Compared to hard skills, soft skills are a lot more difficult to measure. Soft skills are related to personal attributes and your way of interacting with other people, and can’t easily be quantified.
This makes showcasing your soft skills on your resume challenging, but not impossible. Keep reading to learn how to prove to employers that your soft skills would make you a valuable asset to their company.
Not all your soft skills are going to be equally relevant to every job you apply for. You want your resume to focus on skills that address the requirements of the position. So before you make your resume, identify what soft skills the employer is looking for. A good way of doing this is to scan the job description for keywords.
Resume keywords are skills and qualifications listed in the job ad that describe the qualities the employer is looking for in applicants. By incorporating these words into your resume, you assure hiring managers that your skill set matches that of the employer’s ideal candidate.
An added benefit of including soft skills that appear in the job ad on your resume is that it makes it more likely to get past applicant tracking systems (ATS). ATS are used by many larger companies to screen candidates and automatically reject unqualified applicants before their resumes ever land on a hiring manager’s desk.
Including important keywords on your resume helps your application get through the ATS and into the hands of a hiring manager.
Studies show that you have just over seven seconds to leave an impression on hiring managers before they move on to the next resume. This means you need to be strategic about where you place your soft skills on your resume.
Because your resume introduction is the first thing a hiring manager sees when they look at your application, it’s where you should highlight particularly important soft skills that prove you’d be a good fit for the role.
For example, if you’re advancing your career and targeting a project management role, showcase your leadership and people skills. Or, if you’re applying for a position as an elementary school teacher, emphasize your creativity and ability to inspire others, like in this example:
“Passionate elementary school teacher with 4+ years of experience inspiring young learners and creating engaging lesson plans.”
This is a good example of a first sentence in a resume introduction, because it immediately conveys that the candidate possesses job-relevant experience while highlighting their top soft skills.
Wondering if you should list soft skills in your skills section? In most cases, you should use your skills section to focus on hard skills like foreign languages or your technical knowledge.
However, if your soft skills will help you excel in your target role, they should be added to your skills section.
If you’re using a chronological format for your resume, the skills section will be the last section you write. Adding your soft skills here is a great way to spotlight additional abilities that you haven’t been able to fit in elsewhere on your resume.
Strengthen your resume by putting your soft skills into context. Provide specific examples of how you’ve used your soft skills in a professional setting in the past to give employers a better idea of how you’ll benefit their team if hired.
Compare the two resume bullet point examples below:
Both of these bullet points focus on the candidate’s customer service skills. However, the second example is more convincing, because it explains what they achieved by applying their soft skills at work.
The second example also uses hard numbers to measure the impact of the candidate’s efforts, showing that they’re results-oriented.
Here are other ways you can quantify accomplishments on your resume that you achieved because of your soft skills:
The more details you provide, the more convincing your resume’s work experience section will be.
Ida Pettersson is a Content Writer who enjoys supporting job seekers as they plan their next career moves. She graduated from New College of Florida with a double major in Philosophy/Chinese Language and Culture. In her spare time, Ida enjoys hiking, reading, and gardening.