adaptability

Most employers are looking to hire you for a specific job, so you may be thinking “why is adaptability important if I’m being hired for a specific role?” It is very important! There will likely be a time when you are ready for that promotion, or looking to branch out to new responsibilities. An employer needs to know right from the start that you are the ideal person for the current position, and that you might be the perfect person for a higher position, should one open up.

How Can I Improve:

Take a second to imagine yourself in a different position, perhaps one that you may be nervous about at first. To practice, do something out of your comfort zone, and make it a habit. Take a random road trip, go volunteer, allow yourself to feel uncomfortable for a second in your environment, and then adapt. Before you know it, you’ll be able to prove to your employer that you really can thrive anywhere.

3. Self-Motivation

This is a dynamite skill to have, and it does not come easy to everyone. Self-motivation is absolutely necessary if you ever want to be in a leadership position. You employer needs to know that they won’t need to “hold your hand” through every task. You need to prove that you can accomplish things that they haven’t even thought of yet! This requires some critical thinking.

How Can I Improve:

Goals, goals, goals! Set goals! If you are currently employed, think about something you can accomplish before you leave. Make sure it’s something that you haven’t been told to do. (For example: create a brief welcome binder for the person that will take over your position, offering a brief snapshot of the ins and outs of the job) This works out of two levels. One, you Improve the skill, and two, you have something you can tell a prospective employer during an interview. Proof is always welcome when it comes to discussing your skills.

If you are not employed, work on the skill at home. Perhaps some Spring cleaning in the Winter. Or how about a little lawn project, or diy home decor. Being motivated comes from within, and if you can’t be motivated at home, you will struggle with it at work.

4. Effective Communication

Communication is a dying skill. With the rising of texting, social media, and the digital environment, comes the fall of effective face-to-face communication. Whether you need to relay something your boss, immediate supervisor, or you are the boss and you’re brainstorming with your team, communicating the right way makes all the difference in how you are heard. No matter what your position, confidence should shine through you in body language and your speech.

How Can I Improve:

Practice eye contact. It’s no secret that eye contact is a very powerful way to show confidence. Even if you’re not applying for a leadership position, proper eye contact will make you appear authoritative. Practice making more eye contact with your friends and family. Don’t tell them that you are practicing, just do it, and see how they react to your confidence.

Talk to yourself. Sounds crazy right? It’s actually an amazing method to improve your communication. Look in the mirror, and talk. Give yourself a pep talk, practice a speech, ask yourself interview questions and practice your answers. When you get comfortable with your facial expressions and you take note of your speech patterns, you can develop more confidence with your communication.

5. Integrity

Being trustworthy is a big plus to potential employers. They need to know they can trust you. When you have Integrity, you have honesty and a wonder work ethic. Believe it or not, this is not a common trait. Think of how many people you can actually trust. If you had a large sum of money, and you weren’t exactly sure the specific amount, who could you leave to watch that money and know that they won’t take any of it? This is what an employer is doing with you. They’re paying you, but how can they know exactly how much you are earning? How do they know that you are not stealing from them by slacking on your work.

How Can I Improve:

Simple. Work on this every day. Be honest in every aspect your life. Be absolutely positive that you are a person who stays true to their word, don’t take advantage of people, don’t scam, and have a good work ethic. Thorough hiring managers will check references, and how wonderful is it to have a former employer brag about how they didn’t have to think twice about trusting you? That is your goal here.

Go Get ‘Em!

Now you can get out there and improve on these soft skills. If they have true meaning to you, you can show off your skills without hesitation.

If you’re really looking to get a leg up, I suggest you learn some hard skills too while you’re at it. So many companies are looking for digital masterminds, exceptional writers, and outgoing marketing specialists. Always be learning, and your resume skills list will grow into something impressive.

I suggest making an online portfolio. You can build a website with something simple like Wix (see my review here), and it can show how serious you are about your career. Now get out there and get hired!


Join the Conversation


  1. wow thank you so much! I had no idea that skills were one of the main things managers look for when hiring. Also I never thought about putting down these soft skills in my resume.

    While I don’t plan on Looking for a real job anytime soon, I can pass this information to my friends and family that are looking for one.

    Thanks again!

  2. Great list of skills here. I think self motivation and adaptability lead the pack, but really, this list has such an even weight to each skill it’s really hard to put any above the others. Integrity, communication… what a great short list of skills to take on for anyone looking to succeed. I really enjoyed this article!

  3. What a great list of skills you have here! At first I felt that self motivation and adaptability were the most important of the list, but with this list it’s truly hard to put any above the others. Integrity… Communication… I applaud the job you did putting together a short list of such important soft skills for anyone who’s looking to succeed. I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to more from you 🙂

  4. Yes Sydney,

    Soft skills are very important in order to get hired.  I find time management and communication skills are very important in this day and age. Things can easily be misunderstood when written, but can be properly understood with face to face and non-verbal communication.

    An art we can all get better at.

    Also being a reliable and punctual worker is a soft skill that is also needed  Even when working for yourself.  We may work for ourselves but still need to be accountable to people we work with or do work for.

    I really enjoyed reading this and thanks for sharing.

    We live to learn!

  5. As the year draws to an end it is time for self evaluation; what were are some of my shortcomings in the year coming to an end and how do I make corrections, improve on myself as a person and develop other skills necessary for a successful year ahead of us all. Folks with soft skills have a higher chance of excelling than their equals.

  6.  You are so right about those 5 main factors. I am from hotel management and all those 5 elements are keys for selecting any candidate. Time management is very important for our work quality. Setting a right time for a right task will help you to work more effectively, as you said in your post any delays on your work can distract you from doing your current task. Adaptability is another important factor. From my own experience, not many people are ready to adopt or take on their shoulder some extra work… Typical question “Why should I do this, it’s not in my working contract?” Self-motivation has a lot to do with Adaptability. Integrity you can show with your open mind and effective communication. 

    Thank you for sharing such a great post! 

  7. Hi Sydney,

    all the skills you listed are more than important! I already use some affirmations and I do meditation, that is how I motivate and bold myself. Also, I like to feed animals outside, it gives me some nice feeling inside. I like to draw, build something, sometimes I even force myself to do some random stuff, just to keep that energy flow and to develop that skill to always go forward, no matter the day and circumstances.

    You are right about practicing eye contact and also talking to myself. I imagine that I have audience in front of me, and I talk and improvise as much as I can.

    I don’t do it so much in front of the mirror, but I will try that also – thanks for the advice.

    Time management and adaptability are a ’must’ for any job. It takes time to dicipline yourself, but it’s worth it.

    Integrity is something that suits me. I am ethical and l like to see people satisfied with what I give them. It is such a pleasure to know that your work is doing some good for others and that you can lay in bed and go to sleep relaxed and with a clear mind.

    Your resume is great, I have to say!Keep up the good work.

    Best wishes,Susan

  8. I certainly agree, these skills are crucial when it comes to hiring people for managerial positions. But if I were to choose only two, I would say that time management and integrity are the most important. One needs to be able to manage their time wisely in order to get things done on time. I think this has something to do with how systematic and well-organized you are. In regards to integrity, I don’t think people will hire you if they don’t trust you. 

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