Ch. 5: Skills for Your Resume
In addition to your qualifications listed under each job posting, your resumé should include a skills section to highlight other areas of expertise that you've developed along the way. Skills for your resumé can include things like: fluency in a foreign language, the mastery of a particular computer program, your ability to connect with people and build relationships, or anything else you can think of that your prospective employer may find valuable in a candidate.
Listing skills on a resumé isn’t complicated, but it should be done with the same care as everything else in the document. It's important to speak to your strengths and demonstrate what you've done with those skills, because employers are looking for someone to solve their problem(s), and they want results.
What is a Resume Skills Section?
The skills section of a resumé is typically shown after your "Experience" section and is traditionally labeled as "Additional Skills," "Further Skills," "Proficiencies," or simply as "Skills." The skills section is meant to supplement your experiences with other useful capabilities you've developed along the way, as long as they apply to the position you're applying to.
It's important to stay relevant throughout your resumé, but especially in the resumé skills section. It is here that many think that including filler —to make the resumé seem not so empty — is the way to go, but it is a definitely a mistake. Don't be afraid of white space. Cluttering it with irrelevant subjects will just make it more difficult for the reader to extract the information they need, making you look unprofessional in the process.
Your resumé is a marketing tool used to land the interview, and nothing more. If you are marketing yourself in a true, to-the-point, and stellar light, then you’ve done all you can.
Any skill that you can transfer to your new project is important to prospective employers. Transferrable skills could be anything acquired from an old job to skills obtained from hobbies, sports, volunteering, and more.
Demonstrate what you’ve learned and speak to the skills that are relevant to the position. Target the skills specifically, even if it doesn't relate to the job; if it is relevant to what you will do at the job, then include it.
For instance, let’s say you climbed K2 (the second highest mountain in the world); not only is that impressive, but it shows you have determination, drive, perseverance, are physically fit, set high goals, and reach your goals. Employers love those kind of qualities, even if they’re a little unrelated to the specific job at hand, because those skills are transferrable to the workplace.
These are the skills that are needed for the job you want. If you are applying for a nursing job, you need to speak to the skills and qualifications you have that apply to that specific position. These job-specific skills are most likely found in your most recent position, schooling, or training, and the more fine-tuned your career becomes, the more apparent they'll be.
Display the most relevant job-specific skills first, followed by any additional skills.. This can be organized in a list (bulleted or not), just like you would under your job responsibilities. Just be sure to demonstrate something you accomplished using those skills.
Skills for Your Resume
Below are the main areas in which your resumé skills section should revolve around. Each of these are vital, but only some will be applicable to the hospital or healthcare position in which you are applying.
The best place to start when determining which of these you should focus on is the hospital job posting itself. Within the posting, you should be able to gather the most important experience and skills necessary to perform the responsibilities of the position.
Identify the most needed skills and take a targeted approach in not only explaining that you have those skills, but how you've used those skills in the past, specifically.
How well do you assess situations and pinpoint the problems? This skill is greatly desired by employers as it works hand-in-hand with your reasoning and problem-solving skills to quickly and efficiently solve potential issues that may arise.
Analytical skills involve quickly gathering information and searching for differing perspectives to come up with solutions. List examples of how you've assessed situations in the past, identified the core issue, and created and implemented solutions to those problems.
Nearly all positions today require some degree of proficiency with a computer. Do you know how to type, use Microsoft Office (be specific with each program you can use), use Google and all of it’s apps? For extra impact, demonstrate how you have used these tools and devices and accomplished something. The most important among basic technical skills, across all jobs, include:
Reasoning skills generally revolve around problem-solving and finding solutions to the various issues that may arise in your position. Your value to the employer is increased with each problem you can solve for them, further securing your job.
If you are great at solving problems in a particular area, highlight what you've done in the past to solve the issues that arose for your former employers.
This is one of the most highly-mentioned skills that employers want to see in candidates. They value communication and social skills because they want employees that will fit well into the dynamic of their workplace and be relatable to customers and/or patients.
This category also includes your proficiency with foreign languages, your ability to maintain patient or client relationships, and how you openly resolve issues that arise with your coworkers. Whether it’s writing, email, listening, or speech, be sure to add communication to your skills section by including an example of how you've used your communication skills to accomplish a goal for a former employer.
Employers want well-organized candidates that will be able to juggle the potentially hectic days that will inevitably arise in your future position.
Unorganized employees are much less productive, essentially costing the employer much more to maintain. If you've organized events, maintained schedules or calendars, or set and met goals for your past employers, include it on your resumé.
The majority of today's positions require working with a team of like-minded individuals to accomplish goals, so it's vital to have the skills to work well with others. This skill relates closely with your communication skills and should be highlighted alongside them.You can even portray both, simultaneously, within one bullet point.
If you've ever created and maintained a team, set and achieved goals amongst a group of people, or simply helped build trust amongst a group of people, write about your part in building and sustaining the idea of teamwork. Let this be an example of how well you work with others.
How adaptable are you as an employee? Adaptability involves your availability and flexibility during unconventional hours (such as on-call shifts), your ability to stay open-minded and grasp diverse concepts, your ability to set and adjust priorities, and your ability to flow with an evolving workplace. Employers are always looking for candidates that can keep up with advancing technologies and unforeseen changes to their work environment.
What they do not want is someone who's stuck in their ways and incapable of change. To show how adaptable you are, use an example from one of your previous jobs in which you thrived when the status quo was shaken up, or use an example of when you had to quickly change course but successfully completed the project or goal, despite the change. Show how you manage and dominate change.
How well do you manage conflict or inspire others to greater heights? Interpersonal skills relate closely to teamwork and communications, and can sometimes be shown through the same example, leaving more space for other skills or achievements. As with teamwork, employers are looking for candidates that will fit in well with their current team and can work well with others.
They are not looking for someone who will disrupt the current work environment and cause conflict. To portray your interpersonal skills, show how you've mediated a conflict in the past, either between coworkers or patients/customers/clients. Alternatively, show how you've inspired others to achieve a goal that, without your insight, would not have done so.
Leadership skills revolve around your ability to take charge and manage others, including your ability to lead them to meet specific goals or priorities, in a successful manner. Although some people are natural-born leaders, everyone exhibits some degree of leadership, whether they know it or not. Take a moment to look inside yourself to discover when you’ve either led by action or example, to move others to do something great.
Here’s why. Most employers don't just want an individual who will simply come to work, do their job, and go home.Instead, many are looking for candidates that will go above and beyond their expectations, offering much more than what the employer originally expected of them. Leadership skills should be displayed through examples of past achievements or goals that you led a group or team to meet. Avoid subjective statements like, "a goal-driven leader," or other statements that include no evidence of your success; employers just won't buy it.
Over the past 30 years, diversity has become an increasingly-important criteria for the workplace. Multicultural awareness is very important for the modern workplace and it is vital that you remain open to new concepts and ideas, as well as to demonstrate sensitivity to the cultures of others.
Disagreement is fine, but you must remain professional at all times and remain aware of the differing opinions around you. To show your multicultural strengths, include an example of a situation that you resolved, whether between coworkers or patients/customers/client, and the result of your solution.
The best skills for any healthcare resumé are those that are well-aligned and supplement the position, the hospital, the clinic, or the company that you're interested in. However, don't go overboard trying to find experiences and skills for each of the above categories.Instead, try to figure out which of those would be most valuable to the position you're looking into and use examples for each of those. Remember, most recruiters and hiring managers spend less than a minute on each resumé they come across, so brevity is your friend here. Avoid being too lengthy and mention only the valuable aspects of your previously acquired skills, and you'll be in good shape.