Skills on your resume you need to highlight for 2021

This year has brought about a myriad of changes. The way we socialize, how we shop, and even what we wear have all been altered in some way.

Not immune to these changes, the way we work has evolved immensely in 2020, which means the skills on your resume you need to highlight for 2021 will look different as well. 

Smart job seekers who are up-to-date on current hiring trends will want to focus on highlighting the skills employers want to see more of heading into next year. One way to make sure that the necessary skills a recruiter or hiring manager wants to see come clearly into focus when they read your resume is by featuring them prominently. 

“You should highlight your skills throughout your resume, specifically when you talk about your impact at previous roles and in the skills section if you include one,” Paulette Piñero, owner and principal consultant at LEAD Media, LLC tells Ladders. 

Piñero explains that job seekers should have a resume that includes “keyword-rich bullet points that align with your experience and the jobs you want to get hired for.” In 2021 though, knowing what employers are looking for specifically in the current climate and how to speak to these skills with your experience is helpful.

How to highlight specific skills on your resume

In addition to making sure that key skills related to the job description are included throughout your resume, it’s important to show employers that you understand how to bring specific skills you possess to the forefront of your application.

“Some ways you can highlight key skills on your resume is being as specific as possible on the projects and goals you achieved and what systems you used,” Piñero says. “Add numbers and metrics to show your impact.” 

One example of how to back up your skills with numbers is through specific data related to your responsibilities. “If you are highlighting your project management skills you might want to add how many client cases you were responsible for, your compliance rating for your caseload, and what app you used to keep the work organized and on time,” Piñero says.

If an employer uses an Applicant Tracking System to help sift through applications, it’s important to understand how the skills you highlight on your resume impact this. “Having a keyword-rich resume will position you as a top candidate on an ATS, so identify what those skills and competencies are in the job description and make sure your resume reflects those words with the experience to back it up,” Piñero says.

After a year filled with changes in the workplace, it’s crucial to let potential employers know what you can realistically bring to the table.

“It’s now more important than ever for job seekers to highlight skills that show they are able to adjust to sudden changes, can work well with others, and that they can be transparent on the workload they have,” Piñero says. 

Below are some of the specific types of skills that employers will be looking for heading into 2021. 

Change management

Piñero tells Ladders that change management “is all about being effective at accepting changes and knowing what information you need after a shift in goals or objectives.” You can also think of this term as describing your ability to adapt — something we have all had to do throughout 2020. 

“It’s not about adjusting to change just to agree with your boss, it’s about understanding when you are having a difficult time agreeing with a decision you had no power of changing, self-advocating, getting informed and then joining the rest of the team to get a project done,” Piñero says. “COVID has pushed companies to try a lot of different things in a short amount of time, so employers are looking for candidates that are comfortable with last-minute shifts.”


Especially in a remote work environment, highlighting your ability to collaborate with others in all areas of your job on your resume is imperative. 

“Quick water cooler conversations are a thing of the past, and employers not only need team players, but the staff that can collaborate with other departments or partners,” Piñero says. “Employers want to see that even in a remote or virtual setting you still know how to collaborate with folks outside of your immediate team to work towards the company goals.”

Project management

When you’re working remotely, or even only in the office part-time, your employer can’t always keep close tabs on what you’re doing, so the ability to independently manage your tasks is imperative. Piñero tells Ladders that “transparency is key when people in a team are not in the same space,” which makes project management a top skill to list on your resume heading into 2021.  

“Employers want to see how efficient you are at managing different tasks and you have to be able to explain your progress-to-goals, what are the biggest roadblocks, and what you are spending most of your time on,” Piñero says. “Being proficient at project management and developing plans is the best way to go from an endless to-do list on paper to showing your boss how your day is looking like when you are not connected on Zoom.”

Skills to skip in 2021

In addition to knowing what skills should be included on your resume in 2021, it’s also important to know which ones can be left off to leave room to focus on the skills employers are seeking. If you can’t back your skills up with relevant data or support with the specific way you obtained the skill, skip it in favor of a skill more relevant to current hiring needs like the ones listed above.

“Any skill that is not attached to specific impact or education experience should be left out of your resume,” Piñero says. “I see a lot of folks adding skills like customer service, data entry, and negotiation but you can’t find any experience or certifications that validate that competency or skill.”
Keeping these tips in mind can help your resume stand out among job seekers in 2021 and make the new year your best yet.