When you prepare a resume as part of applying for a job, your ultimate goal is to get an interview. Your resume should generally demonstrate your skills gained through education, work and other experiences. Showcasing your skills that are most critical to employers is also important. While each resume and job has a unique skill set, some common skills are transferable and generally useful to all employers reviewing resumes.
If any single quality has universal appeal and should appear on your resume, it is communication skills. These skills top the must-have list of career experts Randall and Katharine Hansen of Quintessential Careers. They say the ability to write and speak effectively and clearly is critical in every job. Whether you are applying for a management position, a sales or service job or a manufacturing position, you need to communicate well with customers, colleagues, supervisors and subordinates.
Teamwork is another skill that has strong appeal with employers. The "Job Interview & Career Guide" indicates the importance of teamwork in both management and many front line jobs. Companies in the early 21st century more often rely on work teams for sharing of ideas and development of broader solutions.
Critical thinking and problem solving skills are also great to include in a resume. Not only does the ability to think independently and resolve issues make you a potential candidate for many jobs, it also shows your potential as a promotable employee. Problems and decisions are common in many jobs, and people who can think effectively and make good decisions are of high value.
Integrity and Work Ethic
The Hansens also discuss the importance of personal traits, such as integrity and work ethic. They state that employers generally prefer integrity over any other personal quality. Integrity is a foundation of individual and business success now as companies try to meet heightened ethical standards. Work ethic is closely related and includes traits such as dependability and reliability.
Customer service is a skill set that virtually all customer- or client-facing organizations find valuable. If you can offer specific scores or facts related to your service history and abilities, this lends credibility to your attitude toward customers and your ability to help them. Even in jobs where you have little direct customer interaction, the ability to work well with customers correlates to a generally positive attitude in working with others.