This is a guest post by Gene Rice and Courtney Bejgrowicz, authors of Grad to Grown-Up: 68 Tips to Excel in Your Personal and Professional Life

The resume is an integral part of any job search. It has one essential purpose: secure the interview! If you want to even leave the inbox and get invited to a first round, your resume must be relevant, specific, and well-edited. You have heard this time and time again.

But what can you do once you have the resume basics complete? How else can you stand out and jump the list? The “Relevant Skills” section.

This is often a small section at the bottom of a resume – some people even omit it. But this is the place you can stand out.

Don’t have any job-specific skills yet? Wrong! Think outside the box.

Of course you should only list skills that match the job description, but you would be surprised by how many pertinent skills you have that will help you excel in the workplace (even without prior work experience). Skills can come from your studies, volunteer work, clubs, interests, and training. For example, have you used Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote throughout your education? You might be able to list Microsoft Office proficiency as a skill.

Skills Employers Desire

1. Soft Skills:

Soft skills are more subjective and interpersonal. They are universal, and examples include problem solving, adaptability, collaboration, and leadership.

2. Hard Skills:

Hard skills are quantifiable and teachable, usually specific to a job. Examples include speaking other languages, data presentation, typing speed, data analysis, research skills, and writing ability.

Take some time to think about the skills you have acquired and how they transfer to the jobs you are pursuing.

Always include the skills that match the job description best. Do not include every skill that you have; this may be read as inauthentic and impertinent. You want to include five to ten skills on your resume and have a good mix of both soft and hard skills.

Some companies also have software that will scan resumes for keywords and phrases. This is why looking at the job description and finessing your skills to match it are so important. Being able to check “Complete Resume” off your list might feel rewarding, but the best resumes are not static documents. The best resumes come from people who study the job offering and present only the most relevant skills they possess.

So sit down at your laptop, list as many skills as you can come up with, and then pull from that list the ones that speak most to the position you hope to get. And remember, only list skills you truly have and can deliver on. If you list Adobe photoshop as a skill but have only used the program to make a collage, you will not be able to help when expected to seamlessly add someone into a photo for printing. Be prepared to perform!


About the Authors:

Father / daughter team Gene Rice and Courtney Bejgrowicz are the authors of GRAD TO GROWN-UP:  68 Tips To Excel In Your Personal And Professional Life.  Gene is a leading executive recruiter, cofounder and chairman of Rice Cohen International, keynote speaker, and executive coach.  Courtney is a high school English teacher and adds a freshness and witty viewpoint as she relates following her father’s advice.  For more information, please visit