When putting together your resume, you’ll want to include your education, work history, achievements, and skills. Most often, a resume showcases both hard skills and soft skills. Hard skills consist of technical abilities such as working knowledge of the Microsoft Suite, while soft skills closely relate to your personality and how you interact with others. Here are some of the best soft skills you should seek to develop right away.
The ability to effectively collaborate with others is very important, and you’d be hard-pressed to find an employer who isn’t looking to improve its teams’ efficiency and productivity. If you’re particularly skilled when it comes to working with others, don’t forget to add it to your resume. Even if you’re a first-time job seeker, you’ve probably worked collaboratively with other students on any number of major projects, and this is also suitable for your resume.
To demonstrate your ability to collaborate with others on your resume, try using words and phrases such as “team building,” “networking,” “leadership,” and of course, “collaboration.” Here, you could include something along the lines of “Collaborated with a team of five other members.” If you have a quantifiable example such as meeting a deadline or increasing sales, you could also attach that to your teamwork skill on your resume.
Being able to adapt to changing environments and circumstances is crucial for almost any professional role, as technology and practices are always evolving. Additionally, your day-to-day isn’t immune to unexpected scenarios such as a coworker calling out sick or quitting suddenly, which can complicate matters when there’s an ongoing project with a deadline quickly approaching.
When you demonstrate your ability to adapt to potential employers, it shows that you handle stress well, and that you can think on your feet. If you want to include this skill on your resume, use words such as “patient,” “cooperative,” “positive,” and “flexible.” Let’s say your previous job required you to learn several new programs in order to complete your daily tasks—listing this on your resume is a great way to demonstrate your ability to adapt.
Employers like candidates who are dependable and consistent. Are you a great independent worker who self-motivates to get the job done? Do you hold yourself accountable and can the other members of your team rely on you during challenging circumstances? If so, it would be to your advantage to include it on your resume.
There are lots of ways to demonstrate your reliability to potential employers. Some great words and phrases to use are “independent,” “organized,” “multitasking,” and “time management.” If you’ve completed a major project ahead of schedule or taken charge during a particularly difficult moment, those are great examples to include if you’re trying to show potential employers that you’re reliable.
Being able to think creatively is an excellent quality. Creativity leads to innovation, and is great for devising new strategies and solving complex problems. In addition to this, creativity can help you develop hard skills such as graphic design or copywriting. People who think creatively are often able to examine a situation from a variety of different angles, and employers really like that.
To show your creative thinking skills on your resume, build off of words and phrases such as “imaginative,” “outside the box,” “conceptual,” and “brainstorming.” If you have an example where you employed creative measures to solve a problem, add it to your resume. Always remember, employers prefer problem-solvers over problem-identifiers, which leads us to our next entry.
Every boss loves a good problem-solver. This ability often goes along with being creative, as certain problems require a little extra brain power to solve. The best problem-solvers are highly resourceful individuals who think quickly and take the initiative. If this sounds like you, then you’ll be able to make yourself stand out with your problem-solving skills.
To demonstrate your ability to solve problems on your resume, choose words and phrases such as “innovative,” “resourceful,” “level-headed,” and “analytical.” As always, if you have an example of a time where you solved a problem, include it on your resume. For the best results, provide examples that are tied to quantifiable data, such as sales numbers or a successful social media campaign.
Communication is arguably the most important skill on this list because without good communication, all the other skills are nearly useless. When team members communicate well with one another, progress is made, problems are solved more easily, and new and exciting ideas emerge. Keep in mind that being a good communicator also includes being a good listener, and understanding different forms of communication such as non-verbal cues.
If you’re looking to showcase your communication skills to potential employers, use words and phrases such as “public speaking,” “conflict resolution,” “presentation,” and “confident.” This is one of those skills you might have started to develop in college, perhaps through a public speaking course. If this is the case, it’s appropriate to include mention of that on your resume.
It’s also worth mentioning that soft skills are often transferable skills. In other words, most soft skills you develop are relevant to any industry or role. Transferable skills are great if you’re looking to upgrade your current role or if you want to change careers. For more on transferable skills, check out our previous blog here. In certain cases, soft skills are more sought-after than hard skills, so make sure you include them on your resume.