Work Skills You Need on Your Resume in 2021

Navigating the highly competitive job market can be brutal. In a recent Jobvite survey, nearly three in four respondents said they believe finding a job has become much harder following the pandemic. 

It’s clearer now more than ever how important it is for your resume to stand out. In fact, nearly 24% of hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing a resume to determine whether a candidate is qualified for a position or not. You quite literally have seconds to catch their attention before your resume ends up in the recycling bin with the rest of the candidates that didn’t make the cut.

So, how exactly do you set yourself apart and stand out from the crowd? Highlighting your work skills on your resume is the best place to start. We did some digging and pulled together some work skills examples in various categories to inspire you to revitalize your resume. 

Important social work skills for the workplace

What are social work skills? Social skills, otherwise known as interpersonal skills, are essential in helping us communicate with one another in the workplace. These skills allow us to build relationships, interact, and communicate with those around us in a meaningful and effective way. This includes verbal and nonverbal cues. 

Social work skills are essential in every job. Whether you work on a team, are in a client-facing role, or are an individual contributor reporting to a direct manager, solid social skills will help you succeed in your position. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most important social work skills for the workplace: 

1. Empathy

One of the best ways to interact well with others is to put yourself in their shoes and understand how they feel. Empathetic people can understand how others are feeling and can identify with those feelings in some way. 

Having empathy is a vital trait, especially for those who hold leadership positions. Being empathetic isn’t something you can force, and it doesn’t happen overnight if it doesn’t come naturally to you. This skill takes a conscious effort to build and will help you forge and maintain stronger workplace relationships.

2. Active listening

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation with a colleague and felt like they weren’t paying attention to a single word you were saying? Or have you ever been chatting with a coworker and felt like they heard you and gave you their utmost attention? The latter is known as active listening

Active listening involves giving someone your full, undivided attention and it allows you to build trust and strong relationships with your colleagues and clients. Active listening requires practice, but it is a skill that can be acquired with proper training and effort.

3. Emotional intelligence

At a high level, emotional intelligence refers to recognizing and being aware of the emotions of both yourself and other people. Those with high emotional intelligence are known for being self-aware and can practice self-regulation, particularly in stressful and potentially overwhelming situations at work. Emotional intelligence is critical in the workplace because it contributes to strong, long-term relationships and can help you manage and appropriately tailor your reactions. 

4. Conflict resolution

According to recent research, 65% of workers experienced conflict with another coworker. Conflict is inevitable in the workplace, which means developing a solid set of conflict resolution skills can help you manage and navigate these situations efficiently. 

Conflict resolution is the ability to address the root cause of disagreements and devise a solution that works for all parties involved. You can use various techniques to help resolve conflicts, so it’s essential to learn and understand how to address different disputes.

5. Written communication

Social skills refer to how we communicate with one another, which means written skills are a must. Some forms of written communication include emails, instant messages, documents, reports, slide decks, and your resume. Using appropriate grammar, proper spelling, and following formatting guidelines will allow you to communicate effectively with others.

6. Nonverbal communication

When it comes to communication, it’s easy to think about what we are saying, but we don’t always focus on how we are saying it. Nonverbal skills can dramatically impact the way your message is received. 

Your body language, eye contact, facial expressions, and tone can completely change the message you are trying to deliver to your coworkers. It’s important to be aware of these subtle cues so that you can make sure your message isn’t misconstrued or misinterpreted. 

Work-related skills for virtual environments

You might not be working with your colleagues side-by-side in the same office. In addition to the skills we discussed above, remote work requires some different skills and disciplines. 

Below are a few competencies that you’ll definitely want to have when collaborating in virtual work environments

  • Self-motivation: There’s a big difference between in-person office environments and virtual workplace settings. At the office, your manager can simply stop by your desk or quickly check in to see how things are going. While your supervisor can technically do the same via email or instant message, you ultimately don’t have anyone looking over your shoulder 24/7 at your home office (unless you have pets, children, or spouses nearby!). That means self-motivation and knowing how to hold yourself accountable to get your work done are vital to helping you thrive in a virtual role.
  • Adaptability: Adaptability is beneficial in any setting, but it’s a particularly beneficial skill in virtual environments. Whether you’re working with a distributed team and constantly trying to navigate time zones or your presentation gets interrupted due to an unreliable internet connection, adaptability is an important skill to help you navigate the unexpected and ever-changing conditions you may find yourself running up against.
  • Digital and technical knowledge: In virtual environments, employees work remotely and generally rely on several tools to collaborate and tackle their to-do lists. Between project management software, instant messaging, video conferencing, document sharing, and email, there are many different technologies to navigate daily. If you’re working in a virtual environment, it’s essential to feel comfortable using these platforms if you want to keep up with the pace of your work. It’s also worth mentioning that, while you still may be able to reach the IT help desk, you may not receive assistance as quickly as you would in an office setting. That means you might have to do some troubleshooting and problem-solving on your own.

What teamwork skills are important for 2021?

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? 

Teamwork skills are a subset of skills that enable us to work well with groups of people (meaning, our teams) to achieve a shared goal or outcome. In 2021 and beyond, as we see a shift toward hybrid work models, honing in on your teamwork skills can help you land your dream gig. Here are the teamwork skills that are important to develop for 2021 and beyond:

1. Reliability

Being reliable is arguably the most crucial teamwork skill. Those who are reliable can be depended on and trusted to do their part time and time again. They show a certain level of commitment to their work and colleagues, meet deadlines (or even get work in early), and follow through on any action or task they say they will do. 

You want to be a reliable teammate so your colleagues and your employer will have faith in you. And the more trustworthy you are, the more responsibility you will be trusted with over time, which may boost your career growth in the long run. It’s even more important to showcase your reliability in a virtual workplace environment through clear and frequent communication.

2. Accountability

Accountability goes hand-in-hand with reliability. But beyond being reliable, accountability is all about taking responsibility for one’s work — even when that includes mistakes or failures. 

There’s no room for the blame game or pointing fingers on teams that work well with one another, which means you have to hold yourself accountable and take fault when necessary. Your teammates will likely think more of you if you’re willing to admit you’re wrong, as opposed to constantly shifting blame or pointing fingers when issues arise.

3. Respectfulness

A little bit of respect goes a long way, especially at work. According to Indeed, respectfulness in the workplace reduces stress, increases productivity and collaboration, improves employee satisfaction, and creates a fair environment. You need to respect your team members, manager, and clients to do your best work together. 

Acts of respect include acknowledging others and calling them by name, encouraging and exchanging opinions and ideas without judgment, giving credit where it’s due, and listening to and understanding your teammates.

4. Collaboration

There is no successful teamwork without collaboration. Collaboration is working together with one or more people on a project or toward a shared goal. 

When employees can work together and collaborate successfully, they can share ideas and come up with practical solutions to complex problems. Brainstorming, open discussions, workshops, and knowledge sharing sessions are all examples of collaboration that lead to great teamwork. 

5. Persuasion

Have you ever worked with a teammate who insists on working their way, even if the rest of the team agrees to pursue another route? How do you keep making progress on your project or goal if one team member isn’t on the same page? That’s where your skills of persuasion come in handy. 

Sometimes you might have to persuade a team member to see another point of view and change their mind to benefit the rest of the group. But persuasive skills are more than just getting someone to change their mind and see your perspective — it’s about doing so in an empathetic and respectful way in order to maintain a healthy working relationship.

6. Constructive feedback for improvement

You should be able to offer your teammate constructive feedback to help them improve and vice versa. Exchanging feedback not only benefits individuals and the team as a whole but also adds value to your organization by creating an opportunity for constant growth. 

Giving feedback requires offering suggestions for improvement in a positive way, while receiving feedback requires listening with an open mind and a willingness to change. 

Work skills that work on any resume

Sure, there are specialized skills for different roles and industries. Engineers add their programming skills to their resume, project managers add project management certifications and relevant skills, and HR professionals add the performance management and HRIS systems they’ve previously used.

While there are specialized skills you’ll want to emphasize on your resume based on your industry and role (and trust us, those are important), there are also some work skills that are relevant on any resume. These include: 

  • Creativity: Creativity is an essential component of innovation and complex problem-solving. In its most basic form, creativity requires thinking about a problem or task differently and using your imagination to form and test new ideas.
  • Problem-solving: All employers value problem-solving abilities because they want to hire people who can break down problems and develop effective solutions. To showcase your problem-solving skills, you might possess a range of qualities such as analysis, evaluation, decision-making, and communication.
  • Time management: No employer wants to hire someone who doesn’t make good use of their time and will have a hard time getting their work done. Your future employer wants to know that you’ll be able to meet deadlines, effectively use your workday to get tasks accomplished, and handle your workload without a lot of babysitting. Examples of specific time management responsibilities include goal setting, prioritizing tasks, meeting deadlines, and minimizing or eliminating distractions for optimal focus.
  • Leadership: Showcasing how you’ve demonstrated leadership in your previous roles can demonstrate to your future potential employer what type of employee you are. Being an effective leader can increase your advancement opportunities within your organization. Use specific examples of successful leadership on your resume for the most significant impact. 

So how do you showcase these skills on your resume?

Now that you know what work skills for resumes employers want to see, you’re bound to have this question: Where do you put them?

Keep in mind that the goal of your resume is to prove that you’re a qualified, no-brainer fit for the role you’re applying for. That’s why your smartest move is to tailor your resume to a specific job.

Take a fine-tooth comb to the job description and identify words or skills that are repeated or emphasized. Those are traits that you should be incorporating in your own resume (provided you honestly possess them, of course). The most important skills should go as close to the top of your document as possible, because remember, hiring managers are only skimming for a few seconds.

As for where you can work these skills in, you have a number of options, including: 

  • Your professional summary at the top of your document
  • A dedicated key skills section where you can bullet out your most relevant abilities
  • Your past positions, where you can demonstrate how you applied your skills in previous jobs

Finally, remember that many of your work skills and social work skills — from communication and time management to problem-solving and active listening — will be on display throughout the hiring process and your interviews. 

So, it should go without saying, but show up on time, respond to messages promptly and respectfully, and treat everybody respectfully. After all, when it comes to your work skills, employers want you to show — and not just tell.

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