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Highlight Soft Skills Effectively on Your Resume

Posted by Pat Tovo
soft skills

When creating a professional resume, cleared job seekers can easily find tips on how to emphasize their experience and hard skills. These are the important criteria that are related to job responsibilities and successes. But it’s less obvious competencies that when showcased can make you a star in the candidate pool.

Qualities like time management, leadership, and communication are called soft skills and they are quite valuable in your job search. Often called social skills, these general competencies are highly sought after attributes. Employers seek out candidates who bring talents that are more natural and inherent but harder to come by than learned skills.

How do you frame your soft skills to catch the eye of a recruiter? How do you craft a subjective quality into a credible asset? Read on to learn how to stand out in the applicant pool with soft skills.

Make a List of Your Skills

In today’s hiring market, it’s important to create a resume that is specific to a job posting. The applicant tracking system that is used by many employers will scan your resume for key words related to the desired skill set. If these key words are not identified, your resume won’t make it to the recruiter’s desk.

You can make drafting the perfect targeted resume easier by starting with a comprehensive list of your skills. This will include your hard skills related to experience (like software development, data processing, etc.) and your soft skills (like problem solving and multitasking).

This may seem like a big task at first, but honestly, it will save you so much time as you apply for jobs.

Draft Your General Resume – Then Mix and Match

Create what can be considered your “general” resume – the bones of your experience, responsibilities, and skill set. This will highlight core strengths, including soft skills.

For each resume that you submit to a cleared employer, refer to the master list of skills you developed to target the specific requirements for the job. For example, if a posting states that great organizational skills are a plus, you can plug in a bullet highlighting your capability in this area. Consider this process as a competency “Mix and Match.” Mix up your skills to match the employer’s requirements.

Putting the Process into Practice

When you come across a job posting that appeals to you and matches your experience, print out a hard copy of the job description and requirements. Review that information carefully and make note of required experience, skills, and qualities. With those notes in hand, review the skills list that you created. Identify what experience from your list matches the criteria for the job. Plug in those capabilities (and eliminate others that may not be pertinent so that your resume stays in a concise format and length).

Don’t forget to identify and use key words. These may include technical experience like specific software platforms or soft skills like leadership. Make sure to plug in those exact words where appropriate.

How to Highlight Soft Skills

Just like with your hard skills experience, it’s important to frame the success of your capabilities and quantify if possible. Or rather how did you put these qualities into action? It’s important not to simply list your soft skills as single word bullet points. Show – don’t tell. We’ve outlined a few examples for you:

Decision Making Skills

  • Are you adaptable and does your work process include flexibility?
  • What’s your success in problem solving?
  • Do you encourage feedback and work that input into your decisions?

Resume Example: Implemented a customer survey to research insight into product preferences, identified key targets for improvement, and implemented alterations which increased sales by 8%.

Work Habit Skills

  • Can you manage multiple projects at once?
  • Do you perform well under pressure or tight timelines?
  • Are you self-motivated?

Resume Example: Eagerly took on additional responsibilities after a reduction in staff, continued to meet timelines for core duties while acquiring new skills through personal initiative.

Organizational Skills

  • Can you plan and schedule tasks efficiently?
  • Do you intuitively know how to prioritize?
  • Is time management a strength?

Resume Example: Efficiently organized a community event, developed activity schedules, negotiated vendor contracts, and launched a successful marketing campaign within a tight timeframe.

Valuable Soft Skills

You may have solid skills that you are not recognizing because they don’t fit into a technical or hard skill category. Use this sample list of desirable soft skills to identify your core competencies and round out your resume.

  • Time management
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Conflict resolution

Keep in mind that not all skills have to come from paid work experience. You may have developed valuable qualities through volunteer work or managing a household. Do a deep dive.

It Starts with a Resume and Ends with You

Presenting yourself as a highly desirable cleared candidate starts with an effective resume. But – it doesn’t end there. You must follow through with the same polish throughout the interview process.

If you have listed communication skills as a strength, then be prepared to decisively present your capabilities in an interview. If you have stated that you are a diligent hard worker, then come to the interview with appropriate questions. Put your words into action.

Now go get that job!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2023 8:00 am

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