Everyone will tell you that it’s important to highlight your hard skills from a previous job or experience; you grew a company’s followers by 30%, or maybe you increased sales last quarter by $1,000. It makes sense — potential employers or clients want to see results and assure themselves that they’re hiring someone that will help their business stay successful.
I was recently updating my resume and doing some research on it. One tip I saw puzzled me. It said, “don’t include that you’re detail oriented and can work with a diverse team … it’s just not worth it.” But doesn’t every job description ask for certain qualities in a candidate? As I tried to format a resume that was goal focused, detailed but not TOO detailed, numbers-based but not TOO specific, I realized there was no room for one thing — ME.
My background is primarily in customer service. While my hard skills are extremely useful as an employee in that industry, it’s my soft skills that save the day nearly every time. Sure, I may be able to merchandise a display that increases sales, and hang clothing at a 2% increased speed, but what happens when I’m not doing those tasks? When working with customers they don’t care about the numbers, they want someone who is approachable, a problem solver and engaging.
In a Michigan Daily column entitled, “Your skills don’t need to be quantifiable to be valuable,” Olivia Mouradian explains that soft skills are not MORE important than hard skills, they’re simply AS important and are valuable tools. According to the article, 61% of American companies claim soft skills are the most valued in prospective hires.
Despite this, it still feels as if hiring culture seems to have forgotten that soft skills are a valuable aspect in a company’s performance and work culture. These non-technical skills, such as interpersonal communication and conflict resolution, help employees function in a workspace and allow for happier and healthier offices. Even for those not in a customer-facing industry, soft skills are still relevant in creating a positive work environment. Internal communication within a company relies on employee collaboration, teamwork and effective conflict-resolution.
According to The Balance Careers, “soft skills are transferable skills that can be used regardless of the person’s job. This makes job candidates with soft skills very adaptable employees.” This means that hiring someone without a large amount of experience in an area could still prove to be a successful hire if they possess the right skills to learn certain functions of a job: motivation, time-management, teamwork, etc.
When people would ask me what my strengths were in the workplace, I’d always mention my “people skills,” which sometimes would be met with a smile. It’s easy to cast these skills aside for a more serious skill such as “my strength is in coding, specifically writing in the Python language.” While this may be an extremely valuable skill, why can’t we appreciate both in the business world?
These skills are vital in the workplace, but they shine even brighter in our day-to-day lives. Soft skills are essential for navigating the world around us, whether it be shopping at the grocery store or interacting with family members.
Top 5 soft skills employers value:
- Problem Solving
So, how do you add soft skills to your resume? There are a few things to consider. If you’re applying for a specific position and want to tailor your resume to the job, take time to read over the job listing. Pull key words used in the description that mention hard or soft skills (don’t be fooled, according to ihire, soft skills can also hide in personality traits in a job listing) and demonstrate a time you’ve used that skill on your resume.
According to ihire, soft skills work best on your resume in the summary paragraph and the achievement section, so don’t feel shy about bragging here. Hard skills are necessary to show that you can complete the required job, but soft skills add personality and show that you can get the job done. The crucial step? Don’t list out soft skills; rather show what you’ve done with the skills. If you excel at time management and create company schedules, use your experience to say, “created activity schedules and decreased employee tardiness through team coordination and communication efforts.”
For those who struggle with soft skills, this might be the time to enhance your communication and teamwork to add a boost to your resume. Since these skills are transferable and help in everyday life, there’s no harm in acquiring more experience in them.