Want to impress the hiring manager? Include soft skills on your resume. ZipRecruiter’s research shows that 93% of employers use people skills to evaluate job candidates. By demonstrating soft skills like a can-do attitude, a willingness to learn, and enthusiasm, you can beat the competition–even if their technical skill set is on par with your own.
If you need some help adding soft skills to your resume, you may want to work with an expert. Learn more about resume writing services and how they can help you!
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What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are also known as people skills. They’re the talents and abilities that allow you to work well with co-workers, clients, and management. While hard skills encompass the technical abilities that help you perform the core functions of your job, soft skills help you connect with others to build something bigger. Employers are dependent on their workforce’s soft skill set to achieve complex goals.
Some soft skills you can learn in school, but often they are gained through everyday experiences. In many ways, soft skills are just as crucial to your success as hard skills. Best of all, these skills are often transferable between jobs and careers in a way that technical skills may not be. For example, you might develop excellent customer service and communication skills as part of your job as an IT support specialist. If you decide to go back to school and retrain as a software developer, those soft skills will help you work as part of a team to achieve your new employer’s goals.
Soft skills are also more challenging to verify than hard skills. You may need to provide more context during job interviews to prove to potential employers you possess those skills.
Soft Skills vs Hard Skills
Chances are you possess both soft skills and hard skills. Both sets of skills are valuable when pursuing a job. As mentioned, soft skills are less definable skills you’ve developed over time.
Hard skills are technical skills, often learned by completing a degree, certification, or training program. Examples of hard skills include:
- Data analysis
- Word processing
- Foreign language skills
Hard skills can be transferable, like soft skills, but it isn’t always the case. Being proficient in the Microsoft Office Suite software will come in handy in a variety of industries. A computer programming degree, though, may not help if you want to become a financial planner or firefighter.
Let’s look at the soft skills and hard skills you might need to be successful in the following professions:
Hard skills you need as an accountant include:
- An accounting degree or a degree in a related field
- Proficiency with accounting software
- Mathematical skills
Soft skills important to accounting include:
- Verbal communication
- Written communication
- Critical thinking
- Time Management
Hard skills needed in computer technology include:
- Computer Technology Degree
- Microsoft Office
- Adobe Suite
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
Soft skills important to computer technology include:
- Time management
Having both soft and hard skills shows that you’re a well-rounded candidate. You should always include both types of skills on your resume, especially if they are relevant to your desired job. If you’re up against other candidates with similar education and work experience, your soft skills could push you into the lead for the job.
Soft Skills And Remote Work
You may think that remote workers don’t need strong soft skills. Not true. Distributed teams still need people skills–plus, they need the flexibility to be able to deploy those skills in a changing environment.
For example, the number one thing I hear from hiring managers when recruiting remote employees is that they are looking for employees with strong self-management skills. Self-management is a set of skills such as focus, time management, prioritization, and the ability to communicate asynchronously. These skills are super important because your manager can’t (and doesn’t want to) babysit you.
Communication is equally important, again, just in a different context. Mastering asynchronous communication means that you can use a proper channel (email, chat, phone, project management app) and give enough context so that the next person to pick up the work doesn’t have to double back with you to check on things or clarify.
Not everyone is cut out for remote work, and that’s fine. The big separator is usually the ability to deal with ambiguity, and adapt to ever-changing circumstances.
The entire team here at Careercloud.com is remote and highly values these soft skills.
Where To Add Soft Skills To Your Resume
Once you determine your soft skills, it’s time to add them to your resume. As important as it is to include soft skills, your hard skills should take priority. Aim to balance your use of soft and hard skills, so be sure to highlight both.
There are two effective ways to list skills on your resume. First, you could have a separate section that specifically lists your soft skills. Use bullet points to help them stand out more. The downside of this method is that you aren’t providing any context or proof behind your skills. It’s just a list and may not capture a hiring manager’s eye enough to land a second glance.
A better solution is to incorporate your soft skills into your career experiences where relevant. You should also try to find ways to quantify the skills listed on your resume. One way to do this is to include facts and figures that show your proficiency in a skill. You can also prove multiple skills at the same time:
As a project manager, I successfully led a team of seven employees on five marketing campaigns that increased company revenue by 47% over two years.
Go through the work experiences listed on your resume. Figure out ways to “tell” them about your skills instead of listing them. If you can’t provide context for your skills, they probably aren’t worth sharing in your resume.
Of course, your resume isn’t the only place you can highlight your soft skills. Consider including them in your cover letter. Adding them to your cover letter gives you another opportunity to provide context to your skills. Do your skills fit with the job description or the company’s mission? Find a way to share that in your cover letter and resume.
Are you ready to find a new job? Find your next role by searching through our guide to the best job posting sites.
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List of Soft Skills
Think about the skills you’ve developed during your time in school and through other work experiences. You can also ask friends, family, and peers what skills you possess. Here’s a list of some common soft skills you could add to your resume:
- Conflict resolution
- Critical thinking
- Decision making
- Digital proficiency
- Public speaking
- Problem-solving abilities
- Time management
- Work ethic
50+ Soft Skill Examples For 5 Industries
Whether you’re looking to change careers or land a new job in your current occupation, it’s helpful to know which soft skills are most valuable in the field. Add these people skills to your resumes, cover letters, and interview preparation and you’ll impress the hiring manager.
Healthcare job titles include physician, registered nurse, physical therapist, EMT, physician assistant, audiologist, and chiropractor.
- Critical thinking
- Emotional intelligence
Green energy job titles include solar voltaic installers, wind turbine service technicians, environmental engineers, conservation scientists, and environmental scientists and technologists.
- Detail oriented
- No fear of heights
- Public speaking
Education jobs include teachers, tutors, instructors, professors, librarians, instructional coordinators, and teaching assistants.
Management jobs include c-suite executives like chief executive officers, marketing managers, sales managers, human resources managers, food service managers, and construction managers.
- Emotional intelligence
Computer and Information Technology
Computer and information technology jobs include computer programmers, software developers, network architects, IT support specialists, information security analysts, and web designers.
- Customer service
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
Soft skills are typically used every day in both work and personal situations. Hard skills provide concrete actions and achievements for hiring managers, but soft skills provide the context in which you succeeded in a particular job role to help your employer.
Frequently Asked Questions
SHOULD SOFT SKILLS BE LISTED ON A RESUME?
Yes, soft skills should always be listed on a resume. Soft skills are often just as important as your work history and education and could be the difference between landing a job or not.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SOFT SKILLS?
The best way to describe your soft skills on a resume is by providing context. Hiring managers want to see your skills in action, so provide examples, using facts and figures, instead of only listing them.
IS NEGOTIATION A SOFT SKILL?
Negotiation skills are considered a soft skill. They can be learned through training and reading but are developed and strengthened through experience and practice.
CAN SOFT SKILLS BE LEARNED?
Soft skills can be learned, but typically require participation to develop fully. For example, you can take an interpersonal communications course, but only by communicating with others can you develop the skill.
The Bottom Line
Adding soft skills and hard skills to your resume could be the difference between getting a call for a job interview or being rejected. Determine your best soft skills and add them to your resume before sending it out. If you still need help, a resume writing service can help you effectively list your soft skills.
Once your resume is polished, you can start your job search on ZipRecruiter!