Unique Resume Skills That Grab Employer Attention

The art of the resume is something often overlooked during the job hunt. Believe it or not, the implementation of a fantastically designed and written resume can boost your chances of landing a job tenfold. In fact, there isn’t a single job application that doesn’t require the addition of a resume, especially on sites like Indeed. Therefore, the need for a highly-produced resume including your professional skills and experience is a crucial factor in landing a job.

Here’s a contradicting and frightening statistic to bolster the importance of a great resume: according to a study by TeamStage, the average time spent reading a resume for 2022 is 6–7 seconds. If the average time of a blink is 1/3 or a second, then a normal resume will only receive around 18 reader blinks. Furthermore, each job posting gets around 100-200 applicants on average.

The point is: if your resume doesn’t set you apart from the plethora of other applicants within the first few glances, you are likely to lose out on the majority of highly-desired gigs. Your resume needs to be both efficient and unique. Therefore, having unique and applicable skills can take your resume to the next level of attention-grabbing.

As a staffing agency, we deal with resumes every day. As experts, we know what skills can be placed to catch attention and sell yourself as a professional candidate.

Let’s share some secret formulas.

The Disarray of the Cliche

According to job application statistics by TeamStage, 63% of recruiters would like to get resumes personalized to the open position. The act of creating a cliche and stagnant resume is a quick way to lose attention (and lose the job).

Think of it this way: your resume is your elevator pitch. You have a page of writing to sell yourself as the next big blockbuster. If your film pitch is the same as everyone else’s, why would you be chosen? You need to prove that you are the next big superhero franchise, not some run-of-the-mill comedy.

Therefore, your resume shouldn’t be bland.  Try to use interesting diction and syntax. This doesn’t mean you have to craft a Pulitzer-winning novel; we’re not all writers, but at least include colorful synonyms. Great? No. Spectacular. You want to pop and have personality. Out of the 200 applicants, 180 probably think stating hardworking is an exceptional job skill.

Think outside the box, but keep the box professional. Sure, saying you have double joints may be unique, but it’s not selling you for an office position (unless a circus).

How Important Are Skills, Really?

We’ve written an entire article regarding resume skills, but are they really the most important part of the document? No, not really.

Overall, the job experience section is the most important part of your application. Your former experience proves that you can do the job at hand. Your skills act more as bragging points, telling the employer what you believe you are good at. There isn’t much evidence to prove that, unlike your former experience.

The skills section acts like the cherry on top.

Hard Skills Versus Soft Skills

Regarding skills overall, there are two different types. In a majority of resume guides, you’ll see hard and soft skills listed. The difference between them is fairly simple.

Soft skills are often intangible. They are often the adjectives of the skills section. Things you have learned as a person to be a person, interworking them into your professional posture. For example, hardworking, great at communication, and attentive are all soft skills.

Hard skills are the things you’ve learned that can help you in a specific field. These are the skills you pick up along your professional journey, giving you the edge over the competition. For example, if you work as a graphic designer, being fluent in Photoshop would be a hard skill. Knowing JavaScript is a hard skill.

Overall, hard skills are often seen as the better of the two. They are the ones that can truly be backed up and can be easily seen as applicable to the job at hand. Sure, hardworking is a great skill to have, but it’s easier to mentally connect knowing Photoshop to be a designer. Thinking of the relevance of soft skills takes a fair bit of introspection and mental gymnastics.

In a world where your resume needs to be efficient and punchy, hard skills make more sense.

Skills Section or Weaving In?

There are two schools of thought regarding the skills section. Some believe it is entirely unnecessary, stating that your job experience should work enough to show your skills. This is true, but sometimes there isn’t enough room to weave everything together.

We believe that you should express your skills in the job experience section. If you are a good leader, state that in the description of your roles. Give a quick example in the job description. Show, don’t tell. A company wants to know how you apply the skills to actual work.

For example, instead of putting ‘great leader’ in your skills section, apply it to a job. If you were a manager, in that specific job description say “As a manager at XYZ, I applied my leadership skills to help our team accomplish XYZ.”

If, for some reason, you have skills that cannot be shown through work experience examples, then create a section to list them. But, keep them quick and precise.

Hardworking and communicable seem like unnecessary words to stuff your resume with.

If you have skills that are outside of your work experience, list them. Be efficient about it, as always.

For example, if you usually work in the graphic design field, but are applying for a content creation role and have outside experience with video-editing software, list it. Say “Fluent in XYZ software.”

Henceforth, make a quick list of the things that make you special outside of your past jobs.

Keep Your Resume Targeted

As the aforementioned statistic stated, employers want resumes that seem specifically made for the application. If an applicant is applying to 100 jobs a day, this can be an arduous (and somewhat impossible) ask.

Though you may not have the time to tailor every resume, you should do so for certain industries and special, dream jobs.

We recommend having a list of skills in a two-column format. These skills should include a few keywords. For example, if the job description notes Photoshop skills repeatedly as a qualification, make sure to put your Photoshop expertise in the skills section. Overall, this should be the quick, attention-grabbing part of your resume.

Try and use words that apply to the job at hand. Henceforth, you should be tailoring your resume to each job you apply for. If you are applying for a graphic design job, your resume should have applicable experiences, words about graphic design, and information about your precision with graphic design software. You want to grab the reader, but you also want to grab the attention of resume-scanning software.

Another fine line to note. Do not overstuff your resume with keywords. Continuing with the previous example, your graphic design resume should not say ‘graphic design’ 100 times. It looks both desperate and generic.

Don’t Be Too Humble

Though not entirely skill-section-specific, we believe that this forthcoming tip should be implemented throughout your entire resume.

Excerpt from our article Things to Avoid on Your Resume:

Bragging can be difficult for some. If you are applying for an entry-level position, it may seem excessive to call yourself proficient. But why not? Confidence sells, and you’re trying to sell yourself to the company. Brag a little.

You are confident. You are dedicated and hardworking. Your accomplishments are accomplishments. Be proud of yourself. Being sure of yourself translates. People can feel it. Employers want to hire someone self-assured and positive. Treat your job history and accomplishments as selling points. 

Employers would rather see someone that is braggadocios in their work than meek. Sure, you don’t want to say you’re the best ever, Kanye, but you’d rather be too confident than not.

When deciding whether or not you should include a skill, go with your confident gut. If you are great at something, let them know. This is your time to brag a little, even if it’s making yourself a tiny bit bigger than you truly are.

As we stated, this is the time to wow the employer. You need to sell that blockbuster with all its explosions and high-flying action.

Unique Skills That Employers Actually Read

Now that we got the pleasantries out of the way.

If you have worked your skills into the meat of your resume and sprinkled your abilities into your job experience and descriptions, you are setting yourself up for a big win. At this point, you have won enough attention to get to the bottom of the page. You have shown your abilities through your past, proving that you can back up the truth in your applicable skills.

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s impossible to fit all of your skills in your resume. Sometimes you have skills that aren’t obviously connected to former jobs or industry standards. For example, if you are applying for a graphic design job, you have described your software and design skills in the experience section. You are also fluent in programming, too. You couldn’t really fit info about your programming abilities into the experience, but you still think the employer would like to hear about it.

That’s where the skills section comes in.

These are the unique skills you couldn’t fit into your experience section. Like every other part of your resume, the skills need to be attention-grabbing and awe-inspiring.

So, here we go. Here are our unique skills to truly wow employers:

Note: there are both hard and soft skills here.

1. Emotional Intelligence

For almost two years, an entire country was locked inside their houses. A swallowing fear of both the unknown and a health-slicing illness lingered above every citizen, especially those with a significantly less backlog of life experiences.

In 2022, McKinsey found that 25% of Gen Z respondents reported feeling more emotionally distressed. This response was almost double the levels reported by millennial and Gen X respondents (13% each), and more than triple the levels reported by baby boomer respondents (8%). Furthermore, the newer generation of workers wants their place of employment to both understand and empathize with the ever-growing need for mental and emotional health.

In response, companies are putting mental health at the forefront of their company culture and employee benefits.

Telling a company that you have a clear understanding of emotions (both for you and others) shows a few fantastic things. One, it shows that you are willing to share and become a beacon for the health of your team, helping improve company understanding. You are able to know when things are awry and share them sensibly. You know when you are feeling burnt out, allowing open and honest communication with your higher-ups.

Two, it shows that you are empathetic, an extremely useful ability for all leaders. Having the intelligence to understand the complex emotions of others and work with them makes you an amazing candidate for leadership, especially in a working world so fueled by mental health.

Overall, having emotional intelligence and empathy as a skill gives you a leg up in becoming a great leader and a champion for the future of company culture and mental health understanding. It’s a unique skill that shows employers you are built for anything, especially management.

2. Adaptability

If there is any silver lining to find from the horrific pandemic that washed the world, it’s the relief of reluctance to bring technology into the workplace. No longer are the days of having to report directly to work with tie and suit intact. The stay-at-home order caused almost every company to implement some sort of hybrid or remote workplace, and a lot of them never went back.

 A recent study by UpWork theorized that 25% of American workers will be remote by the end of 2023, almost 4 calendars years after the peak of the pandemic.

Including resume skills that show you are adaptable and flexible lets the employer know that you will be productive in the ever-changing workplace. In a working world where new trends are always on the horizon, you are sturdy and reliable, being able to follow any suit.

If your company has to go into remote work (for whatever reason), you can handle it, maintaining your productivity and morale. You are adaptable and willing to adhere to any necessary changes in the workforce.

It’s funny. Adaptability is one of the unique resume skills that appeared from thin air within the last 4 years. Post-pandemic, we live in a strange working world with ever-changing pieces and ideals. Hybrid workplaces, mixed schedules, and new technologies are always sprouting up and taking workforces by storm.

You can be a light in the misty sea, standing strong through whatever new trend rises to the top.

3. Organization and Scheduling

Overall, this isn’t as interesting as the other resume skills here, but it’s highly in demand. In fact, there are over 5 million jobs on ZipRecruiter that require ‘scheduling’ as an employee skill.

So, while it may not seem unique, it’s a favorable ability that is desired by plenty of applicants. Though it sounds bland, we don’t see these soft skills listed as frequently as you may believe. Take advantage of the easy uniqueness.

Organizational skills (like scheduling) show that you are a responsible and professional worker. You will never be the one to mismanage something or forget about a deadline. And, in a world where the majority of white-collar work is done at home, organizational skills have become more crucial than ever. When working remotely, you do not have others to remind you of important dates and deadlines.

It’s all on you. Having that ability is crucial in the modern working world.

At the end of the day, more organized people tend to make better workers and managers. It’s as simple as that. We aren’t psychologists, but it’s a one-to-one cause and effect that we have seen throughout our entire careers.

4. Writing Ability

Here’s a random one. Though it may seem completely out of left field, there’s some usefulness behind it.

Even if you are not working as a writer, having the ability to write well is a colossal plus.

Let’s break down the simplicity: There are 6.1 million jobs on ZipRecruiter listing communication skills as a necessary adjective to have for the role. In a world where the majority of work is done at home, what’s the main medium in which those communication skills are necessary? Email, text, and chat clients.

What’s it take to be good at those forms of communication? Writing skills.

Even if you never have to write to customers, being able to write to your other teammates in a reasonable and understanding fashion makes the entire work process much easier. If you can clearly demonstrate your purpose, wants, or business needs, everyone will have an easier time continuing production.

Have you ever received an email from a coworker and you don’t understand what was being asked? It’s a nightmare and only slows daily production. If only they were better writers.

Overall, being a good writer is always a useful skill, regardless of the industry.

5. SEO Tactics

Our last of the unique resume skills is another that seems unrelated to some industries. But, like writing, understanding the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and social media can help land your dream job.

The majority of business runs on the internet. Even the most hands-on of businesses still require a stellar website and social media brand to become top-level in their respective industries. Without SEO work, they will never be able to reach the highest heights available for businesses in 2023. If SEO wasn’t an important avenue of business, I’d be unemployed.

Even if the role doesn’t require SEO work, having the ability to build production, products, or other things around SEO pillars can help a company tremendously. Simply put, it’s a good thing to understand.

For example, let’s say you are naming a new product. Even if you aren’t on the brand end of the business, you still have an understanding of what will work online. You can use this social media knowledge to come up with a name that’s more ‘shareable’ or ad-friendly.

There are ways to interject internet marketing and social media knowledge into everything you do, even if you work in a department that doesn’t directly correlate with the overall internet presence. Therefore, having SEO knowledge will let companies know you are built for the future of business.