2 monumental reasons for soft skills on your resume

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Feb 23

When we think of job skills on our resumes, we usually think of direct job skills — our education, certifications, programming languages, etc. Then we ignore our skills relating to teamwork or emotional maturity because, well, they are hard to quantify. And besides, who wants to talk about how great they are at working with others and helping the team? It seems selfish or bragging or something.

Well, you need to have soft skills on your resume. Having soft skills on the resume is a significant factor in getting not only the interview, but getting the job.

Here’s why:

Soft skills are in the job description

Did you notice that soft skills are in the job description? Those generic (usually) skills that say something like “works without supervision,” or “works well in a high pressure environment,” or “meets deadlines.” Yeah, all of those types of things that addresses what I call “Plays well in the sandbox with others.”

You need to think of your resume as a bunch of stuff that can get checked off against the job description. If the job description says you need to have “SQL programming,” somewhere on your resume the resume machines or some human will be looking to see if you have “SQL programming.” If you do, you get a check mark. If you don’t, you don’t.

Here’s the thing: to get the interview, the more check marks you have to the job description, the more likely you are to get the interview. That’s the only point of the resume — getting the interview.

So why would you leave all those soft skills on the job description off of your resume? Why would you not get the check mark for perhaps 20% of the total number of job skills in the job description simply because you didn’t list them on your resume?

Exactly. Soft skills in your resume help the check mark count against the job description — giving you a better chance at the interview.

Soft skills help you tell your job skill story

Potential employers will ask you about how you handle difficult situations. How you met deadlines. How you overcame obstacles you had when you were accomplishing your accomplishments.

These types of questions can come out of the blue. But if you have listed some of these soft skills and included them in the description of your accomplishment, you can bait the interviewer to ask the right questions.

Besides, soft skills are the human part of getting to an accomplishment. You didn’t just “reduce the cycle time to deliver the product by three days.” You had to go talk to the people who run the process that impacts the cycle time. You needed to get them to agree to do something different to reduce the cycle time. You had to put up with objections from them about changing the process to reduce the cycle time. You had to hold their hands while the process changed to make sure it was working right and making adjustments to ensure the process worked.

You know, using your soft skills.

Business accomplishments are what happen when you work with people. Being able to talk about how you got the accomplishment from the soft skills listed on the resume gives you a foundation to the story you will tell. To be frank, it’s the much more interesting part of the story that you tell because the story is about working with people.

So list your soft skills on your resume. It matches your resume up with more job skills in the job description increasing your chances of getting the interview. And it helps you tell the tale of how you get to accomplishment during the interview.

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About the Author

Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations.