How to add soft skills to your resume

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In last week’s blog I began answering a reader’s question related to why and how soft skills related information should be added to your resume. My last blog described the “why”, in this blog I’ll describe the “how”.

To answer this part of the question, let’s first categorize the types of soft skills that could be included in your resume and the questions that the inclusion of these soft skills should answer. Certainly, this list could be categorized in a many different ways, but I like to categorize it this way:

• Communication: Can you speak to and listen to others?
• Ethics: Are you moral in regard to your personal and business practices?
• Flexibility: How well do you deal with change and are you willing to perform tasks outside your comfort zone?
• Leadership: Can you gain the respect of others and lead people with or without formal organizational authority
• Motivation: Are you a self starter and internally driven to work hard and do well?
• Problem solving: Can you get things done?
• Teamwork: Do you work well with others?

A subtle way to enhance your resume to give the reader an understanding of your soft skill based attributes is not by saying you are a self-starter, innovative, or a team player. It is by describing not only what you did, but how you did it. For example, instead of saying “Successfully implemented a new accounting system”, say “Successfully formed and led a team of IT and Finance professionals to implement a new Oracle based accounting system”.

This second description, like the first, states that you successfully implemented a new accounting system. The second description, however, also tells the reader the following:

• You formed a team
• You had the trust of IT management and Finance management because they allowed you to build and lead the implementation team
• You have the ability to lead IT professionals
• You have the ability to lead non-IT professionals
• You have an understanding of how to implement an Oracle based application
• You have project management experience

As you can see, a simple change in how you define a single accomplishment can greatly enhance your desirability to the reader. Imagine the power you can bring to your resume if you present all of your accomplishments in this manner.

Remember, the only things the reader of your resume will know about you is what you say in your resume. Therefore, the better you say it, the better chance you have of getting the call for an interview.

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