Craig J. Todd |
Résumés are your first (and often only) chance to impress a prospective employer.
They may have received hundreds of applications for the role you’re going for. If your résumés are stacked-full of professional qualifications and work experience – then you may be surprised to find that your application doesn’t stand out.
If you’re failing to reach the interview stage, then you should definitely look at adding a selection of ‘soft skills’ to your résumés.
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Soft Skills: The Difference Between a Weak and Strong Résumés
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term soft skills, I’ll give you a few examples:
- Conflict resolution
- Time management
As you can see from the above, soft skills are intangible and non-technical. In other words, they are skills that you’re unlikely to have a certificate for.
Now, just to be clear, it is, of course, important to list any relevant professional qualifications and experience on your résumés. However, to help your résumés catch the attention of a prospective employer, you should ensure that your soft skills jump off the page(s).
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As an example for you, imagine that you are applying for a job as an accountant. It’s probable that the majority of applicants will have accountancy qualifications and relevant work experience.
What they may not have (on their résumés at least), is demonstrable soft skills. If your résumés clearly show that you are a great team player and have first-rate communication skills, then you’ll have an excellent chance of being selected for an interview.
How to Boost Your Résumés by Adding Soft Skills
Let’s get straight to it.
Soft skills are in high demand by employers. The reasons are obvious. They want employees who:
- Know how to solve problems
- Are easy to work with
- Are adaptable (as opposed to stuck in their ways)
Before updating your résumés, take some time to think about what soft skills you have. For example, are you good at working under pressure? How about observational skills – are you able to spot trends?
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My suggestion is to come up with 5-10 soft skills that you genuinely have a talent for.
To help you out, here’s a list of common soft skills that you may be able to add to your résumés:
- Conflict resolution
- Critical observation
- Problem solving
- Team work
- Time management
To help discover which soft skills you excel at, you may want to ask a friend or colleague to give their honest opinion/perspective on you.
The next step is to come up with examples for each soft skill. It’s no use just saying that you are a good problem solver (for instance), you need to show why this is the case.
You can do this by using real examples from your experience. It could be something along the lines of… “In my previous role, I was often presented with issues and problems that no one else in the company could help with. However, I discovered that with persistence, I was able to resolve these problems – sometimes very quickly.”
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If you’ve done all the above, then you’re ready to add the soft skills to your résumés.
The best way to do this is to: Show, don’t tell.
This means that you should embed your soft skills within examples taken from your academic, personal and professional experiences. Let the examples clearly illustrate your soft skills.
In terms of placement, soft skills should be spread across all sections of your résumés. You don’t want to overdo it of course. As with most things in life, it’s about finding the right balance.
By adding soft skills to your résumés, you’ll likely secure an interview – and maybe the job too.
The article was originally published on lifehack.org.