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20 Skills New Grads Should Have on Their Resume, By Courtney Crites

Feb 16, 2024 06:55 PM

As a fresh grad, crafting an impactful resume with relevant skills can be challenging (believe me, I know). Recruiters are looking for specific skills and experiences that make you stand out from the competition. 

Let’s chat about the top 20 skills that every new grad should consider including on their resume:

  1. Communication: Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential for any job. Highlight experience with public speaking, writing, and collaborating with others
  2. Time Management: Show that you can handle multiple tasks effectively by including examples of how you prioritized and organized your workload during internships or academic projects.
  3. Adaptability: Demonstrate your ability to adapt to new environments and work well under pressure by showcasing real-world examples where you effectively handled unexpected challenges. All of us were students during the pandemic - if that doesn’t scream adaptable, I don’t know what does. 
  4. Leadership: Even if you haven't held leadership positions, highlight teamwork and leadership experiences, such as projects or mentoring roles in school. 
  5. Problem-Solving: Employers value analytical skills. Include instances where you identified and solved problems, implemented innovative solutions, or contributed to process improvements.
  6. Technical Skills: Depending on your field, highlight relevant technical skills such as programming languages, software proficiency, or knowledge of specialized tools or programs. 
  7. Research and Analytics: Showcase your ability to gather, analyze, and present data through research papers, thesis work, or any data-driven projects you worked on during your studies.
  8. Critical Thinking: Emphasize your ability to evaluate information objectively and make informed decisions, using real-life examples where you demonstrated critical thinking skills.
  9. Teamwork: Collaboration is super important in most workplaces. Highlight experiences in group projects, extracurricular activities, or internships that demonstrate your ability to work effectively in a team.
  10. Interpersonal Skills: Showcase your ability to build professional relationships, manage conflicts and work well with colleagues, clients, or customers. Emphasize your ability and willingness to listen actively, provide feedback, and communicate in different settings. 
  11. Presentation Skills: Whether it's presenting a project or pitching ideas, employers appreciate candidates who can communicate effectively. Mention instances where you successfully presented ideas or findings to an audience.
  12. Problem Identification: Show your capability to identify issues and gaps. Discuss projects or internships where you pinpointed problems and proposed solutions.
  13. Self-Motivation: It's essential to demonstrate that you can work independently and take initiative. Include examples of self-driven projects or instances where you went above and beyond what was expected.
  14. Organization: Employers value candidates who can stay organized. Mention experiences where you efficiently managed resources, schedules, or events.
  15. Data Analysis: In the age of big data, the ability to analyze and interpret data is valuable. Showcase instances where you utilized data analysis techniques to draw meaningful insights.
  16. Digital Literacy: Demonstrate your proficiency with relevant digital tools, platforms, and social media, as these have become integral in many industries.
  17. Project Management: Highlight instances where you successfully managed projects from start to finish, taking into consideration milestones, deadlines, and resource allocation.
  18. Continuous Learning: Employers value candidates who have a thirst for knowledge and are eager to improve themselves. Mention any certifications, workshops, or online courses you've completed. 
  19.  Customer Service: Emphasize your proficiency in providing excellent customer service. Discuss any experiences you've had working directly with customers, handling inquiries or complaints, and ensuring customer satisfaction. 
  20.  Attention to Detail: Showcase your ability to focus on the fine details and maintain a high level of accuracy in your work. Highlight instances where your attention to detail resulted in error-free deliverables, meticulous documentation, or successful quality control.

20 skills is a lot. I know you may have some questions, so here’s a few FAQs: 

How do I determine which skills to include on my resume?

  • Consider the job description and requirements of the position you're applying for. Identify the key skills mentioned and align them with your own strengths and experiences. Also, think about the transferable skills you've gained through internships, projects, or extracurricular activities. Basically, if you have a skill - great, include it! If don’t have a skill - don’t include it. 

Should I include every skill I possess on my resume?

  • It's important to tailor your resume to the specific job you're applying for. Include skills that are relevant to the position and highlight those that set you apart from other candidates. Avoid listing irrelevant or basic skills that are totally unrelated to the job you’re applying for. 

How can I showcase my skills effectively on my resume?

  • In addition to listing skills, provide specific examples and achievements that demonstrate how you have utilized those skills in meaningful ways. Whenever possible, quantify your results to showcase your impact. For example, instead of saying "Excellent communication skills," mention "Effectively presented research findings to an audience of 100+ people."

What if I lack experience in certain skills?

  • If you are lacking experience in specific skills, focus on the skills you do have and emphasize your willingness to learn and grow. You can mention relevant coursework, personal projects, or initiatives you've taken to develop those skills. Additionally, emphasize your transferable skills, such as problem-solving or teamwork, which can be applied in various settings. 

Where should I place the skills section on my resume?

  • There are different ways to structure your resume, but a common approach is to include a dedicated "Skills" section after your work experience or education section. This allows the hiring manager to quickly identify your key strengths without having to search through the entire document.

Final Thoughts 
As a new grad, your resume should showcase a variety of skills that make you an attractive candidate to potential employers. By incorporating these 20 essential skills into your resume, you will increase your chances of securing the job you’re hoping for. Good luck!

P.S. There are tons of new jobs for students and new grads on OCC - check it out!