Boosting Your Career: Essential Soft Skills for Resume Success

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When it comes to job hunting, most of us tend to pay more attention to our hard skills than our soft skills. Hard skills are measurable skills such as a diploma or a certificate, while soft skills are abilities involving working and interacting with others. 

As we progress further in a workplace environment increasingly defined by teamwork and interpersonal interactions, the importance of soft skills only continues to grow. So, as you prepare your resume and perhaps even prepare for that next big job interview, having soft skills on there is key. 

But, what are some examples of good soft skills for resume writing? In this guide, I’ll answer that question and more to help you land a new job and put your job hunt to an end.

Comparing Soft vs. Hard Skills

As a career coach, I have often seen that job seekers tend to focus mainly on showcasing their hard skills while preparing their resumes. However, a balanced representation of both hard and soft skills can significantly enhance the appeal of your resume to potential employers.

While your hard skills demonstrate your ability to fulfill specific job duties, your soft skills indicate your personality and how you handle real-world work situations. That’s why having both types of skills present is so important.

But, to fully represent both these types of skills, you’ve first got to know what the differences are. Let me break down what hard skills are and what soft skills are to make this easier for you to understand.

Hard Skills

Hard skills relate to specific pieces of knowledge or abilities that are easy to measure, such as your degree or certificate, the languages you speak, or your expertise in coding or proficient use of a particular software. For example, if you are an architect, your hard skills might include proficiency in AutoCAD or a knowledge of building regulations. 

Soft Skills

Soft skills, on the other hand, are less tangible and more subjective. These traits relate more to your personality, attitude, and approach to work. They include habits that make one an effective team member or leader, such as reliability, communication, problem-solving, and adaptability. In short, while hard skills might make you qualitatively suitable for a particular role, it’s the soft skills that determine whether you’ll be a good fit within a team or organization.

Examples of Soft Skills and Why They Matter

When it comes to a resume, soft skills can act as a personal trademark. While many others may have a similar degree or work experience, what often makes an individual stand out is his or her unique set of soft skills. Think of these skills as the secret sauce that adds flavor to a well-cooked dish, the melody that gives rhythm to a song, or the personal style that adds flair to a well-tailored suit. 

Here are some general examples of soft skills that can get your resume noticed:

SkillWhy It Matters
CommunicationBoth verbal and non-verbal communication skills are crucial in almost every job. The ability to express oneself clearly and understand others is key for smooth operations in any work environment. 
TeamworkThe ability to work well with others, respect their ideas and contributions, and work towards a common goal is a highly sought-after skill in any industry.
Problem-SolvingProblem-solving skills reflect an individual’s ability to face challenges head-on, to think critically, and to find solutions. Employers value this skill because problems are inevitable in every workplace. 
LeadershipEven if the position is not a managerial role, the ability to lead and influence others in a positive way are skills that employers greatly value.
AdaptabilityToday’s work environment is constantly changing, so adaptability and a willingness to learn are both traits that will help any professional succeed.

These qualities make you more interesting and attractive to potential employers, raising your chances of landing that job or promotion.

Selecting the Best Soft Skills for Resumes

Now that you know a bit more about what soft skills are, it’s time to talk about which ones are best for your resume. As it happens, this is going to vary depending on several factors, including what job you’re applying for as well as your own skill set. 

So, how do you choose which skills to add? 

Let me go over a few different tips for finding the right soft skills to help your resume stand out from the crowd. 

Read and Understand the Job Description

Companies often provide a list of preferred skills and attributes that they’re looking for. Many of these might be specific hard skills, like proficiency in a certain programming language or the ability to use a specific machine. 

But you might also notice that there are hints at preferred soft skills as well–like a good “team player,” “excellent communication skills,” or “outstanding problem solver.” If you spot any of these, be sure to include them on your resumé.

Examine Your Own Skill Set

Reflect on your past roles, education, and other life experiences, and list the soft skills you’ve developed. For example, did you land a client due to your persuasive skills? Or, perhaps you organized a successful event demonstrating your planning and leadership skills. Use these experiences to further refine your list of soft skills.

Focus on the Quality of the Skills

Deciding which soft skills to include on your resume can be challenging. Focus on the quality of skills, not the quantity. Six well-demonstrated skills will have a greater impact than fifteen skills with no examples or context. 

Vary Your Skills

Instead of listing multiple similar skills, like ‘good communicator’ and ‘excellent speaker’, select one and provide a compelling example. This variation showcases your breadth and depth as a candidate. 

Align Personal Soft Skills with the Job Description

If a role requires a detail-oriented person, for example, provide an instance when your attention to detail led to a significant accomplishment or helped prevent a critical mistake.

Examples of Essential Soft Skills for Various Professions

When looking at different industries and professions, specific soft skills are highly prized and transferable, making professionals more effective and successful in their roles. 

Identifying the specific soft skills prominent in your industry and highlighting them in your resume will help you stand out and signal to employers that you’re well-prepared to excel in your role. 

Let’s dive in and explore some of these soft skills that are valued in different professions.

Soft Skills Needed in the IT Industry

In the IT world, apart from the requisite technical know-how, soft skills like the following are sought after: 

  • Problem-solving: problem-solving is critical because IT professionals often face different challenges daily and must devise intelligent solutions. 
  • Adaptability: adaptability is crucial as technology changes rapidly, and one must be ready to learn constantly. 
  • Effective communication: effective communication helps IT professionals articulate complex concepts to those who aren’t as technically inclined. 

Soft Skills Vital in the Healthcare Profession

In the healthcare sector, the following soft skills are often valued: 

  • Empathy:  empathy allows healthcare professionals to understand and sympathize with a patient’s feelings or situation, enhancing patient trust and healing.
  • Patience: patience is crucial as dealing with patients can be challenging, especially when they’re unwell. 
  • Good communication: communication is essential to explain medical conditions and treatments to patients and their families in a way they can understand.

Soft Skills Required in the Education Field

Educators’ role goes beyond imparting knowledge. Essential soft skills for educators involve:

  • Communication: good communication ensures that teachers effectively convey complex ideas to students.
  • Creativity: creativity stimulates engaging teaching methods that make learning fun and memorable.
  • Patience. patience is necessary, especially when dealing with students who may require more time to grasp certain concepts.

Incorporating Soft Skills in a Resume

Now that you know what kinds of soft skills you might want to focus on, it’s time to talk about how to add them to your resume. 

First, you’ve got to know where to put them. They fit in nicely in the ‘Skills’ section, but they can also be woven into your job descriptions within the ‘Experience’ section. For example, if one of your soft skills is ‘team collaboration,’ you might say, “Collaborated with a diverse team of 10 to implement new marketing strategies, resulting in a 15% increase in overall sales.”

Another thing to think about as you add them to your resumé is how to illustrate them with examples. Just stating that you have a particular soft skill may not be convincing enough. Support your claims with concrete examples or brief narratives. 

Lastly, it’s effective to include soft skills in your resume’s summary or objective. This way, you seize the opportunity right at the beginning to showcase your personal qualities. 

Take Your Resume to the Next Level With Soft Skills

Soft skills are not just additional fillers in your resume; they are crucial enablers of your work ethic, team relations, problem-solving capabilities, and leadership abilities. Without soft skills, your technical skills can only carry you so far. 

Soft skills are instrumental in shaping your overall professional persona. Employers are looking for well-rounded individuals who can not only perform their technical tasks but also contribute positively to the workplace environment. So, as you sit down to craft your resumé, don’t forget to present them unapologetically and to leverage them to your advantage.

Now, if you’re still struggling to create the perfect resume, we can help. Check out our other articles to craft the best job application and resume to help you start a new career!

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