Soft skills are an important part of your professional toolbox. They are essential to virtually every job, and not all of them can be acquired through education or on-the-job training.
Soft skills make up all the intangible qualities of a person that make them an ideal match for the job, company culture, etc.
For many employers, an applicant’s soft skills will make or break their chances at getting the job. Hiring managers sometimes enter soft skill keywords in to applicant tracker software just as they would education and hard skills required for the position.
Learn more: Hard skills vs. soft skills
This makes adding, or at least finding a way to show your soft skills on your resume, critical in a modern resume.
There are two ways to add soft skills to your resume. You can state them obviously in a list through a special “skills and qualifications” area of your resume, or insert them into your work history as part of your accomplishments and responsibilities.
After all, many employers believe soft skills have to be demonstrated rather than simply listed.
For example, a career call center manager might list accountability as a soft skill by injecting it into a bullet point on their last job. Creating bullet points as part of a soft skills resume section or throughout your work experience can work:
- Accountability: Created a new call center grading matrix that resulted in decreased turnover and a 25% increase in efficiency.
- Created a multi-team competition to improve accountability for call metrics in an effort to increase efficiency throughout the department.
Not all soft skills can be added directly to a resume. Emotional intelligence is one such example. It isn’t a phrase you would use to describe a job function. The plus side of this is it wouldn’t be searched for by the hiring manager using applicant tracking software.
Instead, soft skills like these are more often revealed through the interview process.
Now that you know how to inject these keywords into your resume, we will focus on which soft skills employers are looking for the most.
Here are 10 soft skills that are in high demand among employers.
Flexibility is a big one for almost every employer. Employees that aren’t flexible in their schedule, job duties, and/or the challenges they face in their jobs are harder to work with from the employer’s perspective.
Flexibility can be demonstrated in your resume in a number of ways. For example:
- Flexibility: Managed representatives across multiple shifts to aid in the transition to new metrics standards.
Work ethic, like flexibility, encompasses several habits that are especially desirable to an employer. Your willingness to take ownership of shortcomings, make good on company mistakes (regardless of fault), and to correct errors (even when they are to your advantage).
Demonstrating work ethic is likely to happen during the interview process through questions about failures or challenges, but this skill can be touched on in your resume. For example:
- Lead a multi-team training program emphasizing the importance of ownership, accountability, and strong work ethics.
- Work Ethic: Maintained perfect attendance during my five-year term of employment with the company.
Problem solving is an exceedingly difficult skill to teach someone. It comes naturally to some people, while others struggle with it throughout their careers.
A good problem solver is very valuable as it shows the employee has the promise of taking on additional roles and adapting to challenging situations.
Here is an example of problem solving as they might appear in a resume:
- Problem Solving: Created a new process for handling customer complaints resulting in an 80% increase in customer satisfaction.
How well you work as an individual is important, but how well you work with a team will determine your long-term success with a company.
Demonstrating teamwork is an important part of your resume, and it can be done very easily. Here is an example:
- Led a quarterly team-building workshop designed to improve teamwork and morale.
Time management means a lot to an employer. Good time management skills means you can get more done in less time, or that the time you have is spent as efficiently as possible.
This can be demonstrated in several ways. Here’s an example:
- Time Management: Consistently exceeded company efficiency goals.
Communication skills are key, especially in positions that require you to coordinate between multiple departments or individuals. Customer service is one area in particular where communication skills make or break and employee.
Here are two ways to demonstrate communication skills in your resume:
- Communication: Rated highest in the department in customer service resulting from after-call surveys.
- Established and maintained a line of communication between departments resulting in the successful completion of several key projects.
Many companies are big on cross-training and encouraging multitasking among their employees. If you are slow in your department, but have the skills to help out another, this makes you a bigger asset to the business.
Adaptability reflects your ability to work in a rapidly-evolving environment. Here is an example of adaptability in a resume:
- Adaptability: Volunteered to be cross-trained in multiple departments to provide additional assistance as needed.
Basic technical understanding is a given for most jobs today, but not adding this information to your resume does you a disservice when hiring managers turn to software to filter applicants.
If your job requires a specific set of technical skills, list them. If you are technically savvy, find a way to work it into your resume, as well.
- Beta tested multiple content management systems to determine viability for the department.
- Created a spreadsheet that calculates payment plan installments and automatically generates notes for the representative.
Akin to problem solving, the ability for an employee to study a problem and assess a situation is an important quality for many jobs.
- Improved call center efficiency by 20% by researching statistical data and identifying inefficiencies.
Work Under Pressure
How are you in high-pressure situations? Do you have a story about a time when you had to pull out all the stops during a busy time at the office? Hold on to it, you will probably need that story during the interview.
Before the interview, however, you will want to at least hint that you work well under pressure.
- Maintained top quality standards during peak months.
Your soft skills are an important part of your professional qualifications. Don’t be afraid to add them to your resume, they just might help you land your dream job.
Does your resume list enough soft skills? Double check by scanning it here: