Looking for that fulfilling HR job?
It’s tough, and you know it. Unlike other domains wherein technical proficiency takes precedence over other factors, being an ideal HR professional has to be a complete package.
Do you know what would be even more unfortunate? Possessing all the skills you need to land that dream HR job but not being able to reflect the same on a piece of paper – be it a resume or a cover letter.
How to write HR skills in a resume/cover letter?
How you add skills in your resume differs slightly from how you do it in a cover letter.
On your resume, you mention the skills as broad-level functions in a separate ‘KEY SKILLS’ section. Then you validate these skills in the professional experience section by mentioning your contributions in crisp one-liner bullet points.
In a cover letter, you can shortlist the most significant skills which you demonstrated in your previous work experience in a paragraph or two.
A caveat though: make sure that the skills mentioned in the resume are substantiated in your work experience and can be justified in interviews.
A common mistake people make in their resume is shortlist the skills from the JD and write the function verbatim in their professional experience.
For example, don’t write “highly skilled in human resource management and payroll management” because most resumes we see are phrased along similar lines. Doing the same could be a sure-shot way to instant rejection.
You can create a separate Key Skills section above the Professional Experience section and mention phrases from the JD which you can justify in your resume and interviews. In the professional experience, write one-liner points around these functions instead of merely name-dropping them in your work-ex.
Don’t write you’re ‘highly skilled in payroll management’. You can write ‘Independently administered the payroll management function for 100+ employees “.
Instead of “oversaw performance management”, you should write “Monitored and enhanced the performance of 100+ employees via periodic performance checks and weekly one-on-one sessions”.
Without further ado, let’s talk about the top 10 HR skills which should be present in resumes and cover letters:
Human Resource Management
The most obvious one, but something that many job seekers still manage to skip. It includes the entire HR lifecycle, and mentioning it in the resume means you’re proficient in all the processes that are included in HRM. Only add this skill if you’ve legitimately worked in the end-to-end HRM lifecycle, otherwise only include the specific subdomains under HRM.
Employee Relationship Management
Instead of merely stating that you’re “good at employee relationship management”, highlight instances across your work profiles wherein you exhibited this critical skill. When it’s done done, adding this skill in the Key Skills section will work since you’d have validated this skill in your professional experience.
Employee Onboarding & Retention
Have a look at this sample resume point:
“Conceptualized an innovative onboarding program to on-board 300+ employees in a span of 6 months and reduce attrition by 16%”
Once you’ve provided quantifiable data around onboarding and retention, you can then add it as a skill in your resume.
There are several tasks included under this umbrella such as planning OKRs for the employees, monitoring the performance, encouraging them to meet their key results and undertaking corrective action in case of deviation.
To excel at this task, an HR rep needs to have strong interpersonal and communication skills.
If you have not specifically done performance management in your previous roles, fret not!
Any experience of mentoring, coaching or tutoring can be categorized under performance management.
As for your cover letter, check out this sample:
“In my role at XYZ Ltd., I successfully integrated the performance review program with the departmental OKRs to motivate the workforce in achieving targets”
Teamwork and Collaboration
It is important to have a fresh perspective and implement changes whenever necessary.
You have to showcase your skills in identifying improvement areas and altering existing policies accordingly.
Here is how you can showcase this skill on your resume:
“Interfacing with diverse stakeholders to ensure compliance with internal guidelines and regulatory norms”
Resolving conflicts and settling disputes is critical to resolving workplace issues quickly and effectively. HR reps spend a huge chunk of their time resolving conflicts.
You need the discipline and clear-headedness to address complaints. Being a friendly person is not enough.
To showcase this skill on your resume, briefly mention instances wherein you resolved conflicts between different individuals or departments. There’s no need to elaborate in these cases; merely stating a one-liner point describing the dispute and your contribution in settling the same will work.
Compensation & Payroll Management
HR needs to handle matter related to workplace injuries and illness. If you are an experienced HR rep, you are expected to be well-versed with the federal and state laws related to worker compensation.
Check out this sample for your cover letter
“Resolved 50+ compensation disputes and 15+ cases of workplace injury and compensation in a span of 6 months”
To possess payroll management skill, you should have managed payroll of employees and should have expertise in tax, compensation, benefits, etc.
Here is how you can mention this skill on your resume
“Designed weekly reports to consolidate payrolls of 600+ employees for the HR Manager”
HR Policy Formulation and Implementation
Designing and implementing policies same in an organization is an imperative HR responsibility. These policies can be around daily operations, appraisals, promotions, performance reviews, and workplace decorum.
Here is an example of how to mention policy formulation skill on your resume:
“Developed and revised policies, process maps, and procedures for all functional areas”
Orientation & Exit Interviews
Orientation & Exit Interviews are basic HR tasks you need to be adept at whether you are a fresher or an experienced professional.
Here is how you can put this skill on your resume
“Steered 20+ orientation sessions and 30+ exit interviews on a quarterly basis”
Lateral & Campus Recruitment
Companies seeking fresh talent rely on campus recruitment for fulfilling manpower requirements. As an experienced HR, you should have this skill listed on your resume.
“Spearheaded campus recruitment in North Division and recruited 50+ sales personnel”
These are some key HR skills that should be there in a resume. Additional skills can depend on your specific role. It’s important to scrutinize your day-to-day responsibilities in order to extract relevant skills that you can include and adequately justify in your resume.
Make sure to not lie or exaggerate as the person screening your resume knows how to spot a bluff from miles away. Make sure whatever skills you are adding is being substantiated in your work-ex below.
On a quest to help professionals across the world land their dream jobs, Aditya lives and breathes Hiration — a platform to help job-seekers find their way in the treacherous job market — where he’s a Co-Founder and the unofficial CPO (Chief Problem-solving Officer). He likes to code away his days and nights when he’s not busy disrupting the career space.
Read also: What Do Recruiters Look For in a Resume?