If you’ve ever written a resume, you know how difficult it is to list all the reasons that you’re a great employee. Of course you start with the concrete details like name, education, and work history. But what do you say when it’s time to start listing your actual skills?
Most hiring managers do want to know that you’ll understand how to navigate basic software or that you understand your industry, but how do you showcase some of your more hard to describe skill sets? You can’t just have a resume bullet-point that says you’re “great at keeping your boss on task when he starts to go off on a tangent in a meeting.” And you really shouldn’t say you’re “good at talking down a client when something has gone horribly wrong.” But those soft skills are an important aspect for any potential employer to consider.
When Forbes asked their Agency Council which skills were most underrated in new hires, Creative Problem Solving, Emotional Intelligence, and Hustle Mindset were the top three answers. Not a single “proficient in Microsoft Excel” on the list.
One great way to showcase your soft skills is in the description of your duties at a former position. Don’t just say you “handled client communication,” but say you “talked to clients about their needs and concerns.” The first one sounds like you checked your email once a day, but the second shows that you know how to listen and help clients feel reassured and, as any hiring manager will read between the lines, you know how to handle unhappy clients. And don’t just say you “collaborate well” say you “thrive in a team environment.” Now you’re not just a team member who puts up with the rest of the group, you’re someone who really enjoys working with other people.
Your cover letter is another good place to put your soft skills on display. Talk about any positions you’ve held where you had to work similarly with people to the way you perceive you will in your new position. Were you middle management? Talk about how you handled expectations for both your employees and your boss, and talk about how you like to interact with people. It’s amazing how few people say things like, “I like to hear feedback from my team” on a resume, but when you’re moving into a highly collaborative environment, that can be just the sort of thing an employer is looking for in a prospective hire.
However you choose to do it, don’t let your softer skill sets go unsung on your resume. Talk about your best traits in a way that’s personable and understandable for anyone involved in the hiring process.