The #1 Skill You Should Be Putting on Your Resume


It seems that everyone has advice on how to develop a strong resume these days. Yet for all of the focus on formatting and buzzwords to use (and avoid), there is still very little focus on which skills you should include on your resume.

Obviously, you want to highlight the skills and experience that make you a good fit for the job. That’s a no-brainer. There are some skills, though, that employers are looking for that they may not explicitly state in the job posting. If you can show experience in these areas, you could rise to the top of the candidate list. One of those in-demand skills is social media.

Now, just about everyone knows how to use social media these days. However, let’s get this straight right up front: An employer is not going to be impressed that you know how to post funny cat videos to Facebook or choose just the right filter to capture the beauty of your morning latte on Instagram. Instead, employers are looking for people who understand social media’s role in corporate communication and branding. They want to hire people who can use social media tools strategically, analyze results, and constantly improve those results.

Many companies hire staff members specifically to handle day-to-day social media responsibilities. In fact, most communication and business educational programs now include social media as a part of the curriculum, requiring students to study social media best practices. However, even if you aren’t looking for a social media-specific position, it’s important to demonstrate your social media experience and knowledge on your resume.

Beware the Dreaded “Expert”

Many people attempt to sell themselves as an expert in social media simply based on their abilities to perform certain tasks. Sure, you may have taught yourself to use Hootsuite, and know how to schedule tweets, and started a blog that has followers other than your mom and best friend, but that by no means makes you an expert in social media.

In fact, some argue that it’s actually impossible to be an expert in social media, given the ever-changing nature of the medium. That being said, you can still show off your social media skills without claiming expert status. Some of the points to highlight include:

  • Listing of programs and platforms that you’re familiar with. Most employers will assume that you know how to use Facebook and Instagram; focus instead on more complex tools and backend systems, such as WordPress, Dreamweaver, and HTML.
  • Your biggest successes. Even if you don’t have any professional experience using social media, if you’ve been successful outside of work you clearly have skills that can benefit an employer. Have you attracted thousands of Twitter followers based on your pithy analysis of reality television shows? Are your Pinterest boards “must follows”? Have your blogs been picked up for syndication? Showing that you know what audiences are looking for and that you have built your own personal brand will impress employers.
  • Your understanding of analytics.
  • Experience with social media campaigns. If you’ve done work with SEO, PPC campaigns, search engine marketing, content marketing, or other forms of social media marketing, include that information in the description of your previous experience.

Of course, you should also include links to your social media profiles so that employers can see exactly what you’re capable of and assess your abilities. Of course, you want to make sure that you’ve cleaned up your profiles ahead of to avoid any embarrassment or being taken out of consideration, but if you are claiming social media experience, be prepared for employers to check out your claims.

social-media-expertWhen You Don’t Have Any Experience

So you haven’t taken any courses in social media, and your experience doesn’t extend much beyond connecting with your friends and family via Facebook. That’s okay. A lack of social media expertise isn’t necessarily going to ruin your chances of landing a job outside of the communication or marketing fields.

However, if you don’t have any experience, it would benefit your job search if you took the time to get some. Consider starting a blog, or reading some of the many websites or books available on the fundamentals of social media marketing. Try setting up a Twitter account and engaging with others in your field. While putting these activities on your resume isn’t a great idea, if you land the interview, you’ll be able to honestly answer questions about social media and show your willingness to learn.

In the end, demonstrating that you’re in touch with current tools and understand how to use them is appealing to any employer. As you construct (or revamp) your resume, make sure your social media skills take center stage and you’ll have a better chance of getting calls for interviews.

2 Responses to The #1 Skill You Should Be Putting on Your Resume

  1. Amos says:

    I have been working as a social media manager for the past one year. However I cant go saying that I am an expert in the field. Everyday we have a new tool that is to be used and applied before you know, someone else is better than you.

  2. When writing a resume, honesty is the best policy. One should not claim to be an expert in something when his knowledge on that certain discipline is limited. It is really how one packages himself through this resume. Personally, I don’t claim to be an expert at anything basically because there will always people who are better than me but I am better than them in other discipline. When one lacks the experience, I agree that he should spend some time educating himself about it and if necessary get some formal training to know the basics and he can improve himself from there.

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