When we write resumes, we’re trained to focus on our “hard skills.” These are the things that are proven and can easily be measured.
But I’ve recently encountered some research from the Society for Human Resource Management that explains how employers care more about soft skills than they do about technical abilities.
And, in a way, it makes sense.
Hard skills are easily teachable, while soft skills are more inherent to someone’s character and life experience.
What are Soft Skills?Soft skills include things like leadership, analytical thinking and verbal communication. Although these things technically can be taught, they are qualifications that employers would rather see present in their new hires. Because teaching something like leadership can take years or even decades. And some people have the skill naturally.
Soft skills are so important to new employers because they have to do with relationships and connections.
So, when I have the need and opportunity to revise my resume, I’m going to use a functional resume format that focuses more on soft skills than the tangible skills that can easily be taught and learned.
Soft Skills to Focus OnIf you’re thinking about revising your resume too, you may want to focus on the following soft skills that are important to most employers today.
TeamworkTeamwork is such an important skill in the workplace, and it’s one you’ll probably discuss on every initial interview with a potential employer. Everyone will say that they’re good at teamwork. Until it’s time to work together, everyone is a team player.
But if you want to show a potential employer that you’re actually a team player, you’re going to need to show some proof. On your resume, list examples of teams you’ve worked on and what you’ve accomplished together.
LeadershipSome people are born leaders. Others learn the skill. And to be honest, it doesn’t matter which category you fall into. You can learn to lead or become a better leader.
You can start by reading books or taking courses on leadership. And if you want to get some real-life practice, take a leadership role in your current job or volunteer to become a leader in a community project.
Public SpeakingGreat leaders are also great motivational speakers, so if you want to list leadership on your functional resume, you may also want to brush up on your public speaking skills.
Again, you can read books and take courses, but the best way to improve your public speaking skills is through practice. Join a local Toastmasters group to get some experience speaking in front of crowds in an environment that’s less stressful than running a work meeting.
Problem SolvingFor potential employers, problem-solving skills are right up there with teamwork. Regardless of the job you’re seeking, problem-solving skills are going to be beneficial. Do you consider yourself a good problem solver? If not, a simple shift in focus may help improve this soft skill and help you land your dream job.
Start tackling all issues in your life with a solution-based approach instead of the other way around. This means trying to find a solution for every problem even before you’re asked. So, instead of approaching your boss with a problem, you’re approaching with a potential solution. Whether or not they accept your solution, the thought and problem-solving mindset is always appreciated.
Now, I must admit that this is a new concept for me. But I can definitely see the value of crafting a resume with soft skills in the feature spot.
Just don’t forget that hard skills are important too. Like everything, it’s all about balance.
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