Add These Skills to Your Resume Right Now
You know to include your experience, education, and even your awards on your résumé. But "it's critical to push beyond just including what people might expect to see on our résumés because it helps us stand out from the pack," says Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster and a former corporate recruiter.
"We need to highlight our valuable skills others may not necessarily have, or know how to market," she continues. "We need to distinguish ourselves from the candidate pool — and by highlighting specific skill sets, we're accomplishing just that." But what skills, accomplishments, and other things will employers want to see? Start with these 13 and add them to your résumé ASAP.
1. You speak a foreign language
Fluid en Español? Speaking Spanish — or any foreign language, for that matter — makes you marketable, says Salemi. It's a skill worth mentioning whether it directly applies to the job you want. The company could be expanding into other markets unbeknownst to you, Salemi points out. Even in a worst-case scenario, adding this skill, she says, "can create an opportunity to connect with the interviewers if they speak the same language as well."
2. You've been quoted or featured in media
When someone spotlights your work or your expertise, don't let that magazine or blog be the only place you show off. "Being quoted or featured in media — especially industry publications — adds weight and gravitas to your résumé document," says Dawn Rasmussen, certified résumé writer and president of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. "This demonstrates subject matter expertise in your particular topic or field, as well as leadership."
3. You've got skills — leadership skills
A true leader influences others. By that simple definition, everyone is a leader — and companies want to hire leaders. "Candidates should think about those times when they've been able to develop or change someone’s point of view and how it has created value or a benefit," says Sharlyn Lauby, founder of HR Bartender and author of Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers. "It could have been a policy that helped streamline a process. Or an idea that increased revenue. Organizations want to hire change makers."
4. You studied abroad
You were sure to mention you graduated with honors — but you left off you scored those good grades while living in another country. More than a GPA, however, a prospective employer wants to see your study abroad program. "It demonstrates your ability to venture outside of your comfort zone — heck, outside of our culture," says Salemi, who adds that if you did an internship overseas, that should make it on to your résumé, too. "It shows your ability to adapt to other working cultures," she explains.
5. You've traveled abroad
Do you need to order a new passport because you've run out of room for fresh stamps? If you're a globetrotter, you can share your passion for traveling on your résumé, Salemi says. "It can be a great way of showing that you’re worldly and think about the big picture," she explains. "Be prepared for it to come up during the interview — maybe you'll start discussing your desire to travel to Iceland or backpack throughout Europe or visit an active volcano in Sicily. Whatever the case, enjoy engaging in conversation with interviewers because you never know what topics you will connect on."
6. Your incomplete education
You had every intention of earning a bachelor's degree, but you stopped just one semester shy. That's OK. Completing educational courses is an accomplishment, even if you don't have a degree to show for it. "Life happens, and sometimes the best-laid plans go by the wayside when things take a sharp left turn," says Rasmussen. "If you didn’t complete college, at least give yourself credit for the money, effort, and time you did invest in yourself by saying, “program coursework in general studies” at the college or university you attended."
7. You shadowed a career superstar
Your university — or even your company — may have offered you the opportunity to shadow a successful employee in your field. It wasn't an internship — it's actually called an externship — but you learned something valuable from the experience. "Even something that may seem minor like this externship program shouldn’t be dismissed on your résumé," says Salemi, who says adding this experience to your résumé might allow you to talk about how you immersed yourself in a new workplace, and the connections you made while there.
8. You've spoken at public engagements
Adding public speaking skills to your résumé is a smart move, but think beyond your speech and debate days. "If you are asked to speak at a conference or special event, you've been requested to do so because you have something to offer that is of value to the audience," says Rasmussen. And that's the part you want to play up. "Employers like to hear about these things when they are considering candidates," she says.
9. You've made presentations
You led your group in a major presentation in college. Or you pitched a local charity and persuaded them to add a new program to their roster. "You don’t have to share all the gory details about the content, but those presentations have all the same components of a business presentation," says Lauby. "They involve research, organization, preparation, and delivery." And that's why you should add presentations to your résumé, even if they happened outside the office. "Organizations want good communicators on their team," she says.
10. You assisted a professor
Most students can't wait for class to be dismissed. But if you put in extra hours helping a professor complete a project or worked as his or her assistant, you got more than extra credit — you got something special you should add to your résumé. "It’s intriguing from the interviewer’s perspective to think that you immersed yourself in this academic project with a respectable professor," says Salemi. "What did you learn about yourself and about the project? Don’t dismiss this achievement even if it was just two weeks during a semester."
11. You've sold someone something
Whether you sold candy to finance a school trip or sold sponsorships to your company's fundraiser, you've demonstrated sales skills. "It involves marketing, advertising, and customer service," says Lauby. "It’s not about what was sold, but it’s about the steps and what went into the sale. If you have numbers to back up your accomplishments, even better."
12. You've got a certificate outside your career field
You're a public relations executive, but you've always been curious to know how websites are built. So you took an online class and received a certification in HTML. Coding may not help you in your next role, but it could help you snag a coveted interview, Salemi says. "Even if they’re unrelated to your field, certifications often bridge a gap to a new path," she says, "and show you've obtained knowledge outside your scope of responsibilities."
13. You're unique
Yes, every person is a special snowflake. But if you've got a thing that really makes you stand out — such as a robust foodie Instagram account, or a half-dozen trophies to show how seriously you take chess — you should add your uniqueness to your résumé, Salemi says. "As long as you can speak about it as a side hustle — something you occasionally do so that a prospective employer won't worry you'll eventually quit to pursue it full-time — it will put you ahead of the pack," she says. "As a recruiter, I was always intrigued when I reviewed résumés that listed interesting activities, such as jockeying or interning in London. It goes above and beyond the typical skills and experiences necessary for the job, and always showed me that, wow, this candidate is an actual person with interests, hobbies and more."
Of course, while you want to highlight these items on your résumé, "don’t let them overshadow the rest of your résumé like you’re hiding something," warns Salemi. "Let your spot on skills and experience shine. It’s like jewelry: If you’re wearing a beautiful dress, you don’t want to add a bling necklace that takes away from the dress itself. These skills and unique hobbies you’re adding are subtle accessories that simply add to the sparkle."
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