Up until relatively recently, companies thought hiring based on hard skills would get them closer to their bottom line goals.
Now we’ve come to realize that soft skills are just as important. Today, soft skills – behaviors and traits such as adaptability, critical thinking, people skills, likeability, time management and so forth – are considered to be for more critical.
For the job seeker, this means that how you present soft skills on your resume is a major factor in whether or not you’ll get the job. The following are some ways to effectively – and strategically – highlight in-demand soft skills on your resume.
Use Soft Skills Specifically Mentioned in the Job Ad or Description
Job ads and descriptions will often have the desired soft skills written into them. For instance, one employer may emphasize that a candidate be “results oriented” while the other may prefer “high-energy and enthusiastic.”
Once you’ve identified the soft skills to this employer, make sure to incorporate them into your resume. Your summary of skills or the bullets under a past employer is a great place to strategically place these keywords.
Provide Solid Examples
As with any of the skills you reference in your resume, make sure you have examples and facts to back it up. After all, anyone can say “strong communication skills” and “detail oriented” on a resume, but not everyone can prove it.
Think of an instance when your soft skills fixed a problem for the company and yielded great results. For example, let’s say your company was about to lose a big client over some a misunderstanding. The client was irate and ready to terminate the contract; however, you swept in and saved the day with your communication skills, saving your company tens of thousands of dollars!
Use Action Verbs
One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make when writing resumes is failing to use action verbs when describing their skill set.
For instance, if you work in healthcare you often need to deal with a lot of people who are going through a hard time. Your ability to empathize with patients and their families – and provide them with exactly what they needed at that moment – is a key factor in whether you get the interview, or not.
Use Quantified Examples
If you really want to impress a potential employer, deliver quantified examples of your soft skills. For instance, let’s say one of your soft skills is being “detail oriented.” You can mention how you noticed a numerical error in a proposal that would have cost the company a lot of money had it been delivered to a prime client.
Highlight Your Leadership Qualities
Today, it seems nearly all employers look for leadership as a top soft skill. The reasoning: being a leader in the workplace requires the use of multiple soft skills at once, as well as emotional intelligence.
Highlighting leadership qualities on your resume helps you highlight this very important soft skill. Again, don’t just say “effective leader.” Demonstrate a strong example of where your leadership had an impact on your team and the company.
In a day when relationships build business, it’s important to highlight your soft skills in your resume. Take your time. Use action verbs. Quantify. And get your resume noticed!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Chameleon Resumes!
About the Author: Lisa Rangel is founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes, a Forbes Top 100 Career Website, has helped hundreds of people land the exact job they wanted – even when they weren’t sure they would get an interview. Lisa is a 7-time certified resume writer and job search consultant, a former recruiter and one of the few executive resume writers performing resume and job search-related contract work for LinkedIn. She has been featured on Forbes.com, LinkedIn, Investors Business Daily, and so many more publications. Follow Lisa on Twitter.