How Can Soft Skills Help You Differentiate Yourself?

Oct 14 2010 in reCareered Blog, Resumes, social branding by Phil Rosenberg

job search information, job search advice, job search help, job search tips, career advice

When reviewing resumes for clients, I’m often asked – What are soft skills? What soft skills should I put in my resume? Learn more about what soft skills your employers care about, and how to communicate them …

When asking clients to fill out a skills inventory, I’ll ask them to include a number of different categories of skills. Interestingly, soft skills tend to trip candidates up much more than technical skills.

How Can Soft Skills Help My Resume?

Including soft skills gives the hiring manager an initial sense of how well you’ll fit into the organization. While soft skills probably aren’t going to help you with a database or human pre-screen, they can help your resume with the 3rd and 4th audience – the hiring manager and the hiring manager’s boss, peers & team.

Like anything else in a resume, customized skill sets have a much better chance of matching the fit an employer is looking for. For instance, claiming that you’re a self-starter probably isn’t a fit for a highly structured management driven team. On the other hand, saying that you work well in a structured environment probably isn’t a good fit for a startup.

Examples of Soft Skills:

  • Verbal communications skills
  • Written communications skills
  • Superior listening skills
  • Public speaking
  • Self starter
  • Thrives in structured environment
  • Takes initiative
  • Responds to supervision
  • Works well in teams
  • Independent
  • Sense of humor
  • Takes personal responsibillity
  • Team player
  • Individual producer
  • Puts others at ease
  • Gets the job done
  • Thrives under stress
  • Creates urgency
  • Acts with urgency
  • Provides excellent customer service
  • Responsive to customer’s needs
  • Customer service oriented
  • Responsive to organizational needs
  • Effectively sets priorities
  • Adaptive to change
  • Multi-tasker
  • Focused
  • Motivating others
  • Well organized
  • Creating new ideas
  • Empathetic
  • Puts people at ease
  • Creates energy
  • Advisory skills
  • Goal oriented
  • Task oriented
  • Takes responsibility
  • Accepts responsibility
  • Delegates effectively
  • Problem-solver
  • Can see both sides of issues
  • Self-confident
  • Honest
  • Loyal
  • Opportunistic
  • Positive attitude
  • Dependable and reliable
  • Self-motivated
  • Builds consensus
  • Money-motivated
  • Professional
  • Enthusiastic
  • Makes others feel important

These are just examples, but no where near a complete list.

You’ll notice that some of these terms are opposites, so some may not make sense to include together in the same resume. In other cases, these opposites can demonstrate that you can act in more than one way, depending on the circumstances (ex: professional vs enthusiastic).

How can you tell which are the right words to use?

Start out with a base list that describes yourself. But learn more about your target company before sending – learn about their corporate style, their internal language. Are they conservative and serious? Or are they liberal and loose? Study your target company’s language by becoming a job search anthropologist (http://recareered.com/blog/2010/04/01/why-good-career-changers-are-anthropologists/). Focus on the words and tone a company uses in it’s communication. For example: look at the difference between Twitter and IBM – do you think they look for different types of people, even though they are both High Tech companies? Customize your soft skills to match the company’s internal culture, tone, and needs.

Readers – Please add any descriptions of soft skills that you’ve found to be effective in your resume, or resumes that you’ve read.

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Source: http://reCareered.com
Author: Phil Rosenberg

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