Soft skills are a crucial component of every position. While they may not be listed in the job description, they are just as important as any technical skills. ‘Hard working’, ‘strong communicator’, ‘organized’, and all of those types of skills are important, sometimes enough so to be on a job description. Obviously as a candidate you want to indicate to your hiring manager that you have these skills, but how? In today’s blog we’ll describe how you can convey these in a way that is professional and tasteful.
Soft Skills & Your Resume
So you know want to represent your soft skills, but you’re not quite sure how to accomplish that. Your first instinct may be to put them on your resume. That’s not a bad idea, and it’s increasingly common for resumes to have a skills section. It’s certainly a way to present them, but not the best way. If you are applying for a position that is heavily focused on a soft skill you should include them. Customer service, for example, relies on being a good communicator and having patience. If you’re applying for more of a technical role, like Programmer or Software Developer, it’s a better idea to list your technical skills. Just make sure you are able to flesh out enough skills to justify having a separate section, if that is what you choose to do.
As previously stated, unless you are in a position that is heavily reliant on soft skills, you can leave them off your resume. Even if you don’t list them, you still want a hiring manager to know you have those skills. So what is the best way to accomplish this? Through demonstration. The ‘interview’ begins well before you actually walk into the conference room and start answering questions. How you handle your first communication regarding the job says a lot. Make sure you maintain professionalism from the very start of the process, since the judging begins then.
Moments of Opportunity
All of these moments act as a opportunities for a good hiring manager to assess your soft skills. For example, the way you treat the secretary when you check says a lot about your personality. If a candidate is dismissive of the secretary but overly kind to the hiring manager, it shows that they’re probably not a team player. Maintaining a conversation outside of rehearsed responses to questions in the interview also shows good communication skills. That’s not all that you can non-verbally say to a hiring manager. Having a folder with crisp copies of your resumes says, “I’m organized”. Taking notes during the interview shows an attention to detail an a serious interest in the position. By now, you get the idea. The hiring process is actually the best opportunity to demonstrate your soft skills.
When it comes to soft skills, ‘show not tell’ could not be more appropriate. Whether or not they are listed on your resume, the best way to convey proficiency in soft skills is demonstration. We’ve mentioned a few specific examples above, but there are many more that you could likely think of. Just make sure you are aware of this as you move through the process, and hiring managers are sure to notice!