Top Skills You Need on Your Resume

The job market has its ups and downs but is always competitive. Because of this, it is imperative that you do all you can to set yourself above and apart from the competition by honing and highlighting your skills that are in high demand by employers. To help you on this path, below are the six skills and qualities most desired by employers.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) included in their Job Outlook 2020 report the results of a survey in which it asked employers which of the skills and qualities they value most in candidates. The following are six of the most important, listed in the order of importance based on the results of the survey.

Key Takeaways

  • Employers receive thousands of resumes. To get noticed, yours has to stand out and include the skills employers desire in their employees.
  • Six of the most important skills, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) are problem-solving skills, the ability to work in a team, a strong work ethic, analytical and quantitative skills, communication skills, and leadership qualities.
  • When applying for a job, be sure your skills match the requirements needed for the job so as to not waste your time or the employer's time.

6 Top Skills You Need On Your Resume

Problem-Solving Skills

Problems will eventually arise in every organization, but how well you respond to these problems will determine how you set yourself apart from your peers and help the company that you work for. Making decisions that are in the best interest of the company, and solving problems with the most efficiency, while also limiting damages, are traits of a good candidate.

The ability to tackle a problem and overcome it and push your group and company forward is a trait not everyone has and one that companies seek the most in their candidates.

Ability to Work in a Team

More often than not, your job will require you to work with others in order to get tasks and projects completed. This means that potential employers will want to be sure that you take kindly to sharing ideas, that you are open to ideas and input from others, and that you are willing to put the team and the company's interests ahead of your own.

Strong Work Ethic

Working hard is the name of the game. Working hard, but also efficiently, and putting in the extra work to do it well and not settling for the minimum is noticed by employers. A strong work ethic is the opposite of being lazy and one that is crucial to a successful career.

Analytics/Quantitative Skills

Every company measures its success based on numbers. The numbers that apply to you may depend on the department in which you work. For example, if you are in customer service, you may need to understand why more customers call during a certain period. Your ability to understand the statistics as they relate to the company can help you to implement plans that help improve efficiency and help the company to make more money.

Communication Skills (Written)

In order to get work done, you may need to communicate with multiple departments in the organization. This can come in handy when you need to get something expedited for a customer, or if you need to understand how a function or process works.

The least important skill to have according to NACE's survey is fluency in a foreign language.

You will also need to effectively communicate with customers and vendors. An effective communicator is often a good motivator, which means you can get others to do their jobs. Being clear and concise in your work life is important to your success and to that of the company.


Companies love individuals that are able to take on a task themselves and push it forward without much hand-holding. Individuals that take an initiative and are able to bring people together to complete a task and make tough decisions are those who get things rolling in a company and continue to push it further.

Being someone who inspires others through their conduct and their work ethic are those employees that can take the company in a better direction.

What Skills Should You Put on Your Resume?

The skills you should put on your resume should be the skills that you have that pertain to the job. Such skills would include presentation skills, team-building skills, computer skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, and people skills.

How Many Skills Should You Put on Your Resume?

The number of skills you put on your resume should correspond with the skills you have and the specific job you are applying for. For example, if you are great at fixing cars but are applying for a computer programming job, then it wouldn't make sense to put the auto-mechanic skills on your resume. In general, having five to 10 skills on your resume should suffice.

What Are Professional Skills?

Professional skills are skills that directly demonstrate competency in a specific job. These are the skills that can be used in the workplace to get a job done, done well, and efficiently. Such skills include communication, presentation, and leadership skills. They also involve the specific technical skills needed for a specific job.

The Bottom Line

You should never forget that your resume is what will get you the interview, therefore it is up to you to sell yourself well enough so that when a potential employer sees it, they know right away that you are a good candidate for them. Make sure that your resume is up to date and showcases all of your skills and qualities.

When applying for a job, do your research so that you know the skills required by that employer. The importance of skills may vary among different employers and will also depend on the job for which you are applying. Be sure to highlight the skills for the job you want on your resume.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). "Job Outlook 2020."

Take the Next Step to Invest
The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Investopedia receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where listings appear. Investopedia does not include all offers available in the marketplace.