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You are working on your resume and have gotten as far as the “skills” section. There are plenty of skills you can think of but you feel unsure about what skills exactly should be on a resume. After all, what are employers looking to see?

It can be hard to know which skills to highlight on your resume, especially when you are creating your first one.

This blog post will cover the following:

  • Determining the skills that you have
  • Skills employers are looking to see
  • Highlighting the skills you have

Determining the Skills that You Have

Take a few minutes to think about the experiences you have had and what you are good at. Seeing the good things about ourselves can sometimes be hard so it can be helpful to think of the things you have been doing over the last few years.

Let’s say you have been doing a lot of babysitting and you have been volunteering at the local food bank. Recently, you were voted captain of the swim team. During your time involved in each of these things, you have developed skills.

For example, when babysitting, you spend several hours at a time with three children. The kids are excited to see you and the time usually goes quickly. It is probably safe to say you are good with kids. As you are successfully providing care for three children, it is likely that you are good at multi-tasking also.

At the food bank you help in multiple ways.  You help distribute food and when you do you interact with the people coming in for food boxes. This experience has helped you to develop customer service skills. You have also helped with some administrative tasks like filing, copying and data entry. It seems your time at the food bank has helped you to develop administrative skills and computer skills.

One of the reasons you were voted captain of the swim team is that you are good at motivating and encouraging your teammates. You are the first to offer a hand and are always cheering on your teammates. You can certainly call yourself a team player.

Based on these three things you have been doing (babysitting, volunteering at the food bank and swim team captain), you have developed the following skills:

  • Good with kids
  • Able to multi-task
  • Customer service skills
  • Administrative skills like copying and data entry
  • Computer skills
  • A team player

If you are struggling to think of skills that you have that should be included on your resume, some research may help you realize all of the things you have to offer. Click here for examples of common skills for high school students. Review this list and write down those that stand out for you.

Skills Employers are looking to see

When choosing what skills to include on your resume, consider what skills may be important to employers in general as well as the skills that are sought for a particular job. As you gain more experience, you will likely also develop a good understanding of what employers are looking for. Until then, a good way to find out what skills are important for employers is to search for articles on the topic on the internet.

A quick search offers plenty of skills that employers are interested in. These include:

  • Problem solving/analytical skills
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
  • Ability to organize and plan
  • Communication skills (verbal and written)
  • Multicultural awareness
  • Taking initiative/self-motivated
  • Time management
  • Ability to work under pressure

Keep these skills in mind as you are putting your resume together. Which skills do your feel comfortable that you can offer?

Next, take a look at the job that you are applying for. Think about what skills the employer would find important for the job they are hiring for.

Let’s say you are applying for a job working at a retail store, for example, chances are that you will be interacting with customers. That being the case, having customer service skills will be important to the employer. In a retail environment, there will be slow times and then very busy times. It would seem that someone who takes initiative would be a good fit for that type of job. When things are slow, someone who takes initiative will look for ways to keep busy and get things done.

You may also be applying to work at a fast food restaurant that is nearly always busy. Having the ability to work under pressure will be very important, along with time management, problem solving skills and the ability to organize and plan. Employers will appreciate someone who can offer to bring these skills to the job.

Click here for more information on skills employers are looking for.

Highlighting the Skills You Have

Now that you have a good idea of what employers are looking for in general, as well as for the specific job, along with a good idea of the skills that you offer, it is time to showcase your skills on your resume.

As you put your skills section together on your resume, think about those skills that employers seek in general and which of those skills you have. If you do possess a few of those skills, make sure to include them on your resume no matter the job you are applying for. Having the ability to organize and plan will not hurt your chances to get a job and could be seen as relevant for any job you apply for.

Having strong communication skills are a plus in any situation, while they are considered imperative for some jobs. You will want to include some of these general skills that you feel comfortable you have on your resume. For example:

Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Able to organize and plan for short term and long term tasks
  • Comfortable working individually or as a member of a team

After listing some of the general skills, consider ones that might be specific for the job. For example, if you are seeking a job with a fast food restaurant, it is likely that the environment is fast-paced. That may be part of what is appealing to you as far as the job, as you feel that you work best when there is a lot going on. You can include something along the lines of:

  • Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment

Another skill that might be helpful at a fast-food restaurant is taking initiative. With so much going on at any given time, it can be helpful to have employees that can jump in and get things done without always being asked. You can include something like:

  • Proven self-starter who takes the initiative to complete assigned tasks along with assist co-workers

This skill also points out that you can work with a team and contribute by completing not just your own tasks but by assisting others.

For more on what to include in the “skills” section of your resume, click here. For more on resume writing for your first job, click here.

Keep in mind that while you may be young and not have significant work experience, does not mean that you don’t have a lot of skills to offer. Over time you have developed these skills through volunteer work and informal jobs. Highlighting these skills on your resume will demonstrate to an employer that you have a lot to offer and can meet their employment needs.

So, what do you think about easy skills for a teenage resume?  Do you agree with what was said above?  Comment below to let us know!

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