How do you stand-out amongst sometimes hundreds of qualified applicants in a job search?
You’ll need to master the art of highlighting your soft skills on your resume, cover letter, and in the interview.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills are a combination of social skills, personality traits, attitudes, and emotional intelligence—by its nature, it’s not as easy to quantify. As such, you’ll need to communicate your soft skills in a different manner to your hard-skills on a resume.
Soft skills are acquired over time and are shaped by your experiences—You learn them intuitively. People with soft skills often have unique and board backgrounds that can diversify their hard skills.
What’s the difference between hard skills and soft skills?
Hard skills are measurable. These skills are often taught in classrooms and on-the-job training. You can easily list them on your resume because it’s recognisable by the reader.
Here are some examples of hard skills:
- Typing speed
- Aptitude with a computer program
- Proficiency in a language
- Knowledge of machine operation
Examples of soft skills include:
- Time management
First and foremost, you need the hard-skills required for the job at hand. The certifications, proficiency with programs and equipment, or on-site training from previous roles are requirements for professional roles.
While you may have the right knowledge and experience on your resume, so do most of the other applicants. There is a lot more to being good at your job than the technical skills involved.
For instance, you can be a highly skilled architect, but you won’t get far in your career if you’re awful at time-management and people find you difficult to work with.
Hiring managers are looking for candidates who embody both the hard skills and soft skills that match the organisation’s values.
The tricky part is communicating your soft-skills to your potential employers as they are much harder to define and evaluate—Everyone thinks they’re excellent problem-solvers, multitaskers and creatives.
We’ve probably all seen (and are guilty) of using these buzzwords in our resumes to convey our soft-skills. Not only are these words extremely overused, they’re subjective. They add little value in painting a picture of who you really are and how you would fit into an organisation.
The most successful candidates make the best use of their precious resume space instead of filling it up with buzzwords. Don’t just tell them you have these skills, prove it with examples.
We’ll go over how you can get started in un-packaging your soft skills so that you can best communicate them on your resume and interview.
Start with a list
Make a list of all of your soft skills. Think of what previous managers and peers have praised you for in the past. It can be difficult to talk about ourselves in these terms, so I find it helpful to do this with a trusted colleague.
Think of examples
From this list, can you think of situations when you’ve applied these skills in the workplace? For example:
At X company, it was my initiative to put together a team responsible for improving communications between two departments for smoother project transitions.
This statement tells me that you are a problem solver and a leader. It tells me a story of how I could fit you into my organisation.
BONUS: If possible, include metrics such as how much time did it save? How much money did your project save or earn the company?
Customise your resume to the job you’re applying for
When you’re job hunting, pay close attention to the soft skills the position describes and match your skills accordingly when crafting your resume and cover letter.
Use these examples of when you’ve demonstrated your skills rather than lazily slapping them throughout your resume as a single-lined bullet point.
Rehearse your soft skills examples
This will prepare you for your interview. Rehearse an interview situation and tell your friend, family member, or pet what you’ve written down.
Try recording your interview rehearsals. Listening to yourself speak can help you identify your patterns of speech and what your answers might be lacking.
The more comfortable you are talking about your experience, the more confident you’ll come across in your interview.
We hope this little guide provides you with some insight into how you can revamp your resume to stand out amongst other applicants. If you rehearse your interviews with examples of your soft skills, you’ll come across more confident in your interview.