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50+ Best Hard Skills for a Resume & How to Write About Them

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How to find out what the best hard skills for you are and how to prove them on a resume. Top general hard skills include programming, copywriting, software…

The best hard skills for a resume depend on your profession. What’s essential for a digital marketer may not matter for a software engineer. Another key consideration are the company’s specific needs (which you can identify via the requirements from the job description). When writing about hard skills on a resume, you can simply list them in the skills section. What matters more is how you prove them, and the most effective strategy is to mention skill-related achievements using quantifiable data. Bulleted lists of skills don’t hold much value. Highlighting the impact you made does. 

No job can be done properly without certain hard skills. 

Employers check your work history to see if you have the right job-specific expertise to carry out the core duties advertised on their job description. But they’ll also glance at the skills list, in particular to see if you tick all the “must-have” boxes.

If you’re not sure what matters and what doesn’t and how to strike that balance between “showing” and “telling,” you’ve come to the right place.

This guide walks you through it all, including some of the top hard skills by industry, as well as how to find and showcase them on your resume. 

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What Are Hard Skills for a Resume?

Hard skills are the technical abilities and know-how that you must have to carry out the main responsibilities of a job. These are specific skill sets that are measurable, teachable, and directly applicable to the job you’re applying for. 

Hard skills are obtained through education, training programs, certifications, and hands-on experience. 

Here are a few examples of hard skills: 

  • Curriculum development: creating structured lesson plans and educational content for students (this is a typical hard skill for teachers). 
  • Phlebotomy: drawing blood for medical tests and donations, and analyzing results (this is a typical hard skill for nurses and medical professionals). 
  • Carpentry: building and repairing structures using wood and other materials (this is a typical hard skill for carpenters).
  • Bookkeeping: recording financial transactions and maintaining accurate financial records (this is a typical hard skill for finance professionals).
  • Robotics: designing, building, and programming robots for various applications (this is a typical hard skill for engineers). 

All of these are hard skills because they’re the specific components that translate to the ability to perform core job duties.

The difference between hard skills and soft skills

Hard skills are learned and developed through formal training, education, and practical experience. Soft skills are more about personal attributes that help you carry out your responsibilities. 

Although soft skills aren’t usually specific to any particular field, they’re valuable across all professions. These affect how you work and interact with others. 

Unlike hard skills, soft skills are harder to measure because they usually pertain to your behavior and approach to work rather than specific tasks. For example, being an effective communicator means you can convey ideas clearly and listen actively — crucial in any job but that easy to test.

Sure, a software developer might need hard skills to succeed in their role like coding. But, their success also depends on soft skills like collaboration and time management.

Hard skills vs. technical skills 

All technical skills are hard skills, yet not all hard skills are technical. 

Hard skills cover a broad range of competencies that are directly tied in with job performance. Technical skills are more like a category under the umbrella term of hard skills, specifically focusing on the technological aspects of a job. 

Technical skills and hard skills are often used synonymously. 

Though the two terms are often used synonymously, “hard skills” are more general. Think of technical skills as a subset of hard skills—these refer to abilities related to technology, tools, and processes used in certain fields. For example, proficiency in using Adobe Photoshop, understanding of computer networks, or the ability to write code in Java are all technical skills.

To illustrate the differences, let’s look at a marketing professional. Their hard skills might include data analysis, market research, and proficiency in using tools like Google Analytics. Within this set of skills, technical skills would be the ability to use and understand analytics software or digital marketing platforms. 

The Best General Hard Skills to Put on a Resume 

Here’s a list of some of the top resume hard skills that are valued across most industries: 

  • Software proficiency: knowledge of using industry-specific software.
  • Writing: everything from writing reports and emails to copywriting and technical writing is valuable.
  • Data analysis: the ability to interpret and analyze data using tools like Excel or SQL.
  • Financial analysis: knowing how to analyze the finances of an organization to make informed decisions. 
  • Project management: managing projects using methodologies like Agile or software such as ClickUp.
  • Programming languages: understanding languages like Python, CSS, or JavaScript.
  • Foreign languages: fluency in another language, like Spanish or Mandarin.
  • Graphic design: skills in using design software like Adobe Creative Suite to create visual content.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): being capable of managing customer interactions, often via dedicated software.
  • Accounting: basic accounting skills or familiarity with software like QuickBooks for managing financial records.
  • Digital marketing: knowledge of digital marketing strategies and tools.

However, take these with a grain of salt. 

The actual “best” hard skills for your resume depend on the company’s job description and your current career level. Tailor your skills to align with the job description and industry standards.

Top Resume Hard Skills to Focus on Based on Job Levels

  • Entry-level: focus on foundational hard skills in your field such as basic technical proficiency, data entry, and introductory programming. Make it clear that you have a strong grasp of essential tasks, tools, and technologies for carrying out the basic job responsibilities.
  • Mid-level: emphasize specialized skills and technical abilities. Show that you can handle the more complex tasks that require specific industry knowledge. Go beyond “operational” skills such as software or hardware knowledge and add details about your knowledge of strategic frameworks.
  • Seniors: showcase strategic technical skills and industry-specific expertise. At this stage, it becomes more about “knowledge” than just “skills.” Having a solid grasp of industry skills is the bare minimum. What can set you apart is your ability to innovate.

Examples of the Best Resume Hard Skills Based on Industry

Hard skills for resume

These are some of the top tech skills for a resume, but if you’re looking for an easier way to find more relevant skills in your field, use Rezi AI Skills Explorer. This lets you instantly generate a list of relevant skills in your field. All you have to do is: 

  • Select the category of skills you’re after—in this case, hard skills. 
  • Enter the field of skills you’re interested in, e.g., digital marketing, SEO, and so forth (list as much as you like). 
  • Hit the “enter” key on your keyboard. 

And happy browsing! 

Below, you’ll see examples of the most popular hard skills across different industries. Use these lists as inspiration, but don’t mindlessly copy and paste them into your resume. Double down on skills important for the job you’re targeting. And never claim you have skills you actually don’t (I really hope I didn’t even need to say that).

Tech, IT, and data

Top hard skills:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): developing and implementing AI algorithms.
  • Big Data: handling and analyzing large data sets with tools like Hadoop or Spark.
  • Cloud Computing: proficiency in cloud services such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
  • Cybersecurity: knowledge of security protocols, firewalls, and encryption techniques.
  • Data analysis: using tools like Excel, SQL, and Tableau to interpret and analyze data.
  • Database management: managing databases with systems like MySQL, Oracle, and MongoDB.
  • Machine learning: developing and applying machine learning models and algorithms.
  • Networking: understanding and managing network infrastructure and protocols.
  • Systems administration: maintaining IT systems and servers.

Sample resumes for relevant jobs in the tech, IT, and data industries:

Development and engineering

Top hard skills:

  • CAD Software: using computer-aided design software for drafting and designing (AutoCAD, SolidWorks).
  • Civil engineering: knowledge of structural analysis, construction materials, and geotechnical engineering.
  • DevOps: expertise in continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) practices.
  • Electrical engineering: circuit design, power systems, and proficiency with simulation software (MATLAB, SPICE).
  • Mechanical engineering: proficiency in mechanical design, thermodynamics, and manufacturing processes.
  • Mobile development: developing applications for mobile platforms (iOS, Android) using Swift, Kotlin, or React Native.
  • Programming languages: expertise in languages like Python, Java, C++, and JavaScript.
  • Project management: handling engineering projects using methodologies like Agile, Scrum, or tools like Microsoft Project.
  • Software development: proficiency in software development methodologies (Agile, Scrum) and tools (Git, Jira).
  • Systems engineering: systems integration, requirements analysis, and lifecycle management.
  • Web development: building and maintaining websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Sample resumes for relevant jobs in the dev and engineering industries:

Healthcare

Top hard skills:

  • Clinical documentation: accurately recording patient information in medical records.
  • Diagnostic testing: performing and analyzing medical tests and diagnostic procedures.
  • Electronic health records (EHR): managing patient information using EHR systems like Epic and Cerner.
  • HIPAA compliance: ensuring all practices comply with healthcare privacy regulations.
  • Medical coding: proficiency in ICD-10, CPT, and HCPCS coding systems.
  • Medical terminology: understanding and correctly using medical language and terms.
  • Medication administration: safely administering medications and understanding pharmacology.
  • Patient care: providing direct patient care and following care plans.
  • Phlebotomy: drawing blood and preparing specimens for laboratory testing.
  • Radiology: operating imaging equipment such as X-rays, MRI, and CT scanners.
  • Surgical assistance: assisting in surgical procedures and maintaining sterile environments.
  • Vital signs monitoring: measuring and interpreting vital signs like blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.

Sample resumes for relevant jobs in the healthcare industry:

Creative and design

Top hard skills:

  • Adobe Creative Suite: proficiency in Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and After Effects.
  • Animation: creating animations using tools like After Effects, Blender, or Maya.
  • Branding: developing and maintaining brand identity and guidelines.
  • Content management systems (CMS): using platforms like WordPress or Joomla to manage website content.
  • Copywriting: the ability to write in a way that leads to the reader taking action, usually to buy or sign up for a product or service. 
  • Digital illustration: creating digital artwork using software like Illustrator or Procreate.
  • Graphic design: designing visual content for print and digital media.
  • Photography: skills in capturing, editing, and producing high-quality images.
  • Print design: Designing materials for print such as brochures, posters, and business cards.
  • SEO (Search Engine Optimization): optimizing web content to improve search engine rankings.
  • UI/UX design: designing user interfaces and enhancing user experiences with tools like Sketch, Figma, or Adobe XD.
  • Video editing: editing and producing videos using software like Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro.
  • Web design: creating and maintaining website layouts and visual elements using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Sample resumes for relevant jobs in the creative and design industries:

Business, finance, and operations

Top hard skills:

  • Accounting: proficiency with accounting principles and software like QuickBooks or SAP.
  • Business analysis: evaluating business processes and data to provide insights and recommendations.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM): using CRM software like Salesforce to manage client relationships.
  • Data analysis: analyzing business data using tools like Excel, Power BI, or Tableau.
  • Financial modeling: creating financial models to forecast business performance.
  • Inventory management: organizing inventory levels and processes using software like Oracle or SAP.
  • Logistics: planning and managing the movement of goods and services.
  • Marketing analytics: using data to inform marketing strategies and decisions.
  • Project management: handling projects using methodologies like Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall and tools like Microsoft Project or Asana.
  • Sales management: overseeing sales processes and teams to meet targets.
  • Supply chain management: Coordinating and optimizing supply chain activities.
  • Vendor management: managing relationships and contracts with suppliers and vendors.

Sample resumes for relevant jobs in the business, finance, and operations industries:

Construction and Manufacturing

Top hard skills: 

  • Blueprint reading: interpreting and understanding construction blueprints and plans.
  • Lean manufacturing: applying lean principles to optimize production processes.
  • Machinery operation: using heavy machinery and equipment safely and efficiently.
  • Project management: overseeing construction projects using tools like Microsoft Project or Primavera.
  • Quality control: making sure products meet quality standards and specifications.
  • Safety compliance: knowledge of safety regulations and procedures to ensure workplace safety.
  • Supply chain management: Coordinating and optimizing supply chain activities.

Sample resumes for relevant jobs in the construction and manufacturing industries:

How to Find the Best Hard Skills to Put on a Resume

Here’s how to find the best hard skills to list that are relevant to the job you’re applying for: 

  • Review the job description thoroughly.
  • Check industry standards.
  • Read through online reports and resources.
  • Make a list of all the mandatory and nice-to-have skills.
  • Match the skills from your list to the skills you’re confident in.
  • Put those skills on your resume.

Although it’s essential to match your skills against a company’s job description, it’s a pretty tedious process. If you want to skip it by automatically getting a list of all the resume keywords from a job description, use Rezi AI Keyword Targeting—it finds all the top keywords for you. 

All you have to do is: 

  • Enter the job title you’re applying for.
  • Copy and paste the company’s job description into the provided field.
  • Click “Save Job Description.”
  • Add the top keywords and hard skills into your resume.

As you’re using our AI resume builder, you’ll also get suggestions on what to highlight based on what’s most important to the company. This was one of the features that made a huge difference for one of our users, as mentioned on Reddit

“The rating scale allowed me to focus on which skill sets and accomplishments to highlight that were the most relevant to the positions. Before I knew it, I had multiple callbacks and had two job offers that I was able to choose from.”

Want to give it a shot? Sign up here for free

If not, continue on with this guide, and I’ll show you how to find the best hard skills manually. 

Review the job description

Almost all job descriptions will make hiring expectations and standards clear. Employers want candidates with specific skills and qualifications, which you can find on the company’s job posting. 

  • Go through key sections from the job description such as “qualifications,” “responsibilities,” and “required skills.” 
  • Take note of specific hard skills, tools, and frameworks that have been mentioned, especially when they’ve been included more than once. 
  • Understand what’s required to carry out your main tasks and responsibilities. 
  • Determine the level of required experience and make sure you match this expectation. 
  • Compare the skills included in the job posting with your own and see what aligns. 

Check industry standards

Knowing industry standards allows you to understand the general expectations. 

You can’t go wrong with adding common skills and qualifications that professionals in your industry are expected to have.

  • Read job postings from the top companies in your industry for your position and take note of the types of skills that keep getting brought up. 
  • See what certifications, achievements, and licenses are held in high regard in your particular field. 
  • Participate in industry-specific forums and social media groups.  
  • Talk to mentors, peers, and colleagues.

Read through online reports and resources 

You can research credible sources to understand the latest trends and find out what hard skills are currently in high demand. 

  • First, make sure you’re looking at a credible source. The best starting points I’d suggest are Gartner, O*NET OnLine, and LinkedIn Learning
  • Focus on resources that discuss emerging technologies, methodologies, and in-demand skills.
  • See what skills or tools keep getting mentioned, and which is gaining the most popularity in your industry. 
  • Pay attention to the soft and technical skills that complement the hard skills in your field. 

Make a list of all the mandatory and nice-to-have skills

From your research, list skills across two categories: mandatory and nice-to-have. 

Mandatory skills that the hard skills explicitly required for the role. You might also find these abilities mentioned in the job description as necessary for the job. On the other hand, the nice-to-have skills are those that aren’t essential, but are preferred or beneficial. 

Match the skills from your list to the skills you’re confident in

Review your list of mandatory and nice-to-have skills you created. 

Reflect on your own experiences and expertise, and identify the skills you’re most proficient in and confident about. Compare these against the list and highlight the ones where you have demonstrated competence. Focus on matching skills that align with your strongest areas.

Put those skills on your resume

Lastly, add the hard skills into your resume strategically. 

Place the most relevant skills in a “Skills” section, listing the mandatory skills first, followed along by the nice-to-haves. Next, highlight these skills in the work experience section and other sections (more on this later). 

Which Hard Skills Should You Prioritize?

Prioritize based on your proficiency level and essential job requirements. This means looking at not just what’s most relevant to the job description, but also what you’re actually good at and confident in. 

Follow these steps to determine the most important skills to showcase: 

  • Reflect on the hard skills where you have substantial experience in and can prove your competence. 
  • Out of your top hard skills, see which ones have been explicitly mentioned in the company’s job description. 
  • Prioritize your most relevant hard skills. Work your way backwards based on the abilities you have that are most related to the job ad.

Signs That You’re “Good Enough” to List a Certain Hard Skill

These are the signs that you’re good enough to include a particular hard skill on your resume: 

  • You have quantifiable accomplishments or successful projects that demonstrate your application of a skill. 
  • You received recognition and positive feedback for your use of the skill. 
  • You hold a certification and qualification or have completed formal training in the skill.
  • You have practical, proven experience applying the said skill independently with little to no assistance in a work, academic, or volunteer setting. 

Here are a few signs to hold off on mentioning certain skills on your resume:

  • You have minimal or no hands-on experience with the skill. 
  • Your understanding is only theoretical or very basic. 
  • You can’t provide examples of specific projects or achievements that prove your proficiency. 
  • You’re not confident enough to perform tasks involving this skill independently with zero help.

How to Write About Hard Skills on a Resume

The most straightforward way to include hard skills on a resume is to list them in the skills section. For other sections, you can emphasize them by providing evidence and specific context related to the application of your skills. 

  • Summary section: mention your areas of expertise and any career highlights or key achievements. 
  • Work experience section: detail specific tasks, accomplishments, and quantifiable results involving your hard skills. 
  • Education section: specify any particular minors or courses you completed that are directly related to abilities you want to showcase. 
  • Projects, volunteering, and extracurricular activities: describe how you applied relevant hard skills in these contexts and any positive outcomes. 
  • Certifications section: list any certificates that validate your proficiency in relevant hard skills.
  • Skills section: provide a concise, organized list of your hard skills. 

We’ll dive into more of the specifics for each resume section below. 

And if you want examples for your particular job title, check out our free resume examples library

Summary section

The resume summary section is where you can highlight your best and most relevant hard skills. After mentioning them, back it up with evidence by including a specific example or accomplishment that proves your proficiency level. 

Example: 

Experienced software engineer with 5+ years of expertise in Python and Java. Proven track record in developing scalable applications and improving system performance. Successfully led a remote team of 11 to complete a complex data migration project, resulting in a 20% increase in operational efficiency.

Work experience section

The work experience section is where you can clearly demonstrate your hard skills by describing duties you carried out and the positive outcomes that followed. In other words, emphasize the following:

  • Key tasks and projects that you successfully carried out. 
  • Quantitative achievements that you were solely responsible for.

Example: 

Conducted market research and competitive analysis to inform strategic planning, resulting in a 20% market share growth.

Education section

The education section is an opportunity to list formal qualifications, which gives employers insight into your depth of knowledge in a certain field. When you’re a recent graduate or have limited formal experience, you can also add bullet points to specify details that further emphasize your capabilities. 

Example: 

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science | University of Technology | May 2024
• Completed a minor in Mathematics, including courses in linear algebra and statistics.
• Graduated with a GPA of 3.8

Projects, volunteering, and extracurricular activities section

Showcase your hard skills in these sections like the work experience section. You can also describe any formal training that you went through. 

Begin by describing a responsibility you fulfilled. Then, describe the skills you had to apply followed by the outcome achieved. 

Example: 

Contributed to the development of a machine learning library in Python.

Certifications section

The certifications section validates your proficiency in certain abilities through formal recognition by reputable organizations. However, you can add bullet points under certain certificates listed to clarify any achievements or skills applied or developed. 

Example: 

Certified Data Analyst (CDA) | Data Science Institute | April 2021
• Comprehensive certification covering data analysis, statistical methods, and SQL.

Skills section

The skills section is where you can simply list all of your core competencies. When there are lots of different types of abilities you want to include, categorize them. 

Example: 

Programming Languages: Python, Java, C++, JavaScript
Web Development: HTML, CSS, React, Angular
Database Management: SQL, MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle
Cloud Computing: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud

Effective Ways to Learn and Develop Hard Skills

You’ll struggle to secure more career advancement opportunities unless you continue developing your hard skills. 

This is also important for staying competitive in the job market. So if (fingers crossed) the worst were to ever happen, and you lose your job, having a top-notch technical skill set will significantly improve your chances of quickly finding new employment opportunities.

These are the most effective ways to develop your hard skills: 

  • Work with someone who can give you expert feedback. This could be a manager or senior at your workplace, or even a qualified outside mentor.  
  • Consistently practice the skills you are learning through real-world projects, internships, and volunteering.
  • Use platforms like Coursera to work on courses and expand your knowledge for a specific set of hard skills.
  • Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences to learn from industry experts and gain practical insights.
  • Enroll in degree programs, certifications, or technical courses offered by universities or specialized institutions.
  • Use books, tutorials, and online resources to study independently and at your own pace.
  • Join professional associations and groups to learn from peers and stay updated on industry trends.

Summary

Let’s recap on how to describe hard skills on a resume: 

  • Immediately mention your professional strengths and expertise in the resume summary section.  
  • Emphasize quantifiable accomplishments in the work experience section, proving your technical abilities through successful outcomes you were responsible for. 
  • Include any specific achievements or courses from your academic background that help prove you’re an exceptional candidate. 
  • Showcase how you implemented certain technical knowledge outside a formal work environment by using a “Projects,” “Volunteering,” or “Extracurricular Activities” section.
  • Add relevant certificates to reiterate your depth of technical knowledge. 
  • List your best and most relevant hard skills in the skills section. Create categories when you want to list abilities across different areas. 

The best hard skills for a resume are different for almost every candidate. 

Email marketing might be the “best” skill to mention for one candidate, whereas paid marketing might be the best for another. Ultimately, the top resume hard skills depend on the company’s job description, your industry, and the field you’re applying for.

FAQ

What are the best examples of hard skills for a resume?

The best examples of hard skills to put on a resume include technical abilities and knowledge specific to the job or industry you’re applying for. For example, programming languages like Python and Java would be most effective for programmers. Skills like data analysis, big data technology, and machine learning are essential for data professionals. Proficiency with design software like Adobe Creative Suite would be best for design professionals, and so forth. 

Is writing a hard skill for a resume?

Yes, writing is considered a hard skill. This involves the ability to write in a way that’s clear, concise, and well-structured. However, there are specific types of writing you might want to mention on your resume, for example, technical writing. 

How do I know what my best hard skills are?

Think about your career highlights and professional strengths. What skills did you have to apply to achieve certain goals and project outcomes? What types of tasks do you excel at and enjoy the most? Review past performance reviews with your manager and seek feedback from colleagues or mentors. Additionally, consider any formal qualifications, certifications, and training you’ve gone through. 

Do hiring managers look for hard skills?

Yes, hiring managers look for hard skills because they’re essential for performing basic job tasks to a good standard. Not showcasing hard skills on your resume will rule out your application. When writing a resume, make it clear that you have the necessary qualifications and expertise to succeed in the role. 

Do employers prefer hard skills to soft skills?

Both hard skills and soft skills are valuable. The preference depends on the role you’re applying for. Hard skills would be more important for individual contributor job positions where the main responsibilities revolve around completing tasks that require technical knowledge and experience in a particular field. However, soft skills are equally important for some roles, even in technical fields. Think of managers—one of their main responsibilities would be to lead teams and ensure effective communication. Ideally, employers look for a balance of both types of skills, with hard skills proving your technical competence and soft skills proving you can effectively collaborate with others.

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Astley Cervania

Astley Cervania is a career writer and editor who has helped hundreds of thousands of job seekers build resumes and cover letters that land interviews. He is a Rezi-acknowledged expert in the field of career advice and has been delivering job success insights for 4+ years, helping readers translate their work background into a compelling job application.

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