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Should You Include Soft Skills on Your Resume?

An important answer to a common question...

by Janna Kefalas in Job Search, Resumes

If you’ve been asking yourself this question, trust me, you’re not alone! Job seekers know how important soft skills are in the workplace and even see soft skills included on job descriptions. So they wonder if they should add them to their resume.

My short answer is…no.

But first, let me give a little more background on soft skills…

They are those critical, but somewhat general, skills such as:

Detail oriented
Results driven
Good communicator
Team player

The trouble is, these skills apply to practically every profession. It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, lawyer, digital marketer, teacher or software engineer — employers expect you to possess these skills. (It doesn’t mean everyone does, but that’s the hope.)

So just listing them out on your resume in no way differentiates you from other candidates. Most recruiters consider them resume filler.

You might think, “But they were listed as requirements on the job description! Aren’t I supposed to include keywords from the job description on my resume??”

And yes, I’ve had clients recently show me job descriptions where almost all of the required qualifications were written in form of soft skills. It can be so frustrating since it makes it hard to know what the employer is truly looking for in a candidate.

So here are 3 tips for tackling this issue:

Skills Tip #1

Look at other sections of the job description, such as the position overview and duties/responsibilities to find the required hard skills, so that you can include those on your resume.

As a reminder, hard skills (depending on your industry) are things like: database management, contract negotiations, data analysis, copywriting, event planning, financial modeling, social media marketing, etc. They can also include tech skills like: Photoshop, Slack, Google Analytics, Excel, Javascript, FilemakerPro, HTML, etc.

Skills Tip #2

If a job description is really brief, vague, and basically gives you nothing to go on, it might be an indicator that it’s not a quality opportunity. (Fake job listings do exist, my friends!) So focus on ones that clearly spell out the duties and requirements of the role.

Skills Tip #3

All of this is not to say that soft skills aren’t important. They are! But find ways to demonstrate your soft skills within your accomplishments, both on your resume and in an interview setting.

For example, discovering and rectifying errors on vendor invoices demonstrates your attention to detail. And winning a new account through your sales presentation proves you’re an effective communicator.

So when it comes to soft skills, show, don’t just tell. And incorporating hard skills from the job description onto your resume is always your best bet. That way employers can quickly see how you might be different from and better than the competition.