How to highlight in-demand skills on your resume, from a labor economist

"Write a clear, crisp resume with perfect grammar and spelling."


Researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) recently studied employer demand for different competencies, or the "knowledge, skills, and abilities workers use in their jobs." Those employers value most: communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving.

Exhibiting these competencies while on the job can ultimately lead to an earnings boost of as much as 20%, according to the study.

Even before you get hired, highlighting these skills on your resume and during the interview process can help catch an employer's attention. Here's how to showcase core competencies during the hiring process, according to Julia Pollak, labor economist at ZipRecuiter.


  • Proofread your resume. "Write a clear, crisp resume with perfect grammar and spelling," says Pollak. This shows you are detail-oriented and can offer strong written communication skills.
  • Link to samples of your professional work. "If you've written professional articles, made flyers, recorded a podcast, or made videos," says Pollak, make sure to include these as bullets under the appropriate job titles. Or "make a list providing titles and links," she says, at the end of your resume.
  • Practice interviewing. "Think through answers to the most common interview questions beforehand so that you sound clear and fluent in the interview," she says. This shows you've honed your oral communication skills, too.
How to write a resume hiring managers will notice

Video by Mariam Abdallah


  • Celebrate team successes. "Highlight any experience you have working in a team environment or leading a team" on your resume, says Pollak. These could be incorporated as bullets under the appropriate job titles.
  • Be kind and respectful. During the interview, make sure to show respect to everyone you meet. "Learn the receptionist's name, greet the janitor, and be friendly to everyone who interviews you," says Pollak. This indicates you recognize everyone plays an integral role in the operation.
  • Say "we." During the interview, "use the words 'we,' 'us,' and 'our' when you describe what you want to achieve on the job," says Pollak. This will "help the interviewers imagine you as part of the team."


  • Include examples. Highlight past leadership roles on your resume as bullets under the relevant job titles. Do you have experience "leading a team or organization, directing a project, managing a budget," says Pollak? Mention that.
  • Think beyond work experience. Do you only have experience taking on leadership roles outside of work? Create a section for volunteer experience at the end of your resume where you can include relevant examples, such as leading a team of volunteers at your local soup kitchen last Christmas or taking on PTO duties at your kids' school.
5 tips to ace video job interviews

Video by Courtney Stith

Problem solving and complex thinking

  • Incorporate classwork. "If you're new to the workforce," says Pollak, one way of highlighting problem-solving skills is listing "higher-level STEM courses you completed in high school or college on your resume."
  • List your wins. If you've "solved important business problems you encountered" in previous jobs, make sure to give specific examples of when you've done so in bullets under the relevant job title.
  • Talk about overcoming challenges. "Prepare to speak in your job interview about two or three challenges or problems you've encountered in your career and how you overcame them," says Pollak.

More from Grow:

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2019 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.