Skills to put on a resume… that I wish I had
If my hindsight was as good as my actual sight, then I wouldn’t have nearly the trouble that I do driving at night. Seriously, it’s super annoying. But I suffer from what I think a lot of people do: my hindsight is 20/20. In fact, if I knew that I was going to end up moving at least three times between college and turning 30, that I was going to become a teacher, or that
I was going to have such a hard time dealing with idiots at work was going to have a lot of “growth” moments in conflict resolution, then I would have done things a LOT differently during college. There are 8 skills to put on a resume that I wish I had at this point.
And while I know that there’s really never a point that’s too late to learn these skills, it’s much more difficult when you’re working 10 hours a day, not including working on this blog. So today, I’m going to tap my knee, tell you to hop on, and give you some good ol’ fashioned old guy advice. Here are the skills to put on a resume that you should look to add ASAP, young whippersnapper.
Skill #1 – ASL
Really, any foreign language should be on your list of skills to put on a resume. I’ve never gotten a job just because I speak French, but I know that spending a year abroad before starting college really boosted my odds of admission. But I always wished that I had added another language, and I think that ASL has some great aspects to it.
First, it’s simply based on words, and it’s not like learning a new language in the traditional sense. You don’t have to learn a new alphabet/syllabary, you don’t have learn conjugation, you don’t have to learn advanced verb tenses (subjunctive, anyone?), and you’re not going to get really stupid grammar rules (“That is something up with which I will not put”. Yeah, that’s actually how you say it.)
Not to mention, there’s definitely something to be said for a language that isn’t spoken (for you covert spies out there). AND I’m going to make the argument that you can learn it faster than traditional languages, though everyone is different.
With free lancers earning up to $50/ hour, for a job that’s not high stress AT ALL, I’d say it’s not a bad gig to consider.
Skill #2 – Mandarin
This should not be a hard sell for anyone. After all, with just short of 1 billion speakers, Mandarin is one of those languages that just REEKS of utility. Not to mention, it’s way less common to see a caucasian speak of Mandarin than it is an asian speaker of english. Let’s call it out for what it is, folks: we just don’t have the same drive to learn foreign languages on this side of the pond.
So if you’re looking to impress and get the eyebrows across the table from you to raise up, get yourself some skills in Mandarin.
Skill #3 – Coding
This is something that I’ve regretted even before I graduated from college. I wish that I were (speaking of subjunctive…) WAY more fluent in at least on other programming language.
Now, I spent a solid 6 months after I graduated college trying to wrap my head around Python. I knew that this was one of those skills to put on a resume that would be extremely valuable in the future. I got as far as making an app that dowloaded the weather, which in coding terms really isn’t all that much. I knew guys that worked for my school district that literally did this in a day.
But I was pretty proud of it. The problem was I kind of hit a plateau, and really didn’t know what resources to turn to. So I let the skill kind of fall off the bandwagon, so to speak. But I wish I had the chance to take a couple of programming courses in college, or at least through a community college or something. That way I’d have a formal background in it.
But I am a financial blogger, and a skill has to be more than just interesting for me to actually pursue it; it’s gotta pay off in the end. And with an average salary that breaks 6-figures, maybe I should spend less time blogging and more time coding… 😉 JUST KIDDING I WOULD NEVER LEAVE YOU GUYS!
Skill #4 – Contract Law
One of my biggest personality flaws is that when I want to develop a new skill or learn something, it’s not enough for me to try and do it just a little at a time and see if I like it. No, I like to “go Hulk” on pretty much all things learning. So while some people might take an entire course on business law, I want to attend the best law school in the country. While some people might think about buying one house to start off their real estate investment career, I think about buying the entire block off of Rodeo drive. While some people think about learning proper knife techniques in the kitchen, I’m trying to think how I can out-cook and out-asshole Gordon Ramsey.
I preface this particular skill with that personality flaw because you should know that I actually have taken a contract law course, and I know a thing or two about it. What I really wish is that I had pulled my head a little further out of my bum and remembered more of this, because this is a HUGE boon for anyone. This is one of those skills to put on a resume you don’t know you need, until you need it.
Think about it; how many contracts do you sign/read every year? Between leases, cell phone contracts, job contracts, ISP contracts, contracts for using moving equipment, blah blah blah, contracts are everywhere! And while you 100% cannot practice law without first passing the bar exam in your state (well, not legally) having this background in contracts is super useful so you can at least smell out the bullshit and get you, your co-worker, or your boss to a lawyer before it’s too late.
Skill #5 – Conflict Resolution/People Management
Can you feel the skills getting softer and softer? At number 5, being able to resolve conflict is one of those skills to put on a resume that, frankly, you don’t hear about all that much. It’s not like Jerry Springer or Dr. Phil can have any job they want just because they’re “experts” on conflict resolution.
But let me tell you in all my years in the working world (coming up on #4, thank you very much) being able to diffuse a situation and manage other people’s emotions is a skill that will save you a TON of time and heartache.
Being a teacher, I’ve had quite a bit of exposure to this. Yes, it’s primarily involved children in some form of “he said, she said” crap which they don’t remember in two hours, but I’ve also had to splash some water on some emotional fires in the workplace.
But of course, this is not just limited to children/education; this is something that you’re going to see from the day you’re competing for that corner office, all the way to the day when you’re the person determining who gets the corner office. The sooner you’ve figured out how to get people to chill and get on the same page, the better.
Skill #6 – Work A Room
Number 6 on our list of skills to put on a resume is one that will serve those of you who want to be comedians all the way down to those who want to be charming at your spouses family reunion. Being able to work a room is something that really isn’t quantifiable, but damn, if you can do, you’ll have people liking you as much as they liked Bill Clinton.
The reason I bring this up is I still struggle to walk into a room where I don’t know anyone and strike up a conversation. Generally I feel like I’m interviewing them. But once I
drink enough really get into the flow of things, I find that I get pretty comfortable.
But I’ve always been really jealous of those people that can just walk up to a group of people and start chatting away about nothing. And for any of you considering a sales role, this is something that you’re desperately going to need. Am I saying that you should just throw down, “Really good at chatting up the opposite sex in a bar” on your resume? Not necessarily. But you should consider being a resume ninja and getting this down somewhere.
Skill #7 – Technology fluency (file types, hardware, software)
Yes, we all put down that we’re proficient in Microsoft Office. Yes, we know how to compress data files. Yes, we all know to shut down the computer and restart it before we contact IT. But how GREAT would it be if we could take it to the next level and really understand the technology that we use day in and day out?
I’ve met people that thought they were fluent in Excel, for example. But I’ve literally seen them (on Google sheets) copy (ctrl + c) between cells, as opposed to just dragging down the cell. HOW RIDICULOUS?! Sorry, but you don’t know Excel if you think that it’s just used as a fancy way to make tables.
That’s just one example, but these skills are the sort of thing that make you VERY in demand in an organization. I saved my administration, and fellow teachers, hours of work by doing a simple mail merge as opposed to writing students names on EVERY SINGLE REPORT CARD!!! Imagine how much more dangerous I (and you!) could be if we had just a bit more technological fluency.
Skill #8 – Statistics
This is another one of those skills to put on a resume that I really wish I knew more about. Here’s what I do know: at the school I worked at down in Texas, we had one guy that really knew statistics well, inside and out. I’m talking t-tests, z-tests, chi-squared tests, regressions, and what’s worse, he could tell you how you were using them incorrectly. It was great to see him go and try to keep up with him.
But this guy was priceless: he could do things with statistics and really create a narrative through numbers that the rest of use could understand, but certainly couldn’t recreate. He really had it made in terms of job satisfaction and job security.
Then there’s the other side of things, where I basically had to take 10 minutes to explain to co-workers why you can’t take the average of two percentages to get an “average percent” of a group. Or why, in general, a median is going to be a stronger measure of central tendency than a mean. My favorite was when a co-worker asked me to find the mean of a set of numbers. Just for fun, and to see how well they knew stats, I asked, “Which one?” (for those of you that are curious, yes, there are many different kinds of means. Check ’em out!)
Ah to be young and kind of a douche. Thank god I learned from that experience.
Skills to put on a resume… that I wish I had – The Wrap Up
I’m not sure that I would change much about my college education. But after having spent a few years in the workforce, there are definitely some minor tweaks I would make. If you’re still in college (or frankly, even if you’re not) I see no reason to think that it’s too late to develop these skills. Again, here’s what I wish I could put on my resume:
- ASL – Lots of speakers, not as tough as a traditional language, and has the bonus of being able to be used silently. Awesome.
- Mandarin – Lots and LOTS of speakers, super tough to learn, and makes you seem borderline genius if you didn’t grow up speaking it.
- Coding – Software is eating the world, folks. Might as well hope on the bandwagon sooner rather than later.
- Contract law – We sign several contracts a year. Don’t you think it’s a good idea to know what some of that stuff actually means?
- Conflict resolution/management – Getting people to do things they don’t want to do without threatening them or paying them. That’s a huge skill.
- Work a room – Become the suave motherfucker you were meant to be.
- Software fluency – The most non-negotiable of skills to put on a resume. Become the “go-to” guy or gal in the office. You’ll feel fulfilled, and come salary negotiation time, you’ll be in a better position.
- Statistics – Because claiming, “I was never a math person” doesn’t make you sound cute. It makes you sound a goddamn idiot.
So, anything from this list of skills to put on a resume you think I missed? What’s been the #1 best skill that you’ve had on your resume? Anything that you wish you could put on/redo, if you could? Comment below!
For more from The Code To Riches, check out:
- The Seven Steps to Avoid Being a Money Moron
- The 7 Vegetarian Meals That Are Saving My Budget
- How Much Is Half A Million Dollars?
- The 10 Best Finance Books Money Can Buy
- 9 Credit Score Hacks You Must Know
- Why I Never Want To Retire
- The Laziest Way to Riches – Investing In Index Funds
- Budgeting Basics – Allocating $$$ Like A Boss
- Fuck You, Frugality
- Why A Million Budgeting Tips Will Never Be Enough
Keep trying to crack the code,
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