Resume Tips

What Are Meta Skills? (and Why Do Employers Look For Them?)


The job market is always dynamic. To stay visible to recruiters, you need to have marketable skills. Presumably, you already know which hard skills are in demand in your field. 

But have you heard about meta skills? And more importantly — are you developing these competencies? 

If you never heard a meta skills definition before and don’t quite understand the buzz, this guide gives you a detailed lowdown. 

So What Are Meta Skills?

Meta skills (also referred to as metacognitive skills) describe your ability to retain information, learn new consents, and then apply this knowledge quickly. 

In other words: meta skills describe your abilities to decide how you’ll approach mastering new tasks, steps you’ll take to solve a problem, or the ability to evaluate the achieved outcomes. 

Metacognition is the process by which learners use knowledge of the task at hand, knowledge of learning strategies, and knowledge of themselves to plan their learning, monitor their progress toward a learning goal, and then evaluate the outcome. 

MIT 

Examples of meta skills include qualities like “self-regulation”, “analytical thinking”, “complex problem-solving”, “rational judgment”, and so on. 

Why Are Meta Skills So Important? 

In the past, a person could master a specific skill (e.g., carpentry). Then spend a decade in the workforce by simply using this knowledge. Sure, they’d probably learn a couple of new techniques and improve their skills over time. But that would happen progressively over their entire career. 

Fast forward to now, and this is no longer the case. The world of business moves fast. 

Shifts in consumer demand, evolving competitive landscape, new tech advancements — these macro-changes affect the labor market. 

Required skill sets for jobs have changed by 25% since 2015 — and this number will double by 2027.   Employers no longer need human commodities. They need people who can learn quickly and maintain an up-to-date skill set. 

6 Meta Skills Examples For Your Resume

The World Economic Survey Future Jobs Survey 2023 ranked several meta skills including “analytical thinking”, “creativity”, “resilience”, “agility”, and “flexibility” as such employers consider to be core for their workforce. 

So if you want to make a stronger first impression with recruiters, consider adding the following metacognitive skills to your resume (and LinkedIn profile too!). 

Self-Awareness

How well do you know yourself? If you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you have a strong foundation of self-awareness. 

There’s another level of self-awareness that involves emotional intelligence. It’s the ability to understand how your moods, mannerisms, and personality impact others. People who are self-aware also have high empathy. They understand that other people have experiences and realities that may not align with theirs and adjust their behavior accordingly.

To describe self-awareness on your resume, communicate your ability to show cultural awareness and sensitivity, collaborate well with diverse teams, and show adaptability in your working style. 

Creativity

Creativity is the ability to view problems or opportunities from a unique vantage point to create new outcomes. Some people are naturally creative. Others are not, but creativity can be developed with some effort. 

Creative people are exceptionally valuable in the workplace. They can conceive solutions to problems that nobody else can. Creativity leads to innovation and process improvements. 

Use power words in your resume to show creativity. Words like “build”, “design”, “conceive”, and “create” indicate that you’re a proactive doer and full of great ideas.  

Logical Reasoning

Logical reasoning is the ability to analyze a problem or situation, gather information, understand what is going on, conceive solutions that make sense, and then implement and test those solutions. 

People who have strong logical reasoning skills are well-organized and analytical. They’re good with data analysis, forecasting, and strategic planning. 

The best way to communicate this skill on your resume is by describing your analytical skills through concrete examples. For instance, mention that you’ve “Developed new sales strategies, based on demand forecast models” or “used predictive modeling to improve capacity planning”.  

Resilience

Every team faces disappointments, failures, and challenges. This is truer now than ever. A good organization is full of people who have the ability to bounce back from negativity and keep going. That’s resilience.

One way to show resilience on a resume is to address a failure or unexpected challenge. Demonstrate how you recovered quickly and turned a negative into a positive. For example: you’ve found a job in another industry within three months after being laid off

Problem-Solving

Yes, many meta skills directly or indirectly relate to your ability to react to problems appropriately, and then solve them. Some of the most valued employees in an organization can move past the initial panic and go directly to problem-solving mode. 

Problem solvers are even-keeled. They use conceptual skills to assess the current situation and quickly identify a course of action. Show that you are level-headed and results-focused when you write your resume by addressing how you’ve successfully solved organizational problems in the past. 

Curiosity

Curiosity is an interest in learning. Curious people want to know how things work, are eager to explore new ideas and to get to know other people. Organizations need curious people because they are best able to embrace new opportunities and work well under progressive DEI policies.

There are a few ways to show curiosity in your resume. Start with the education section. This isn’t just for your college education. Include recent professional training and online courses you are taking. Use the employment section of your resume to show you’re an active self-learner and take up every professional development opportunity heading your way. 

Conclusion 

What you know is important. What you can learn may be even more vital. Meta skills help communicate that you’re not only a skilled professional, but you’re eager to become even more competent in the future. 

By demonstrating an aptitude for self-improvement and continuous learning, you brand yourself as a “future-proof” professional, moving at the same pace as the labor market. 

Author

  • Elena ProkopetsElena Prokopets

    Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice… more



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