By now you should know that employers value fundamental employability skills: communication, teamwork, problem solving, organisation, self-management and so on. You know that your resume has to display these skills for you to have a shot at the job, so you put a section like this on your resume:


  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving

Unfortunately, listing skills like this on your resume is entirely pointless and will not impress anyone.

To understand why, watch a minute or two from these three videos.

All three of these videos show people with strong verbal communication skills, but the contexts and specific nature of what “communication” actually means are wildly different. Imagine the drill sergeant using his communication style in a room full of 5 year olds!

Communication is not a skill in itself, it is a category of skills that are used in a variety of contexts:


  • listen & understand
  • speak clearly & directly
  • write to the needs of the audience
  • use numeracy effectively
  • establish & use networks
  • persuade and negotiate positively
  • follow format and style conventions
  • be assertive
  • research and share information


  • formal report writing
  • presentations
  • social media
  • marketing and advertising
  • mentoring, tutoring, and teaching
  • leading and motivating a team
  • conflict resolution
  • networking
  • legal and administrative procedures

What to do instead

Rather than simply listing your skills, describe the specific context in which you used or developed them. For example:

  • Managed the La Trobe Farnarkling team Facebook page, achieving average organic reach of 1200 and engagement rate of 5.5%
  • Published weekly feature articles on
  • Published research findings in the Journal of Farnarkling Studies
  • Prepared research briefs for the State Minister for Farnarkling prior to committee meetings and press conferences.

Of course, this advice doesn’t help much if you don’t have much to put on your resume. Look for opportunities that you can take while studying to develop your employability skills.

Remember, you can get advice and feedback on your resume from one of the La Trobe Career Development Centre’s consultants. Simply book an appointment or come to one of our workshops.