8 HR Skills to Include on a Résumé

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An HR manager interviewing a job candidate in his office.


In any organization, a skilled and proficient human resources division can offer immense value. HR professionals are stewards of an organization’s most important assets: its people. The HR team can play an essential role in keeping employees happy, engaged and motivated through such key duties as benefits administration and conflict resolution. Additionally, HR professionals can help their company comply with employment regulations, protect against workplace lawsuits and build robust teams through hiring and recruitment processes.

For anyone who wishes to add organizational value in this way, one of the most consequential steps is to obtain a degree in organizational psychology or a related field. This formal education can provide an opportunity to hone essential skills. From there, aspiring HR professionals can highlight these important HR skills for a résumé, helping them stand out from other job seekers in a growing and competitive field.

4 Fundamental Hard HR Skills for a Résumé

There are several technical competencies that HR professionals should possess. These skills are especially valuable when collaborating with other departments or divisions, including legal and finance. Some of the most essential hard HR skills for a résumé include the following.

Legal Knowledge

Employment laws are constantly changing, at both the local and federal levels. HR professionals must stay abreast of these changes, ensuring that their employer remains compliant with any pertinent laws that govern hiring practices and preclude discrimination. Intimate knowledge of HR laws will also help guarantee employee terminations are justified and properly documented, shielding the company against lawsuits or allegations of prejudice.

Technological Skills

While HR professionals do not need to have the same technological know-how as their co-workers in IT, it can certainly be beneficial to have a basic familiarity with cloud computing, cybersecurity and other key technologies. Some entry-level tech skills will enable HR leaders to work effectively and productively within their company’s technological infrastructure.

HR Software Competency

A more specific form of technological know-how is familiarity with HR software. There are hundreds of HR platforms that enable professionals in the field to manage employee records, track performance and assist employees in utilizing their benefits. Any experience with HR software should be highlighted on the job seeker’s résumé and cover letter.

Financial and Budgeting Skills

When people think about human resources, financial expertise probably isn’t the first skill that comes to mind. And yet, financial competence is essential to success in this position, which includes such finance-related tasks as payroll and benefits administration. Many HR professionals are also included in budgeting discussions. As such, they need to be prepared to speak authoritatively about the fiscal resources their department needs.

4 Essential Soft HR Skills for a Résumé

In addition to these hard skills, successful HR professionals must hone certain soft skills that can be helpful in shaping organizational culture and maintaining employee morale. A few of the most important examples are listed below.

Leadership Skills

Those who advance through the HR career path may find themselves in positions of HR leadership, potentially leading and managing teams. They must be able to think critically and strategically, manage change and persuade and influence others. For example, HR professionals may be called on to make tough and consequential decisions about which employee to hire, how to handle workplace conflict and more. In the age of COVID-19, many HR professionals have had to make major decisions about employee safety, including policies about mask-wearing, vaccinations and beyond.

Communication Skills

Often, the HR team is called on to communicate new policies to employees and answer any questions that arise. Additionally, HR team members must be able to educate employees about the benefits available to them; a crucial step in boosting benefits utilization and employee engagement. As such, both verbal and written communication skills are vital to the job.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Tensions can arise in any workplace, sometimes spilling over into conflict between two or more employees. In many businesses, the HR team is responsible for defusing these prickly situations, doing so in a way where each involved employee feels they have been heard and validated. As such, HR professionals benefit from having mediation skills and being able to think clearly about when disciplinary action may be required.

Organizational Skills

Another key soft skill for HR professionals to master is organizational ability. This doesn’t just mean being able to keep up with paperwork and employee documentation, though this is certainly a plus. HR professionals should also have proficiency in project management, employee development and even strategic planning.

HR Trends That Impact Résumés

Some of the HR skills mentioned here are evergreen. It’s also important to acknowledge, however, that the field of human resources is always changing. New trends emerge all the time, shaping the workplace as a whole and the HR profession in particular. To prove themselves as standout candidates, HR job seekers might highlight on their résumés their comfort and familiarity with these trends and pressing issues.

Below are examples of HR trends that may be worth featuring on a résumé.

Remote Work

With the COVID-19 pandemic, more companies have embraced a remote work option — a trend that could outlast the pandemic itself. For example, workplace consultants Global Workplace Analytics predicts that even when the pandemic ends, a quarter or so of all employees will continue to work from home at least some of the time. This raises some key questions about building workplace culture and maintaining employee engagement, especially when personnel are scattered across different physical locations. HR can play a crucial role in promoting shared values and keeping employees motivated even as they work virtually.

Social Media

According to the job site CareerBuilder, 70% of employers use social media to screen job candidates and nearly half check the social media accounts of current employees. Companies must make sure they navigate these tricky issues legally and ethically. For example, is it legally permissible to penalize an employee who posts something offensive on a personal Facebook account? For HR professionals who have dealt with these issues, it may be effective to speak to them on a résumé. Additionally, HR professionals can use social media to direct their recruitment efforts.

Diversity and Inclusion

Attitudes toward diversity and inclusion, specifically in the recruitment process, are constantly in flux. According to a 2020 survey from business service rating platform Clutch, half of all HR professionals say their company has become more diverse just in the past year. HR professionals should be ready to address their views and actions on these issues.

Adding Value Through HR

For those who wish to bring real value to an organization through proficiency in HR, an excellent place to begin is with formal education. Rider University’s online bachelor’s in organizational psychology program offers mastery in many of the most foundational HR skills for a résumé and workplace success. In particular, students study employee motivation, organizational management, employee selection and training, workforce diversity and beyond.

Learn more about how Rider University’s online bachelor’s in organizational psychology degree can help you achieve your HR career goals.


Recommended Readings

Diversity Recruitment and Hiring Guide for Small Businesses

What Does an Organizational Psychologist Do?

What Is Business Psychology, and Why Is It Important?



The Balance Careers, “Important Human Resources Skills for Workplace Success”

CareerBuilder, “More Than Half of Employers Have Found Content on Social Media That Caused Them NOT to Hire a Candidate, According to Recent CareerBuilder Survey”

Clutch, “Diversity in the Workplace: New Data”

G2, “9 In-Demand Human Resources Skills (+ Using Them on Resumes)”

Global Workplace Analytics, “Work-At-Home After Covid-19—Our Forecast”

HG.org, Human Resources Law

Houston Chronicle, “HR Issues & Solutions”

Human Resource Executive, “Does Social Media Hurt or Help Your Recruitment Efforts?”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resources Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Human Resources Specialists