o you’re ready to build your resume. You have all the important bits: past job experience, electives, internships, activities–but that unfortunately isn't enough. In order to create a rounded out resume that employers will want to review and hire from, you need to spice yourself up a bit. You have to be able to present your strengths–and weaknesses–in a positive, constructive light. You don’t want to berate yourself! Your future employer wants to know all the things you're good at that will aid in the job, and predict how you will interact with your fellow employees. Adding your best soft skills to your resume also helps boost confidence and reassures to your future employer your confidence in the ability to do work and work well with others.
Defining Soft Skills
First of all, let's define what a soft skill is. Soft skills are personality traits and abilities that are relatively unrelated to the technical task a job requires. The term encompasses the vague identifiers of a good employee–-such examples are “hard-working” and “problem solver". Sounds kinda vague, huh? Well, apparently that’s not the case; according to SHRM.org, many employers report that most times they fire an employee, it’s due to lack of soft skills. So apparently there must be some appeal to claiming to be an “adaptive” “hard worker” with a “desire to learn”. Here is a list of some of the best soft skills to put on a resume, and how to gauge which ones apply to you.
It’s not as easy as taking a personality quiz to figure out what attributes fit you best–you have to examine your overall work ethic and cooperation skills in order to figure out what soft skills fit your ethic best. In order to do this, it might be helpful to ask family and friends about what your best qualities are, or how they see how you handle certain situations similar to those you’d encounter in the workplace (disagreements, efficiency to get work done, etc.).
Which soft skills fit you?
Depending on the job, your employer may be looking for a specific set of soft skills. Storytelling skills are wanted for animation, writing, and design, while problem solving may be what people focus on in the STEM field. Both skills can be applied to either job, and can be used extremely broadly, but those jobs may hone in on certain skills that pertain to the specific function of the job. Keep this in mind when applying, however; make sure to input ALL of the skills that apply to you, even if they don’t pertain to your application–it’s important to show that you are well rounded in skills and abilities for jobs to consider you.
Examples of Soft Skills You Can Include on Your Resume
Now, let’s talk about some soft skills you may want to put on your application. This is not an exhaustive list, however it is meant for you to be able to see some examples of common soft skills and how they may apply to you.
One of the most sought-after soft skills, teamwork refers to the ability of the worker to get along with their team members as well as communicate and collaborate effectively in a group environment. Teamwork provides a framework for other skills, such as being able to give others instructive feedback as well as accept feedback given to you.
2. Willingness to learn
This skill is particularly important, as it reveals your ambition for your job. One of your “weaknesses” could be not knowing how a specific program works if you have not used it before, so when you let the interviewers know you’re willing to learn you’re telling them that regardless of whether you’ve been exposed to the program or not, you’re willing to learn how it works and will strive to put in the extra effort to do so and catch up to your coworkers.
Just as with teamwork, this skill measures your ability to get along with people, but this time is characterized by a pleasant attitude in working with others, not just fellow workers. To succeed in any job, you have to be willing to work with other people to some extent, and so presenting friendliness towards those in the workplace helps to decrease conflict before it starts.
This is the soft skill EVERYONE wants to see on a resume. Employers want their employees to be able to take charge of a difficult situation (it’s why they ask what specific obstacles you’ve overcome in a team setting during interviews!) Having this skill means you are assertive and are willing to take on the responsibility of taking charge in a situation which is required to do so.
5. Good work ethic
Being efficient in carrying out a job, getting things in by deadlines, and making sure to go over your work to make sure there are as little mistakes as possible are all factors of having a good work ethic. This includes arriving to work on time, follow instructions carefully, and work independently.
6. Critical Thinking
Another important skill for virtually any job, being able to think critically through any situation is an amazing skill to have on a job. Thinking critically is defined here as someone who can analyze a situation and look for the best possible outcome. This, of course, is a handy skill to have if ever there be an obstacle stumping your team. To be able to think around that obstacle is an incredibly valuable skill that employers love to see in a candidate.
What’s the point of including soft skills?
Soft skills may seem unimportant in the grand scheme of putting together a resume-–some may wonder “why put down a list of adjectives? Why aren’t just my achievements alone worth it?” Hold your horses–your achievements are extremely important; without them, you wouldn't have a resume! Soft skills aren’t meant to replace your achievements–they are meant to enhance them. They are the backing bits of information that display that you are capable of handling yourself in the workplace. These skills serve to highlight your strengths and assure your future employer that you have what it takes to be a successful employee and team player. They show that you are capable of handling tasks on your own and knowing what to do and who to call when you need assistance.
Soft skills are useful for interviews too!
Soft skills are a necessary aspect of a resume; and they keep you on your toes during an interview! Sometimes in an interview, you will be asked directly about these soft skills: “What qualities do you possess that you think will be helpful in a job like this?” or “what are some of your best qualities/strengths?” They could also ask for examples to provide evidence to support your claims: “Tell me about a time you had to use critical thinking” or “what is an example of leadership you’ve shown in the past?” You should be able to pinpoint your strengths, and have backup evidence to support it in preparation for the interview. (You might even be asked to provide this information on paper too! If you have room on your resume, put examples of times your best qualities have shone through).
Confidence is key
Another thing soft skills may reveal is how confident you are to perform a job. Employers want someone who is confident and can guarantee their work will be done efficiently. If you’re berating yourself and putting yourself down on your resume, employers may take that as a sign that you’re not confident or ready to do the job. It might seem like bragging, yes, but listing your soft skills will only help you.
And besides, you’re not all that bad! Everyone, whether they believe it or not, has qualities worth being proud about that make them good people and good employees. And besides, your weaknesses will also be brought up on your resume/interview; you just need to know how to discuss them. (hint: shoot for the solutions! If you say you’re weak in an aspect, tell the interviewer something you've been doing to improve yourself in that area! Plus, it shows a potential employer that you're not perfect and have the capability to grow and change, and that you’re actively taking up that responsibility in bettering yourself) Don’t sweat over this part too much; you got this!!
Now that you have pinpointed your soft skills and provided evidence to back them, your resume is now ready!! Of course there's a whole bunch of other stuff you need to go over–making sure all of your information is accurate and up-to-date, but the addition of soft skills to your resume is extremely helpful in getting hired for any job.