Top Resume Skills To Put On Your Australian Resume

Will your resume impress Australian hiring managers?


(31 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)

Last updated: May 7th, 2024

skills to put on a resume

Last updated: May 7th, 2024

Reading Time: 10 minutes

It’s true. You have mad skills – and not with a “z” at the end. Now, you must know how to showcase those skills on your Australian resume.

Including irrelevant skills on your resume annoys recruiters and means your resume may be overlooked by recruitment software.

Googling a list of keywords for the job or industry you want to work in is not helpful. As I’m sure you’ve discovered, they’re generic and leave you with unanswered questions, such as:

  • What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills, and which is better?
  • How and where should you include your unique traits or talents to make an impact?

Listing your skills on your resume is no easy feat. But fear not. These questions are precisely what we’re here to parse through today.

Above: An example of a skills table you’d expect to find on a resume of a Financial Controller.

My team has written thousands of resumes for Australian professionals with a consistent 5-star rating. So, I know how to write a decent Australian resume.

What’s The Difference Between Hard Skills And Soft Skills?

All employers want the ideal mix of skills for the role they’re looking to fill — which usually includes both hard and soft skills.

What Hard Skills Belong On Your Resume?

Hard skills are the technical skills you need to do a certain job. You may have heard people referring to them as job-related skills.

These are teachable and can be quantified through certifications, years of experience in a role where the skill was applied, or skills tests during the recruitment process.

Handy Example.

“Spearfishing” or “HTML/CSS programming”.

Hard skills that can be valuable on a resume include:

  • Ability to operate physical equipment, machinery, hardware or manual processes (e.g., license to operate a tower crane).
  • Proficiency in software, apps and digital tools for analysis, design and productivity (e.g., advanced MS Excel skills).
  • Computer skills, e.g., coding languages or know-how like social media management (e.g., deep knowledge of Ruby on Rails syntax).
  • Level of fluency in a foreign language (e.g., ability to translate from German to Spanish).
  • Specialised techniques such as scientific methods or mathematical modelling (e.g., experience with quadratic models for large signal applications).
  • Knowledge of methodologies (e.g., ISO, Six Sigma) and professional standards.

Did You Know?

Most employers use Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) to scan resumes for specific keywords. For instance, to screen for applicants with a forklift licence, ability to code in React Native, fluency in Spanish, or knowledge of Google Analytics.

What Soft Skills Should You Include On Your Resume?

Soft skills are the personal attributes or skills you use to manoeuvre through life in the world. Also known as adaptive skills. They are subjective and aren’t as easy to quantify.

Examples of soft skills for a resume:

  • Persuasive presenter.
  • Effective active listener.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Creative problem-solver.
  • Confident decision-maker.
  • Positive team player.
  • Self-motivated hard worker.
  • Reliable and honest.
  • Tireless in meeting customer expectations.

Do Employers Prefer Hard Or Soft Skills?

It’s helpful to understand the difference between how recruiters give weight to hard and soft skills:

Hard skillsAre more verifiable because they can be demonstrated through training and work experience. Mentioning hard skills relevant to the job description or industry can be vital to meeting a recruiter’s minimum requirements.
Soft skillsAre personal attributes that influence how well you work with others, overcome problems and adapt to change. They can be harder to acquire – and that makes them valued by employers, especially when deciding between candidates with similar experience/hard skills.

Hard and soft skill sets complement each other — and hiring managers may be more impressed when you can showcase both effectively on your resume.

Let’s say we’re comparing two candidates who both say they have strong communication skills.

Candidate #1 provides this achievement in her resume, focusing on her hard written communication skills:

Candidate #2, meanwhile, provides an achievement that also touches on her hard skills (report writing, analysis, public speaking).

However, she also showcases her soft skills, such as initiative, the ability to nurture relationships, and her ability to influence senior stakeholders.

Who would you invite for an interview?

Top 5 Skills That Belong On (Almost) Every Resume.

Australian employers expect you to showcase skills from every category below.

Both hard and soft skills can be transferrable across multiple roles and industries — so there’s plenty of overlap in skills on resumes submitted by candidates.

Find your unique angle within these commonly sought-after skills ‘buckets’.


Make your resume stand out by thinking carefully about: 1) How your skills align with what the recruiter has asked for in the job ad and 2) The skills you can best prove through examples (both on your resume and if you get to the interview stage).

1. Communication Skills.

Communication is a core skill area, because almost every time we interact with another human being — it’s with the aim of communicating something.

There are many ways you can communicate well in different contexts, to add value to an employer:

  • Oral communication, public speaking and presentation skills in meetings, events or podcasts.
  • Written communication which may be formal, conversational, copywriting, or creative writing.
  • Visual communication such as desktop publishing, slide decks, or even meme selection.
  • Non-verbal communication, perhaps through training in body language, posture, or speech.
  • Active listening, asking good questions, building rapport and showing empathy.
  • Ability to interpret and integrate information from multiple sources.
  • Ability to facilitate, negotiate, mediate, persuade, and lead discussions.

(Related: How To Showcase Communication Skills On Your Resume).

2. Problem-Solving Skills.

No matter where you work or the role you hold, you’ll need to spot issues, find solutions and fix problems (even if they’re minor ones).

Expert Tip.

Don’t explicitly claim that you possess “excellent problem-solving skills”. Instead, illustrate your skills by demonstrating how you used them to achieve an outcome (e.g., “reduced airline’s lost luggage rates by 14%.”

Recruiters highly value evidence of problem-solving skills on your resume, such as:

  • Critical thinking, such as projects or tasks that involved developing questions/queries, research, interpretation, evaluation, collaboration with expert peers, prediction, and analysis.
  • Complex problem solving, such as projects to gather and leverage data, overcoming major obstacles, or removing conflict among stakeholders.
  • Creative problem solving, such as developing new product lines, pivoting to new business models and reducing costs through improved efficiency.

(Related: Resume Templates That Australian Employers Love).

3. Interpersonal/People Skills.

Workforces are comprised of human beings (even remote ones). Customers are human beings.

And all humans have distinct personalities and messy emotions — as much as we try to smooth the way with professional language and social etiquette.


Your resume must convey the sense that you’re a good-natured, well-rounded individual who won’t annoy or discomfit your colleagues, needlessly cause conflict and drama, or deter customers.

On your resume, look for opportunities to show you have:

  • Great teamwork skills through how you’ve brought people together, provided motivation, used negotiation skills, been flexible when a project’s goals shifted.
  • Customer service skills by assisting customers with problems, achieved feedback from satisfied customers, or delivered measurable improvement in customer experience metrics.
  • Ability to lead with empathy by supporting your team to achieve a goal or develop professionally, or mediated conflict during an emotive high-pressure situation. 
  • An open mind, such as supporting initiatives that made a workplace more inclusive or creating outputs designed for/with people from diverse, multicultural backgrounds.

4. Management Skills.

The practical ability to organise people and resources to get tangible results shows you’re a skilled employee that can add value at any level — whether you hold a leadership role or not.

Management skills to mention on your resume:

  • People management, such as forming and leading a team, consensus-building through collaborative projects or professional networks, or engaging customer stakeholder groups.
  • Project management including developing tasks, budgets and timelines, keeping them on track, creating workflow procedures or systems, delegating and exception/risk management.
  • Ability to manage yourself including goal setting, working independently, prioritisation, time management, and taking responsibility for your own professional development.

5. Adaptability Skills.

Also known as agility, versatility, and flexibility — adaptability has become a top skill broadly favoured by hiring managers.

Whether it’s the emergence of AI or even just a feature update to common software like Word, tools and techniques used in the workplace evolve often.

List skills that demonstrate a growth mindset. Pitch yourself as someone eager to learn, develop, innovate, and embrace change.

Examples of adaptability skills to include on your resume:

  • Leading organisational or behavioural change initiatives, including formal change management programs and informal efforts like promoting recycling in the lunch room.
  • Ability to identify new opportunities through market research, customer surveys/complaints, learnings from a project, or through a professional development experience.
  • Ability to apply skills in different contexts, such as developing a cross-functional service offering, innovating on existing ideas or processes, or testing new concepts.

How To Showcase Your Skills With Impact.

Remember this point above all else:

Skills don’t solve business problems; people do.

Two candidates applying for the same role might possess identical education and training, yet have entirely different career paths (and results to show for it) based on how they’ve decided to apply their skills.

By demonstrating how you’ve applied your skills previously, you can communicate the commercially relevant business problems you can solve for a potential employer.

That makes an impact.

If a hiring manager happens to have a problem that you can uniquely solve, you’ll likely get a call for an interview.

(Related: Resume Examples That Australian Employers Love).

How To Include Skills Throughout Your Resume.

Ensure your skills tell a clear, cohesive career narrative throughout your resume.

You’ll likely mention skills in your resume’s three most important sections:

How To Format Your Skills Correctly On Your Resume.

How you should format skills depends largely on your level of expertise and seniority.

  • Early to mid-career professionals and specialists can often get away with simple lists/tables that help recruiters scanning your resume to quickly see you’ve got essentials needed to qualify for the job — project managers, financial planners, cybersecurity and other IT professionals, medical professionals, etc.
  • Senior leadership and executive roles are an exception to the rule. At this level, it’s incumbent upon you to prove you have what it takes to solve your desired employer’s biggest business challenges. A simple table won’t get you there; you must demonstrate your skills by describing key accomplishments in full sentences.

Let’s say you’re a mid-career software engineer.

Your next dream job is a Head of Engineering role at an Australian outpost of a global software company. Hello, Google. Hello, Microsoft.

On the first page of your resume, you’d typically include a list with practical, real-world skills, which might look something like this:

For senior-most candidates, we recommend showcasing your skills (both hard and soft) in a way that illustrates your personal value proposition through achievements.

They land either at the bottom of the first page of your resume, in a section called Core (or Key) Assets:


And, of course, you must sprinkle your skills throughout your Profile and Professional Experience sections.

How To Showcase Your Skills Through Achievements.

Senior executives, in particular, need to tie their skills to tangible results. Without the results, your most coveted skills will sound like fluff.

The CAR technique is an effective and straightforward way to translate your skills into accomplishments that can capture recruiters’ hearts, minds, and eyes.

For each skill you’re seeking to highlight, begin by asking yourself these 3 questions:

  • Challenge: what big challenges have you faced relative to this skill? Remember to span your career versus just your most recent role.
  • Actions: what specific actions did you take to overcome those challenges? The key word here is specific.
  • Results: what was the impact of your work? Consider the frequency and scale of your impact.

Here are two examples of this technique in action:

1. You’re A CMO who wants to tout your change management skills.

  • A major challenge in your career involved a significant revenue shortfall at your company.
  • The action you took was to initiate a policy change that freed up funds for direct marketing.
  • The result was that you nearly eliminated the loss in less than a year.

It might turn out something like this:

“Transformed a $30M revenue shortfall by creating a new approach to direct marketing that cut losses by 75% in 6 months’ time.”

That example would fit best in a list of achievements, even though it’s highlighting a skill.

2. You’re A VP of HR who wants to emphasise your leadership skills.

  • Your action was to create a program that delineated career paths for various roles.
  • In one of your roles, your company was suffering from crippling attrition due to a lack of growth opportunities.
  • The result was reduced attrition for hard-to-fill roles.

It might read like this:

“Designed and championed career pathway program focused on reducing attrition in key talent areas, reducing employee turnover by 20%”

This would fit nicely in your Core Assets section, as it shows your leadership skills without having to say “leadership.”

Above: You probably have more transferrable skills than you realise.

Skills That You Must Exclude From Your Resume.

Now that you’re skilled in skills, let’s discuss skills that don’t belong on your resume.

1. Skills You Don’t Possess.

While the readers of our blog are unquestionably people of integrity, a CareerBuilder survey reports that more than 75% of Australian HR managers have pinpointed a lie on a resume.

So, even if your intentions are good, resist the temptation to embellish or exaggerate your skills to get the job.

(Related Article: 7 Best Resume Builders In Australia).

Whether it means you get an interview and don’t perform – or, even worse, you get hired and aren’t sure what you’re doing.


The bottom line, tell the truth. And apply for jobs that don’t err too far on the edge of aspirational.

2. Obsolete Skills.

Still a whiz with MS-DOS, Lotus 1-2-3, or Vista?  Keep it on the down-low. Technology changes by the day, and many great innovations have gone the way of the dinosaur.

Been out of the workforce for a while?

Ensure the skills you list on your resume are still current and in demand by employers.

3. Irrelevant Skills.

If your skills aren’t directly (or even remotely) related to the job you’re applying for, leave them off.

This may seem obvious, but it can sometimes be subtle.

Maybe you use a certain sport, workout, or meditation technique to stay focused at work.

You feel it’s important for your future Australian employer to know how centered you are.

However, think twice before you waste a recruiter’s time citing your mindfulness practice, or your squash abilities. Save it for the interview.

4. Used and Abused Skills.

This list is a good depository of words that have been overused. Avoid at all costs when crafting your resume:

  • Specialised.
  • Experienced.
  • Skilled.
  • Passionate.
  • Expert.
  • Motivated.
  • Creative.
  • Strategic.
  • Focused.

5. No-Brainer Skills.

The above list is also a poignant reminder that very employer already expects you to be ALL (or most) of those things.

So, why bother spelling them out?

Also, please don’t list “MS Office”, “email” or the “internet” as skills you possess. Now let’s move on to best practices for resume skills.


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