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One Item That Is Often Absent in Resumes but Extremely Important: Soft Skills

One Item That Is Often Absent in Resumes but Extremely Important: Soft Skills

Resumes are your first (and often only) chance to impress a prospective employer.

They may have received hundreds of applications for the role you’re going for. If your resume is stacked-full of professional qualifications and work experience – then you may be surprised to find that your application doesn’t stand out.

If you’re failing to reach the interview stage, then you should definitely look at adding a selection of ‘soft skills’ to your resume.

Soft Skills: The Difference Between a Weak and Strong Resume

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term soft skills, I’ll give you a few examples:

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  • Conflict resolution.
  • Creativity.
  • Decisiveness.
  • Responsibility.
  • Time management.

As you can see from the above, soft skills are intangible and non-technical. In other words, they are skills that you’re unlikely to have a certificate for.

Now, just to be clear, it is of course important to list any relevant professional qualifications and experience on your resume. However, to help your resume catch the attention of a prospective employer, you should ensure that your soft skills jump off the page(s).

As an example for you, imagine that you are applying for a job as an accountant. It’s probable that the majority of applicants will have accountancy qualifications and relevant work experience.

What they may not have (on their resume at least), is demonstrable soft skills. If your resume clearly shows that you are a great team player and have first-rate communication skills, then you’ll have an excellent chance of being selected for an interview.

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How to Boost Your Resume by Adding Soft Skills

Let’s get straight to it.

Soft skills are in high demand by employers. The reasons are obvious. They want employees who:

  • Know how to solve problems.
  • Are easy to work with.
  • Are adaptable (as opposed to stuck in their ways).

Before updating your resume, take some time to think about what soft skills you have. For example, are you good at working under pressure? How about observational skills – are you able to spot trends?

My suggestion is to come up with 5-10 soft skills that you genuinely have a talent for.

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To help you out, here’s a list of common soft skills that you may be able to add to your resume:

  1. Communication.
  2. Conflict resolution.
  3. Critical observation.
  4. Decisiveness.
  5. Flexibility.
  6. Leadership.
  7. Problem solving.
  8. Self-motivation.
  9. Team work.
  10. Time management.

To help discover which soft skills you excel at, you may want to ask a friend or colleague to give their honest opinion/perspective on you.

The next step is to come up with examples for each soft skill. It’s no use just saying that you are a good problem solver (for instance), you need to show why this is the case.

You can do this by using real examples from your experience. It could be something along the lines of… “In my previous role, I was often presented with issues and problems that no one else in the company could help with. However, I discovered that with persistence, I was able to resolve these problems – sometimes very quickly.”

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If you’ve done all the above, then you’re ready to add the soft skills to your resume.

The best way to do this, is to: Show, don’t tell.

This means that you should embed your soft skills within examples taken from your academic, personal and professional experiences. Let the examples clearly illustrate your soft skills.

In terms of placement, soft skills should be spread across all sections of your resume. You don’t want to overdo it of course. As with most things in life, it’s about finding the right balance.

By adding soft skills to your resume, you’ll likely secure an interview – and maybe the job too.

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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