There are some skills that just don’t transfer well from one industry to another. For example, let’s say you know how to repair a broken sump pump. That’s an invaluable thing to include on your resume—if you happen to be looking for work as a plumber. But if you decide what you really want to be is an elementary school teacher, sump pump repair just isn’t as relevant.
On the other hand, there are skills that all employers want to see—skills that are in-demand regardless of industry. Being reliable, teachable, punctual, courteous, honest… no employer would ever spurn such enviable assets.
In other words, there are some skills that look good on any and all resumes—and assuming you can make an honest claim to them, we recommend including them on your own professional documents.
These Skills Are Appealing Across the Board
Here are some examples of those universally-appealing skills we’re talking about, in no particular order.
Negotiation skills. Even if you’re not working in sales, it never hurts to be able to persuade people into things.
Awareness of your industry. Thought leadership, and knowing what’s going on in your field, is something employers tend to prize.
Research and self-education. Are you able to figure things out, and develop skillsets, without needing a lot of hand-holding? That’s extraordinarily precious to employers.
Interpersonal skills. Not everyone plays well with others. Simply getting along with other employees is a big advantage.
Written and verbal communication. Can you write? Can you give a strong, motivating presentation? If you possess either of these traits, make sure they find their way onto your resume.
Work ethic. If you’re the kind of person who’s willing to put in the time to get a project right, employers will appreciate that.
Responsibility. Employers want people to whom they can entrust more and more responsibilities, and know that the work will get done on time and with sufficient levels of quality. Does this describe you?
Showing, Not Telling
Including these skills on your resume is never a bad idea, though we should offer one caveat. Simply saying that you posses these skills isn’t nearly as effective as illustrating them.
So, on your resume, don’t just say that you can teach yourself things. List specific examples of things you’ve mastered on your own. And don’t just note that you have a strong work ethic. Go into detail about some of your most ambitious and challenging projects.
A good resume is built on specifics—and general skillsets aren’t nearly as impactful as concrete achievements.
This article originally appeared in The Red Ink.